Management refers to the process of controlling people and activities to achieve a given goal or outcome. In a business environment, management is defined as the function that relates to the coordination of efforts and activities of people to achieve specific and overall organizational goals while utilizing the available resources efficiently and effectively through planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. Effective management in an organization or a business requires leaders or managers to coordinate human, materials, financial, and informational resources to not only ensure that a company achieves its internal targets and goals but also to ensure that it achieves competitive advantage in its industry (Turner, 2014). Successful implementation of the management functions, namely planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling, is not an easy task. The process requires managers to be well aware of the goals of the organization, the available resources, and strategies for ensuring the success of the management functions. In the 21st century, the business environment faces uncertainties that emanate from the increased competition, fluctuating markets, technologies, and economy among others (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Such uncertainties constitute the reason why risk management features predominantly in the implementation processes of management functions. Consequently, as the paper confirms, successful implementation of management requires consideration and an understanding of the management uncertainties and risk management structures, which will ensure maximum benefits for the management processes in a business.
Management Challenges in Today’s Business Environment
The 21st-century business environment is characterized by increased technological advancement and globalization, which have ensured a fast-paced environment where any laxity can easily drive an organization out of business. Competition is no longer restricted within a given geographical area. Rather, it has taken global proportions due to technology and globalization (Drucker, 2012). Major changes are currently occurring in economic, social, political, and technological realms. Such changes are challenging the management functions in the present business environment (Kapferer, 2012). In addition, the workplace environment has greatly changed. For instance, more rights are bestowed on employees. This situation has made the management function even more difficult and challenging, ambiguous, and uncertain (Nickels, McHugh & MacHugh, 2011). Despite these changes, the challenges that occur today can be grouped into four categories, which include human capital management, financial management, information and technology management, and risk management (Stone, 2010).
Firstly, human capital is a major resource in any organization. It requires important skills to ensure that it is utilized appropriately and to the benefit of the organization. Managing human capital is a long and elaborate process, which starts from recruitment, employee relations, work environment, rewards, and organizational policies (Drucker, 2012). A good manager understands the vital role of a qualified and motivated workforce in ensuring the achievement of organizational goals and competitive advantage. The current employee is highly enlightened. Hence, he or she demands to be treated well in an organization to perform well. As such, an organization cannot compromise on the welfare of its employees if at all it wants to succeed in its industry (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). However, meeting the demands and the needs of all employees is a difficult process. No single approach can adequately address this challenge. As such, managers have to make ambiguous and uncertain choices to try to ensure that their employees are highly motivated, qualified, and able to deliver their set goals in the organization.
On financial management, organizations are operating in a highly competitive environment, which often leads to less profitability and costly activities to ensure that the business remains economical (Nickels et al., 2011). For example, balancing the financial resources, which will be dedicated to important functions of the organization such as the purchase of supplies and related products and services, training and remuneration of employees, acquisition of technology is a challenging task. In this case, deciding appropriately the activity that needs to be prioritized is an administrative challenge that managers must face in their functions in any organization (Stone, 2010). Any wrong move can easily lead to the misappropriation of the already scarce financial resources. Such a situation can spell doom on the business. In many instances, a manager is never sure whether the decision that is made on financial appropriation will lead to the success or failure of the organization, and hence the reason why making a workable decision is such a major management challenge (Kapferer, 2012). For example, trying whether to invest in new technology or dedicate finances to employee training and better salaries is a good example of how financial management comes with its ambiguities and uncertainties on the management function.
The third management challenge, which managers face in the 21st-century business environment, is linked to information and technology management. The current period is viewed as an information world where the availability or lack of information can easily be a deciding factor on the success or failure of a company (Turner, 2014). Information is very important in guiding an organization’s strategic decisions, which consequently touch on other aspects of the organization such as staffing, investing, and acquisition of resources among other factors that guide competition. However, due to technology, enough information is widely available. This accessibility then leads to problems relating to determining the information that can be relevant for an organization. For instance, deciding the best approaches to market penetration, or even the market where one can expand to is a major challenge for any business (Nickels et al., 2011). Further, technology is very critical in an organization. However, the wide availability of various technologies presents an obvious uncertainty on what to choose to spend the limited financial resources in the organization. Despite these uncertainties, it is important to note that ignoring technology trends is a recipe for catastrophe for an organization.
