Hobson Associates

Want to Be an Awesome Boss? Learn These Skills

Two workers giving each other the high-fiveThe world of work is rapidly changing, particularly when you hear stats like the shelf-life of a skill today is just 5 years. The skills managers need to possess will rapidly change as well.

So what competencies will become critical for managers to master over the next few years? Check out what this article by LinkedIn had to say about it.


With artificial intelligence playing a bigger and bigger role, along with significant political developments, it’s hard to predict exactly how work will change over the next five years.

But here’s something you can count on – it will change and likely change drastically. That’s because invariably, the toughest times for any manager is during a transition, as people tend to resist change. With more transitions virtually guaranteed, the best managers will be the ones who are the most open to those changes and can effectively manage their employees through it.

That starts with managers themselves being open to change and setting the example for the rest of the team. But, even beyond that, they need to be able to effectively manage their employees through all of this change as well – not an easy task.


Hiring has always been difficult; but it will only get more difficult over the next five years. The best managers will have to be both excellent screeners of talent, as well as being “talent magnets” themselves.

Managers today will increasingly hire for jobs that have only existed for a few years. Even jobs that have been around for a long time have changed so dramatically, the skills needed to do them well are vastly different than what was needed 15 years ago.

Hence, hiring over the next five years will go away from looking at the stalwarts so many organizations used to rely on so heavily – namely, experience and college credentials. Instead, in a rapidly changing world, a person’s “transferable” skills like leadership and project management will increasingly become more important.

The challenge is that those skills are harder to screen for than, say, requiring at least five years of experience. That will make recruiting more challenging, requiring managers to be more in-tune with what they need.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion will increasingly become more important over the next five years. And not just racial or gender diversity, but diversity of thought and background as well.


First off, there is a plethora of research suggesting that diverse, inclusive teams outperform more homogeneous teams. Additionally, hiring great talent will increasingly become more important – although if you are (intentionally or unintentionally) excluding certain people, you are limiting your field and hurting your employer brand.

Requiring a college degree from a prestigious school or seven years of experience in a specific field is becoming outdated. Instead, it’s incumbent on managers to look beyond credentials, which will also open them up to a more diverse talent pool.

It’s great to have a diverse staff, but that diversity is wasted if people don’t feel like they belong at work. The best managers moving forward will focus on inclusion, where all of their employees – regardless of race, gender, political belief, extroversion level, etc. – believe like their opinions are valued and considered.

Managing Generational Differences

There are countless articles today on managing millennials. That’s because organizations are struggling to manage them. And, starting already, there’s a whole new struggle – turning these millennials into managers themselves.

Adding to that, for a variety of reasons, people are working longer than ever today. It’s not unusual for a manager to have a 25-year-old and a 65-year-old on the same team; something that was very rare 20 years ago. And there are still the Gen Xers, who seem to get almost no media attention, yet who occupy a significant portion of the workforce.

Oh, and here’s another thing – there’s been a lot written about millennials. But, by 2020, a whole new generation will be coming into the workforce: “Generation Z” (people born after the mid-1990s). Who knows what their collective personality will be like?

All of these generations have different expectations, different preferred methods of communication and different worldviews. And yet somehow, managers need to turn them all into one cohesive unit.


The role of manager will be challenging over the next five years. As you can see, you can count one thing: change. Change in the market, change in hiring trends, change in employee demographics and expectations.

So what’s the best strategy for managers moving forward? To embrace this change as much as they can and strive to always be learning. Along with being the best way to prepare themselves to handle it, it’ll also set the example to the rest of their team that this change presents a great opportunity, if handled correctly.

And, for organizations, the same can be said on a broader scale – if you can teach these skills to your managers, you'll have a huge advantage moving forward.


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