The Canberra Times

Management skills and the rise of the online business owner

Management skills and the rise of the online business owner

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There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has held an immense impact on the global economy, and Australia has certainly not been immune to the influence of months and months of lockdowns.

With digital transformations brought upon a wide array of industries over these past few years, many Australian businesses and professionals alike have been re-evaluating the needs and nature of their sectors.

Managerial positions in particular have experienced some monolithic evolutions, mostly due to the dynamic role that technology has played in their industry.

Alongside the digital transformation of brick and mortar businesses, digital enterprises have also had to contend with rapid fire changes to the Australian economy and the way that consumers interact with their organisations online.

There are genuine questions surrounding what makes a good manager in this digital age of industry.

We'll be exploring some of these questions in order to ensure that Australians looking to step onto this lucrative and exciting career path know just what to expect from their coming journey.

What are modern management skills?

There are several answers to this question and a plethora of ways to engage with the realities behind these answers in professional contexts.

Ultimately, however, the best way to engage with modern management skills is by enrolling in a master of management course.

The reasoning behind this is simply that engaging with the theories behind modern leadership, money management, organisational hierarchies, and other aspects of the wide-brimmed white hat of modern management, is infinitely preferable to juggling all of these essential responsibilities in a high stakes real-world environment or haphazardly trying to develop these skills on the fly.

You don't want to make uneducated mistakes before you make educated mistakes, and you most certainly will make the latter even with a solid academic foundation to your name. Even so, damage done through making educated mistakes can generally always be rectified or potentially even avoided.

The other benefit of studying before working is that you will be able to get a clearer understanding of your industry from the perspective of a manager prior to actually entering that industry as a manager.

There's a lot that goes on in the background for professionals undertaking managerial responsibilities, and the nuances of the position or the skills necessary to thrive in that role generally don't make themselves known until you take on the role itself.

You can, however, get a glimpse into the job through focusing your tertiary education on that industry as well as on that managerial role, and through taking opportunities for shadowing other professionals in their workplaces.

The role of the manager in a decentralised workforce

One undeniably complex impact that COVID-19 has held on Aussie industries is the introduction of the remote and hybrid workforces.

In the simplest terms, the hybrid work model allows professionals to alternate between in-office and working from home (WFH) days. This hybrid approach to the workweek maintains some of the benefits that individuals felt when working remotely throughout COVID-19 lockdowns.

Whilst the hybrid work model can be beneficial to professionals of all backgrounds, it has posed some challenges to managers, mainly in the form of facilitating communications and holding employees accountable for their own work in unsupervised settings.

Many have been brought to believe that professionals are responsible for their own productivity at home, but there still needs to be a certain level of leadership and direction being provided to them, either by their department heads or owners and branch managers.

Modern managers must be well-acquainted with delegating work to remote workers as well as managing remote teams, as these hybrid arrangements are likely to be the future of work and industry.

Navigating the digitalisation of modern industry

Technical skills should be considered foundational knowledge for all modern managers. Why? Naturally, with the hybrid work model and the normalisation of remote teams not just in multinational organisations but also for companies of all sizes, there comes a level of tech-savviness that employees and clients or consumers alike will expect from managerial staff.

For instance, the utilisation of project management software has been on the rise across virtually all industries, and managers and employees alike are reliant on this software to maintain collaborative projects. With digital enterprises, organising and running digital marketing campaigns will naturally rely on the use of this software amongst other forms of modern business technologies as well.

Modern managers need to be prepared to learn both now and periodically over the course of their careers, as the digitalisation of their industries is likely to continue over the foreseeable future.

We've reached a point in our abilities to advance technologically where systems will continue to be improved upon with every passing year. Highly motivated managers will be able to reap the full benefits of these advancements rather than being carried away by the coming digital tide.

Digital entrepreneurship: is it right for me?

With all this in mind, it's now high time to ask yourself what kind of manager you'd like to be. Whilst there are some notable distinctions between managerial positions from industry to industry, the roles and responsibilities that come with being a manager are typically evergreen.

Undertaking tertiary study will allow you to better gauge where your managerial skills and leadership style may be most valuable, and where you could potentially thrive both professionally and personally.

Digital entrepreneurship could be an avenue that you feel comfortable entering from the get-go, or it may be an eventual goal for you, an undertaking to aspire to once you have the right knowledge and vision to do so.

For managers who are highly people-oriented, digital entrepreneurship simply may not be able to provide a level of professional satisfaction that you're able to achieve by collaborating with a wider team.


Managers must always be at the helm in times of great uncertainty, and this is likely to continue to be the case as Australia familiarises itself with its post-COVID landscape.

The best thing that modern managers can do is be well-equipped with a healthy dose of business savvy, the appropriate technical resources and knowledge of how best to use them, and a firm understanding of the impact that their managerial decisions can hold.

Aspiring managers can gain all of these valuable attributes during their education as well as during their first forays into their desired industries.

From thereon, an open mind and an ability to continue listening and learning will likely equip you for all other tumultuous phases our economy may face in the long term.