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Effective Executive Magazine:
Executive Leadership and Multitasking
 
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Though frequently used, ‘multitasking’ is an unclear concept, with no clear distinction between the process of multitasking (its elements and facets) and those who do it successfully—multitaskers (what are the skills executives need?). At the conceptual level, there are facets such as foreground and background, noise, discernment/relevance schedule, cue recognition and channel switching. There is also an event flow as event-opportunities flow onto an agenda, remain on the agenda for a while, competing with other events, and then flow on (for good or ill!). In terms of skills, strategic decision making and task organizing are key. For the executive, leading and managing yourself (managing down, managing up and managing across) and leading and managing teams (internal, external, and internal/external ones) are essential to successful multitasking. Finally, there is the need to recognize micro, meso and macro levels of the organization as opportunity of intra management levels and inter management levels. These processes involve producing organizational integration and synchrony.

   
There is a large conversation about multitasking in general.1 What is multitasking? There are numerous definitions involving paying attention to a plethora of ‘tasks’ often “at the same time”, although we will modify this conceptualization. In this paper, we would like to talk about multitasking and executive multitasking in particular.

A multitasker is one who engages in doing many things at once.

The cognitive psychology literature on multitasking indicates that multitasking clearly slows one down and also decreases the quality of one’s work. I n effect, multitasking seems to exacerbate any existing difficulties with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.2 Yet, we all know people who seem unusually adept at handling many tasks, as is illustrated in the nostrum “If you want something done ask a busy person.” So how can this discrepancy be explained? We have two sets of reasons as to why there are many problems with multitasking.
 
 
Effective Executive Journal ,Multitasking, Discernment/Relevance schedule, Cue Recognition and Channel Switching, Executive Leadership.