Lastly, each decision that a manager makes, especially about business strategies, can have major implications on the business, whether positive or negative. Investing in a given process, technology, or activity carries a risk of failure. According to Drucker (2012), such failures can be very costly to an organization. To avoid any probable risk, investing in risk management is a major strategic approach to cushioning a business against major problems and losses that a business can incur. However, the approach is costly. For example, when expanding to a new market or introducing a new product, it is very important to carry out thorough market research, which will ensure that a business is aware of its competitive advantage, strengths, and weaknesses. Without such information, a business that ventures into an area where it is not aware of the market conditions engage in a risky affair (Turner, 2014). However, even with such data and information, the business may sometimes not turn up as planned. The situation can easily spell doom in an organization. Other major threats to business such as natural disasters, major market fluctuations, and competition among others are all key factors that show that while risk management is vital, it is not always guaranteed to safeguard a business wholly since it is almost impossible to identify and adequately mitigate all the risks.
Important Skills for Managers in Today’s Business Environment
Management is much of a function than an art. As such, it requires important skills to ensure that an organization is led in the right direction to achieve its goals and objectives. In the 21st century, the management function has become even more challenging as clearly identified in the challenges that managers encounter in their day-to-day operations. To address these challenges adequately, managers require important skills.
Firstly, management is a leadership position since it involves not only guiding people towards the achievement of the business goals but also making critical goals that can easily determine the success or failure of the organization. Therefore, it is very important to have leadership and people management skills (Drucker, 2012). A good manager can attract, retain, and motivate employees towards the achievement of organizational goals at all levels. Further, a good manager also coaches and develops team members and employees for high performance. Management approaches ensure that a manager is aware of the skills of the individual team members, as well as the resource requirements for the team’s activities. A manager has to ensure that these needs are met adequately. A good manager as a leader should also be an example to the team members by not only upholding high performance standards but also integrity (Nickels et al., 2011). Lastly, a manager must promote cooperation and collaboration through building strong working relationships, managing conflicts, and negotiating and navigating political issues that are characteristic of the 21st-century business environment. Such skills will ensure that the leader can authoritatively share the vision of the organization or project with the team members, hence guaranteeing focus and dedication to the achievement of the expected outcomes.
The second important management skills that a manager must have are communication skills. Above all other roles, management is majorly a function of controlling and guiding people towards performance goals that warrant the achievement of the organization’s goals (Stone, 2010). In this case, a good manager must facilitate open communication throughout the business. Hence, the manager must ensure that all employees are well informed of their tasks and roles within the organization (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Further, a good communication environment must also leave a space for feedback from the employees so that that they can actively participate in the decision-making process through their input and ideas. The communication must always be relevant and accurate to ensure that the decision-making process goes on well for the benefit of the organization (Turner, 2014). When good communication channels are in place to allow both upward and downward communication, as well as feedback, employees feel valued. The plan increases their motivation, performance, and job satisfaction, and hence better outcomes for the organization.
The manager must also have strong business management skills. Business management skills relate to an understanding of the business strategy, business functions, workflow, and decision-making. Each business has its strategy of achieving its set goals and a good manager must be aware and must believe in it. The business strategy is closely tied to the business functions, which are important in achieving individual aspects of the strategy (Kapferer, 2012). These business functions require personnel and hence the reason why the manager must be aware of the workflow guidelines, which dictate who undertakes a given activity throughout the function to achieve the overall goals. The manager in this process must make the important decision of time and resource allocation and administration (Nickels et al., 2011). A business strategy has a timeframe and resource requirements and hence a good manager must balance not only the available resources but also the persons in charge, to ensure successful completion of the roles.
The manager is also required to have financial management skills. Financial management skills such as budgeting, forecasting, managing cash flow, understanding financial statements, and managing business metrics are all important skills that a manager should have in place (Stone, 2010). Managing an organization involves planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling, which are all closely tied to the financial resources of the business. Being aware of the financial status of the business ensures that a manager can make important decisions without injuring the finances unknowingly through misappropriations. Further, it ensures that he or she can promote accountability through the business from an informed viewpoint.
