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Dr. Bill Becker Tells The Wall Street Journal that managers must be able to block out distractions and use reasoning and problem-solving skills

The Wall Street Journal featured Becker for his research on how specific cognitive skills are required for certain jobs, and how practicing those skills can sharpen your brain power.  

December 10,  2015

By Elaine Cole

In a Wall Street Journal article, “How Your Job Can Make You Smarter,” writer Sue Shellenbarger turned to TCU Neeley’s Bill Becker for insight on how certain jobs require mental skills that can build the brain’s capacity to process information and solve problems.

Becker’s 2015 study showed that “executives and managers must routinely block out distractions and exercise reasoning and problem-solving skills. So must paramedics and emergency-medical technicians, who may be faced with several people in distress and have to focus on only the most pressing injuries,” Becker states in the article. Becker says that linking specific cognitive skills with certain jobs can help employers match candidates to positions.

Becker also states that good managers must learn to wrestle with abstract problems and interpret trends while honing their ability to read colleagues’ mood and attitude.

He discusses how he helps TCU students in his management classes sharpen their perceptual skills by keeping journals describing important conversations they’ve had, to reflect on what they said, how they responded and how they might have done better. While some resist, “every year there will be a handful of students who really get into it, and they’re the ones who get smarter,” he tells The Wall Street Journal.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal at