Essay sample on management

Over the past decade there is an abundance of evidence, that could be produced to say that successful organizations are managed by efficient managers. Success in the long run can be ensured only through effective management. Successful managers foster sustainable growth through their skills, attributes and personal qualities. According to Pfefferand Veiga(1999), common sense and common knowledge are different. Knowing things is different from doing things. Being able to analyze a case, identify a problem, suggest a correct solution makes a manager more effective. Out of all the characteristics that make an effective organization, the most important factor is the quality and alignment of the human resources. In this essay, the most important characteristics of an effective organization and the main obstacles to effective organizational performance and the ways to overcome them are discussed.
Qualities of the human resource
The success of an organization depends on the nature of the human resource. According to Whetton and Cameron, (2005) the most important personal qualities essential for a manager are the awareness of one's own self and ability to solve problems analytically and creatively. First and foremost quality that builds clarity in the thought process is the self awareness. Self awareness does not stop at the individual level, but the awareness of one's inner potential and capabilities as a team and as an organization. Self awareness helps to understand the customers more by taking a closer look at their lifestyle and environement as expressed by Anita Roddick in her interview about her best management practice. Cox(1994) in his work mentions that, self awareness is very essential to have a concept of self regard and worthiness to define the persons' emotional intelligence . More awareness of the person's personal values gives direction when decisions have to be made. When a person is aware of the inner self, then they can appreciate the differences between individuals when working in a group. An effective manager feels comfortable in welcoming different viewpoints and can create a shared sense of commitment in a team.
The other personal skill that has to be possessed by a manager is the ability to solve problems analytically and creatively. A manager should be able to think beyond the traditional boundaries of thought. If the manager has the ability to do so, he can create alternative solutions which are far beyond the traditional options available. Like Anita Roddick remarks, the team should not be rigid in its thought process so that the spirit of trying new ideas is killed. He should be able to combine unrelated alternatives to create an alternative solution for a problem which can create a platform for innovation.
Managers in an organization are supposed to have a range of interpersonal skills like coaching, counseling, offering supportive communication, exercising influence, motivating others and managing conflicts. Of all these interpersonal skills the ability to offer supportive communication is very essential. According to Golen (1990), supportive communication is the communication that seeks to preserve a positive relationship between the communications while still addressing the problem at hand. It allows you to provide negative feedback or to resolve a difficult issue with another person and as a result can strengthen the relationship. The most important barriers to communication are the semantic barriers such as the symbols with different meanings, badly expressing the message, faulty translations, unqualified assumptions and the use of highly technical language loaded with technical jargons. There can be some psychological barriers also which include, premature evaluation which is caused by premature judgments made without proper analysis, lack of attention when the message is sent across, loss in the transmission of message and poor retention by the audience, undue reliance on the written word and ignoring the value of face to face interactions and distrust of the communicator. The organizational barriers include, policies, rules and regulations of the management, relationships within the organization and the complexity of the structure of the organization. The personal barriers to communication include, attitude of superiors, fear of challenge to authority, red tapism and insistence of proper channel, lack of trust on the subordinates, lack of awareness of the individual and lack of time. The barriers to communication that are very difficult to eliminate are the factors that are inherent to the psychology of the employees. The factors such as the attitude of the workers and the lack of trust on the communicator are very difficult barriers to overcome. The attitude of the workers cannot be changed overnight but can be altered only through long term confidence on the management which holds good for improving the trust on the communicator.
Next important aspect of interpersonal skill is the leadership skill. Leadership expert McFadden(2007) comments that, "the leader should have passion for the people which means that the leader regards the people more than himself. In order to fulfill this requirement, the success of the leader will be heavily contingent upon whether he has accomplished the first "P" - passion for purpose". A leader of any group is like the leader of an expedition; people are trusting in his guidance because they believe that his expertise is the result of him having already made the journey. As a result of having experienced the journey, the leader's motivation should be to expose the followers to the benefits he has already derived. The leader is, therefore, completely committed to the well being of his followers and their safe arrival at the intended destination.