Lastly, a good manager must have good project management skills. Businesses a characterized by projects or programs that must be carried successfully for clients or the business (Kapferer, 2012). Project management skills enable a manager to plan and manage projects successfully, manage risks, time, costs, and project teams. Projects are expected to be completed within strict time guidelines, with specified budgets and clearly defined teams (Drucker, 2012). Therefore, a manager must have the skills of managing these issues well to guarantee success. Any failure can easily affect a business’ competitive advantage in the highly competitive market of the 21st century.
Important Qualities of a Manager
Managers must exhibit various qualities that separate them from the rest. Such qualities make them appropriate for the management roles that they undertake. These qualities or traits make them unique in terms of their personality. Firstly, they should be creative. In the current fast-changing world, creativity ensures that an individual can easily come up with unique and effective ways of addressing challenges as they arise (Kapferer, 2012). Creative managers lead successful teams by guiding them towards directions that are likely to lead to the best outcomes in an organization. An imaginative manager easily recognizes problems and addresses them as fast as possible to ensure minimum or no disruptions to the functioning of the organization.
Secondly, a good manager must be knowledgeable (Nickels et al., 2011). Knowledge is power. Knowledge is an important aspect of making informed choices when it comes to management. Although knowledge is acquired, a good manager’s knowledge is much engrained to his or her being such that he or she does not have to draw attention to it. Instead, it should come out naturally. Such knowledge ensures that a manager can make informed decisions as issues arise, hence propelling the organization forward.
Another important quality of a good manager is commitment (Kapferer, 2012). A good manager is active and not unreceptive. He or she takes important steps towards the success of projects and the victory of the team members through deliberate and dedicated efforts. Commitment allows the manager to hold and value the shared vision of the team. This strategy helps him or her to bring the team together and closer to the overall goals of the business. In many cases, a manager’s commitment plays a crucial role in pushing and pulling other team members through difficult times.
A manager should also have the quality of versatility and flexibility (Kapferer, 2012). These qualities indicate the ability of a manager to remain open to new ideas and possibilities, which allow him or her to easily change or allow better approaches and ideas when situations demand. For example, in the rapidly changing business world, new approaches to doing business are coming up. Only a versatile and flexible manager can spot these trends and try them out in a business setting. In many instances, people are tempted to maintain the status quo by being too inflexible and close to new ideas and approaches, which can easily lead a business to a path that can only lead to closure or underperformance of the business.
A good manager has high levels of discipline and focus (Kapferer, 2012). Discipline indicates the ability to retain attention and/or do whatever one decides or focuses on. In many instances, many people are motivated at the beginning of a new activity or project. However, this motivation dies soon. However, good leaders retain motivation and attention to whatever they put their minds to. This strategy leads to the achievement of results.
Lastly, a good leader has the quality of viewing the big picture and planning how to achieve through small consistent actions (Kapferer, 2012). Managers understand that achieving the bigger picture or goals is depended on the small actions and details. As such, a good leader does not lose focus on the small details that are ultimately the key determinants of whether a program or a business will be successful or not.
Self-Assessment about the above Issues
As a prospective manager, I have the prerequisite skills and qualities that are needed to drive an organization and a business to achieve its goals. For instance, in handling the rapidly changing world of technology, I will be at the forefront advocating the adoption of up-to-date technologies and processes of doing business to ensure competitive advantage. The vision of my organization will be ‘to become a world leader in human resource management consultancy’.
A good manager is always looking for ways to improve his or her skills to ensure better outcomes for his or her organization. For instance, to ensure that my skills are good, I will focus on training and development. In this case, I will enroll in management courses that are important in improving my administration skills. Secondly, I will join professional groups, especially those that relate to business management, from where I will stand a chance to make important connections, get coaching, and generally gain important insights into the management approaches of executives from other organizations. Sharing is very important since it helps people to not only get new insights but also to have relevant and up-to-date information that relates to management approaches and trends in business. Lastly, staying up to date with information through wide reading and interactions and putting it into practice at the business level is the surest way of ensuring that the skills are ingrained not only into my system but also into my management approaches.
Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Drucker, P. (2012). Management. London: Routledge.
Kapferer, N. (2012). The new strategic brand management: Advanced insights and strategic thinking. London: Kogan page publishers.
Nickels, G., McHugh, J., & McHugh, S. (2011). Understanding Business. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Stone, R. (2010). Managing Human Resources. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Turner, J. (2014). The Handbook of Project-based Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.