A thing that most, if not all organizations have in common is that everyone is expected to bring something to the table or be set on the shelf; and managers are no exception. Especially in the modern world where Information systems are a critical part of many organizations, managers are expected to adopt and improvise if they are to survive and excel in their under takings.
Many organizations today are moving and investing into information systems for the benefits such as improved data management and speed of work completion. As these happen, managers have a critical role to lead and they must have necessary tools of the trade.
It is not necessary that managers should really have extensive backgrounds into technical skills but I believe that the most important skills needed for managers to participate effectively and efficiently in IS decisions are: Interpersonal and relationship building , forward planning and strategy, and problem solving skills, these among many other skills.
Interpersonal relationship building skills are a key point skill set needed in any organization prior to decision making. This skill can also include good communication skills. In an organization, a manager is expected to be compassionate, approachable, diplomatic, and yet very precise with communicating his or her intents. This is because a good relationship and communication flows multi-directional in an organization, it needs to exist between managers and their subordinates. Otherwise, how could a decision be effective if subordinates do not cooperate with their managers? In addition, since the top level management has the final say when it comes to proposed IS plans, it is very significant to gain support from them through effective communication. This good relationship and communication also flows internally and externally as the end user demands. Without such skill set it would be difficult getting any made decisions off the ground.
Another skill set I feel would do best for managers is forward planning and strategy, because even without a technical skill set background, a manager should be able to envision the end goal of his decisions, his overall mission and vision, plan contingencies and other variable in a bigger picture.
Finally, I believe problem solving skill is a need for managers when it comes to IS decisions or any decision making for that matter because they always encounter unusual problems along the way. New problems will arise with every new decision made but managers should develop their expertise to learn from past mistakes and put experience on the table, be stable under pressure, remain focused on their objectives and seek creative ways to solve problems. Having this skill, no matter how difficult the situation they face, they can remain calm while finding the best solutions.
While there are a lot of skills out there that managers can use in decision making I feel that these skills mentioned above are the ones that would make a decision in terms of Information Systems aspect efficient and effective. 🙂