Principles of Management for the Digital Age

Good principles of management will never change – but today, managers must adapt to the digital nature of business.

The global ecosystem is driven by technology, making digital skills a prerequisite for success.

In a world fueled by change, technology, and digital transformation, what management principles are most critical?

Here are some suggestions…

10 Principles of Management for the Digital Age

Many core management principles will never change.

Soft skills, such as communication and leadership, will always remain important.

But as businesses change – adopting new business models and new processes – managers must learn to work in this new environment.

Here are 10 principles of management that will prove invaluable in the digital business world:

1. Leadership

Leadership is one of the most important management skills.

This skill is so important that it should be considered a principle. Good leadership ensures that people will follow managers of their own accord.

A manager who is also a leader can:

  • Earn people’s trust more easily
  • Garner support
  • Build a workforce that is happier and more satisfied
  • Get better results from their team

Among other things.

2. Communication

All managers must be good communicators.

Effective communication helps:

  • Teams stay in sync with each other
  • Managers collect feedback 
  • Prevent friction and misunderstandings

Ultimately, communication keeps projects running smoothly.

Though it can be difficult to measure quantitatively, the results of good communication always pay in dividends.

3. Organization

Organization is another critical principle of management. 

Managers must constantly:

  • Coordinate multiple activities, projects, and processes simultaneously
  • Work with a number of parties both inside and outside the organization
  • Juggle complex work schedules

Among other things. 

Though certain tools can help managers stay organized – such as project management tools – they cannot fix everything.

Managers must inevitably learn to stay organized, regardless of how chaotic their workplace is.

4. Objectivity

Another key principle in management is staying objective.

Bias is very difficult to avoid. And some may say it’s impossible to avoid.

But staying impartial is a key principle that can be applied in:

  • Mediating disputes
  • Negotiations
  • Delegating responsibilities
  • Assigning teams

Mitigating bias is very important when it comes to treating workers fairly, preventing favoritism, and maintaining healthy workplace relationships.

It is, of course, impossible to be 100% objective in all situations.

However, the more even-handed a manager is, the better they will be able to resolve difficult situations.

And, over the long term, this will improve their reputation and their track record.

5. Adaptability

The only constant is change, as the saying goes.

In such a constantly changing world, managers must be able to change with the circumstances.

Adaptability confers a number of advantages:

  • The ability to stay relevant 
  • Decreased stress in times of change or upheaval
  • Better results in new situations and environments
  • An enhanced ability to manage new teams and new team members

Regardless of the state of technology, adaptability will always be vitally important.

6. Digital Literacy

Today, digital literacy is fundamental for every business professional.

In the same way that an engineer needs math, the modern worker needs digital literacy.

For managers, digital literacy is even more important.

There are several reasons why:

  • Modern management requires the use of software
  • Team members make use of software in their daily duties
  • Data, analytics, and digital technology are fundamental to normal business operations

The case could be made that digital skills aren’t a “principle,” per se.

However, it’s also arguable that digital literacy is as learning a language.

Without a basic level of literacy, it is impossible to succeed in the digital work world.

7. Human-Centrism

Human-centricity is another principle that should manifest in management practices.

It is easy to put other things before humans, such as:

  • Profit
  • Processes
  • Tools and technology
  • Biases

These bad habits should be avoided, however.

Putting humans first will create a better employee experience across the board. 

And the results will shine through in worker performance.

8. Decisiveness

Managers must be able to make decisions – it is a key function of their role.

Some decisions are easy. 

Some are hard. 

And many are somewhere in the middle.

Regardless of the level of difficulty, though, every manager must be able to make the call on time, every time.

This means:

  • Making decisions in spite of uncertainties
  • Not stalling in the face of risk
  • Making decisions based on the right priorities

Making tough calls is not always easy. 

But that is why managers are managers, not frontline workers.

9. Accepting Responsibility

Owning your decisions is another key to effective management and leadership.

All managers should:

  • Accept new responsibilities
  • Own their successes and their failures
  • Be transparent, open, and accountable

A measure of a true leader is their willingness to own the results of their actions – both good and bad.

Though this can be a difficult task, it will always prove more valuable in the long run.

10. Willingness to Learn

Lifelong learning means:

Some managers and leaders feel that they always need to be right. Or that they must always have the answers to everything.

However, that’s not a manager’s job.

Lack of knowledge is not a sign of weakness – it’s just a lack of knowledge.

Managers and leaders can still lead effectively even if they don’t have all the answers. Or even when they make mistakes.

A humble attitude shows employees that the managers are still human and not driven by ego. This, in turn, builds trust and solidarity.

Managers who pretend to have all the answers, however, can have the opposite effect.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.