Literature Review - Managerial Skills

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LiIntroduction

History of Management
Tanz (2003) provided a brief history of management over the period 1909 to 2001. He notes that despite all the advancement of almost a century we still do not know what quantifies management, and alludes that maybe some theorist in the next century will come along and discover the key to managing. Tanz (2003) accredits Peter Drucker as the most influential and wide ranging management thinker of the 20th century. Drucker’s work is still being used today in many organizations. Tanz (2003) also makes mention of Frederick Winslow Taylor who created “Taylorism” which encouraged management to see employees as replaceable. There was a big change in the late 1920’s to another style of management, which came about from the results of a study known as the “Hawthorne Experiments”. The results revealed that workers were not only motivated by wages. They also needed to have their emotional needs satisfied. Group decision making was introduced in ? and is now the norm at the same time the Human Relations movement was born. According to Tanz (2003) James MacGregor Bruns who is noted for his doctrine on transformational leadership and Robert Greenleaf on his philosophy of servant leaders also were influential in bringing management to where it is today. Waters (1980) This research paper written while at McGill University looks at the process of management, how managers do their jobs, the behaviors and the skill set required. This research paper although written for education professionals also covers areas of interest for business professionals.

Leadership
Stronge (1998), notes that there is no common definition for leadership. He however cites a definition provided by Warren Bennis from his 1994 publication On Becoming a Leader. Leadership is like beauty it is hard to define, as beauty to one person is not the same to another, however when a person observes beauty or in this case leadership qualities, you realize and acknowledge it. Stronge (1998) also used a definition provided by James MacGregor Burns, which really sums up the definition of leadership as being one of the most observed and least understood observable facts on earth. Effective leaders possess three desirable skills; those skills are identified by Stronge as technical, human and conceptual skill. Technical skill encompasses the specialized knowledge, tools and techniques that leaders utilize to accomplish tasks. Conceptual skills refer to an individual’s ability to use intelligence when making decisions. It also is the ability to see the big picture; the use of imagination to speculate and visualize change. Human skill is the ability to work well with others; enabling and encouraging them to achieve an objective. According to Berkman (2002), the ability to communicate effectively is the single most vital skill required of a corporate executive. He came to this conclusion during the course of a survey, which revealed three of the most important skills required of executives. Of those three skills 70% agreed that communication was the most important. The art of communication was identified as involving several areas including public speaking, professional writing, listening and observing. Knowledge of the business processes and operations received the second highest score at 58%. The third skill identified at 46% was strategic thinking and planning. Berkman (2002) also noted a shift in the way executives viewed hard core technical skills as more important than critical skills. This is a shift from the management style of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where critical skills were deemed more important than technical skills as they were used in the strategic planning process. However he alludes that executives are involved in the strategic planning process when they brush up on technology trends, when they have dialogue with their business colleagues or when they envision potential business scenarios....
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