Group skills
The next set of skills that enhance the effectiveness of an organization is the degree to which the members are able to delegate and organize, building effective teams and leading positive change. In an ever changing business environment the organization has to redefine itself constantly according to the changes. For the easy adaptability of the company in times of change, the manager should be able to motivate and lead others towards positive change and he should be able to build good teams to carry out the changes. In times of rapid change, it is far more challenging to prepare the members of the organization to accept the need for change, to help understand the new approach, to obtain their commitment to implement the proposal, to manage the transition period effectively and to institutionalize the new idea by "hard wiring" it into the organization's communication, evaluation and reward systems. Good ideas are not in scarce supply, what is rare is the ability to translate a good idea into accepted practice. When we analyze the words accepted practice, it is clear that the success of any change is dependent on the acceptance of the practice. The acceptance of the new idea by the members of the organization at all levels can be achieved through careful estimation of the changes required and intricate planning of the details about implementation. Delegation and empowering the team members is very necessary to accomplish a goal. There are a number of benefits when this approach is adopted. First for the organization, it is highly advantageous because the company now has more members aware of the purpose and the task of achieving it. Hence, the vision and the goals of the firm can be achieved more effectively. The long term plans of the firm such as the vision and mission and the relatively short term plans such as the goals and objectives set will be formulated by the respective staff. Right from the initial stages the of planning until execution of the plans, the staff have the relative authority.
By empowering the team members to set their own goals, sort their own issues and set their own targets, the layers of the management hs been reduced. Without empowerment, the traditional organizational structure cannot create the environment needed for the working of the teams which will make the teams very ineffective. Because of the empowerment of the team members, the traditional boundaries within the organization has been broken. This creates room for betterment of the tasks and improves efficiency. By presenting the employees with the information about the needs of the organization and allowing the team members to design strategies that are to be adopted and the level of commitment needed, the interest on the job is increased as the workers feel empowered. Empowerment is a very effective tool to increase the skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback which are the major sources of job satisfaction. Hence, at each and every level of formation of teams such as the forming, norming, storming and controlling empowerment of the members of the team to plan and execute is essential for the success of this program.
Motivation and morale
An organization should be able to motivate the employees to overcome the obstacles that are faced in the achievement of the goals. To increase the motivation of the team members and to maintain the morale at positive levels, the management has to check the core dimensions of the job. Hackman(1980) points out that the core job dimensions include the skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. The more the variety of skills the job requires, the more is the relative importance of the job and this increases the significance of the job which creates a sense of pride for the person who does the job. The person who is on the job should be given autonomy to make decisions, flexible work schedules, removing formalized controls and freedom to set their work targets. Also, the person should be given accurate and timely feedback about the job performance. The employees knowledge about their performance on the job helps to increase the client satisfaction directly and help to increase the effectiveness of the overall performance of the team. The core dimensions of the job that are listed above help to create favorable psychological states of mind which help in job fulfillment, job satisfaction, low absenteeism and low employee turnover.
Conflict management
Eisenhardt 1997, mentions that a conflict over issues Is not likely within teams but is also valuable. Many conflicts provide the team members the range of information, a deeper understanding of the issues and richer set of possible solutions. In the era of globalization, successful strategic decisions are made by teams that can identify conflicts over issues without sacrificing speed of accomplishment of the task.
