Thursday, May 30, 2019

How Age Affects Management Styles

. et al writing in the MIT Sloan School of Management Journal, of a survey of managers with a view to uncovering how Age impacts management styles via biological, generational, seniority-& experience-related effects. Such effects are often intertwined in their expression, even when a clear separation on a conceptual basis is possible. Their paper  report on the survey - of 10,000 managers, with ages in the range 21-70, and they discuss the nuances of their results. Overall, they contrast the external and internal (to the firm) focus as evident in their attitudes, actions and survey responses. They find that older managers focus more on Core Competencies of the firms and Client relationships as part of their external focus; but their focus within the firm is on building coalitions, developing empathy and  on effectively delegating functions.  While by contrast, younger managers focus more on learning about or developing entirely new Business Models & on their company's Competitive Positioning externally;  and on finding a good Mentor within the company or developing training programs as part of their internal focus.

The overall set of results broadly resonate with conventional wisdom, but is invaluable in emphasizing the broad complementarity in what older and younger managers can bring to the table, and that age-diversity is as critical for a firm as diversity along any other axis. Even more, the authors go out of their way to assert that the qualities of older managers *(such as being reflective, intuitive, savvy, holistic or inclusive) cannot, quite obviously, be replaced by any 'artificially intelligent' machine!