Editor's Note: In 1995, IndustryWeek asked 25 of the leading CEOs, management gurus and futurists what they saw coming for their companies, their jobs and their life between 1995 and 2020. While we are still five years away from 2020, we nevertheless are going to revisit those reflections, opinions and predictions in the coming weeks and months and see how well are they holding up. The third of the 25 trail blazers into the future (presented in alphabetical order) is: Robert E. Bidwell.
Robert E. Bidwell is author of Skills for Managerial Excellence.
One of the biggest challenges we face over the next 25 years is to improve the people skills, leadership skills, and communication skills of those who aspire to managerial positions. The situation today underscores the need: ''My boss won't listen ... is a dictator ... walks away while I'm talking ... thinks he's an expert on all subjects .... is spineless ... lacks people skills." These comments reflect the attitudes of 102 managers who expressed frustration with their bosses in responding to an IndustryWeek survey.
My own research indicates that the ability to manage, and minimize, frustration is one of the identifiable people skills that managers and executives need -- and that most lack.
How many of the 102 frustrated managers have transferred their own frustration to their subordinates -- and allowed it to filter down to the factory floor? And what impact do you suppose that has on product quality or customer service?
Authority and responsibility are seldom delegated to those who have shown skill at managing or leading."
... Over the next quarter century, we need to overhaul our approach to educating future managers. We must:
• Advise university trustees to take their responsibilities more seriously. Decision- making in universities is being throttled by accreditation and tenure, but mostly by collegiality -- which means that the pace of progress is geared to the most senior loudmouth on the faculty who moves the slowest and whose expertise has little to do with the issue at hand.
• Encourage and support the integration of management skills into law, engineering, and other fields. As many as 70% of all managers come from academic disciplines other than business.
• Recognize that few of those who manage have ever been trained how. Authority and responsibility are seldom delegated to those who have shown skill at managing or leading.
• Prepare for the inevitability of students suing to recover tuition because they have been defrauded -- an allegation which few schools in this country today could adequately defend.