But many times conflicts can also contribute to the slowing down of the team and can decrease the effectiveness of the strategy adopted. The main reasons for conflicts may be personal differences with respect to perceptions and expectations, informational deficiency like misinformation or misrepresentation, role incompatibility and environmental stress from resource scarcity or uncertainty. The company should force a response or have an accommodative approach or have a compromising approach or can avoid giving response to reduce the adverse effects of a conflict. The author identified several key factors that help in conflict management. The author also stresses the following points to overcome conflicts:
1. Work with more information
2. Focus on the facts
3. Develop multiple alternatives to enrich the level of debate
4. Share commonly agreed upon goals
5. Inject humor into decision process
6. Maintain balanced power structure
7. Resolve issues without forcing consensus.
Power and politics
The term power means the ability to control the environment around. Power gives the ability to a person to decide and act. If an employee is empowered, he can decide on issues and can proceed without being given directions at every stage of operations. When organizations are becoming leaner, the empowerment of employees becomes very vital. Also worth the emergence of information technology the boundaries of traditional office does not exist. In this situation, power does not only denote the authority but also denotes the opportunities embedded in a job. When the organization is facing uncertainty it can create confusion about roles played and the relative importance of the roles played by people. For example, when an organization is going to be taken over by a MNC, there is a high uncertainty about the jobs of people. In such a situation employees tend to use their persona l power and influence to gain information and to favor people. This can trigger office politics. The change in status is definitely advantageous for the organization through delegation.
Managers have to understand that to stay at the top of the power curve it is important to convert power effectively into interpersonal influence in ways that avoid abuse of power and to create effective teams by delegating authority to others. The powers held by a person in a company can be converted into influence strategy by following, retribution, reciprocity and applying reason. Retribution is forcing others to do what the superior says. To make people just to do what is expected by the team leader, the leader may use coercion and may also use intimidation to increase the pressure on the team members. The manager can also use the reciprocity concept, by following bargaining or ingratiation. But the best approach is to share the facts with the employees and by appealing to their personal values.
General obstacles in an organization
Like explained earlier in this essay, an organization needs a wide range of skills but even when the people in an organization have these skills it does not work in the
way it is supposed to. Under many circumstances, the management is not sensitive and creative enough to put the skills of the employees to the maximum use. The major obstacle that prevents a firm from using its resources to the maximum is its lack of vision. An ability to envision itself providing positive solutions to the customer is the best strength any organization can have. If a management does not have the ability to look into the current business environment and is unable to identify the kind of opportunities that will be created, then it creates barrier to growth. As mentioned by Anita Roddick, that solutions are among ourselves. The challenges and solutions have to be identified from the environment of the organization. If a management is not able to recognize, define and offer creative solutions to the requirements of the market then it will be counting the missed opportunities in the long run. Another major obstacle to growth in an organization is the ability of the firm to cope with changes that occurs unpredictably fast. Every member in an organization promotes certain values and norms that are guarded by theses members. Any intended change by the management which poses a threat to the values and norms of the members of the organization, is vehemently resisted. Though people welcome the concept of change individually, often they show anxiety and stress when there is a need for change. When the business is faced with continuous change, the company should be toned well enough to accommodate the necessary changes in its working systems.
If we analyze more in depth, the list of the qualities of progressive organization will grow longer and longer. We all know the basic functions of management. When a manager is able to demonstrate the qualities in executing these functions he becomes more effective. As quoted by Manali(2008), " the manager is responsible for the successful implementation of management skills. A good manager needs to adhere to the basic management principles and exhibit the basic management skills in his/her personality." The business manager uses facts, reasonable premises and constraints and from all these he visualizes and formulates what necessary activities are, how they will be conducted and what will be their contribution to achieve desired results. Hence, a good business manager is a must for business entities to take advantage of the opportunities and steer ahead of the competition.
In addition to good managers in the teams, the most important quality is that, the organization should not lose its focus on the alignment of people towards the goals. What the organization wants to achieve would be clear to the people. The goals, people and other physical resources should be in line in the same direction. The organization's policies, procedures, systems and structure should be able to align the resources including the human resource to move towards the desired outcome. When the management systems are complicated and shifts the focus of the organization from exploiting opportunities to catering to the procedural requirements everyday functioning, then we can say that the organization has created its own boundaries for growth.

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