Posts Tagged ‘Management’

The Art of Management

May 5th, 2021

The old saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” does not apply to management. The very nature of management is getting things done through others. Business requires managers to lead teams toward accomplishing goals and ensuring profits. Government and non-profit organizations require managers for the success of the organization. Good management, unfortunately, is a scarce commodity. Even with the countless resources available for managers to learn and better themselves, workers grumble management does not care, does not listen, and cannot be trusted. Managers must establish a working environment that allows employees to accomplish their tasks to their greatest capacity and inspires them to be their best. A manager’s job is to ensure employees have the resources and training to do their jobs effectively. This means managers must work with people. Technical skill is not enough. A good manager must have people skills plus be able to plan, organize, lead, inspire, and everything else needed to accomplish goals and produce results by the team or employees. The manager is responsible for the work of others. Therefore, the heart of management is getting things done through others. The first part of this article will address five basic operations in the work of the manager. Then, we will look at people skills for the manager. These skills will focus on hiring good workers and then following through to motivating and coaching them to accomplish company goals beyond expectations.

The five basic operations of a manager as described by Peter Drucker in his book, “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices,” are setting objectives, organizing, motivating and communicating, measurement, and developing people.

The manager must determine what the objectives should be, and what the goals in each area of objectives should be. Then, the manager needs to decide what has to be done to reach the objectives. Once determined, the manager must effectively communicate these objectives to the people whose performance is needed to attain them.

After determining objectives, the manager organizes. Activities, decisions, and relations are analyzed and work is classified. Each activity is divided into manageable jobs and grouped into an organized structure. The manager then selects people to manage these units and for the jobs to be done.

The third basic operation of the manager is that of motivating and communicating. The manager must make a team out of the people who are responsible for various jobs. This is done through people skills and constant communication to and from subordinates, and to and from superiors and colleagues. The people skills address later in this section are critical for the manager to accomplish the motivating and communicating operations of management.

The fourth basic element of the manager is measurement. The manager sets the guidelines for work to be done and establishes measures to ensure performance meets the expectations. The manager should analyze, appraise and interpret performance and communicate the meaning of the measurements to subordinates, superiors and colleagues.

Finally, the manager must develop people, including him or herself. Every manager must strive to assist those managed to better themselves and develop in various aspects of their skills and performance. Equally important, every manager must work at developing him or herself to become better suited to manage people and take on greater responsibility.

Obviously, there is much more to these five areas that we have space for here. And the lists you can devise regarding a managers duties, skills, and so forth can be endless. Drucker’s book of more than 800 pages is only one of hundreds, if not thousands, of books on the topic of management. The person who wants to excel in management will study a variety of sources and practice implementing the knowledge on the job. Because management involves getting things done through others, let us briefly look at hiring qualified workers, inspiring employees, giving people what they need to succeed, and coaching employees to greatness.

Hiring Qualified Workers

Good employees make a business, and they can be hard to find. The challenge is to determine the best candidate out of the applications received. Every business wants to locate the most highly qualified candidate for each job opening, and then successfully recruit the person that best fits with the position and culture of the company. The difference between a good and bad employee in a position has tremendous impact on a business. In addition, the resources spent on finding, selecting, and training new employees combined with the earnings when working, make hiring an extremely important part of management.

Employers look for many qualities in employees. Some of the most important are: honesty, hard work, good attitude, experience, education, intelligence, responsibility, and a likable personality. It is important that managers define the characteristics that are significant to them and the position they are hiring. Clearly defined standards to measure the candidates make the selection process easier and less arbitrary. Drafting a job description that includes the responsibilities of the position, the necessary qualifications and experience along with these defined characteristics will lessen the struggle in hiring. This description will serve as an outline to guide you in the interview process. The better people hired, the better the business. Proper preparation will help you hire the right people and succeed in one of the important tasks managers face.

Inspiring Employees to Greatness

Many managers believe employees determine their own motivational level. Employees either have naturally good or naturally bad attitudes. Managers with this believe do not think they can do much to change these attitudes. This assumption is not accurate. According to Bob Nelson and Peter Economy, managers have the biggest influence on how motivated their employees are. To influence employees, managers must provide pleasant and supportive working environments, create a sense of joint mission and teamwork in the organization, treat employees as equals, avoid favoritism, and make time to listen when employees need to talk. Managers determine how motivated their employees are, and recognizing employees is one of the surest ways to create a motivated work force. This is so important that it will be covered more thoroughly in the following section on incentives and rewarding employees.

Giving People What They Need To Succeed

As a leader, you must give your people what they need to succeed. If you want those who work for you to accomplish their tasks, provide them with all of the necessary equipment, knowledge, and resources to do so. If you do not, the job will not be completed properly, and they will resent you for assigning them something without giving them the ability to complete it.

Coaching Employees to Greatness

The best managers are coaches, guiding and encouraging the team toward success. Coaching is more than just supporting and encouraging employees to achieve the organization’s goals. A coach must teach employees how to achieve the organization’s goals. Once employees learn how to perform the duties, a coach delegates the authority and responsibility for their performance to them.

Mark McCormack, author of “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” and “The 110 Percent Solution” explained this when being interviewed by Anthony Robbins for the “Power Talk” cassette tape series. McCormack shared that a common mistake is thinking that it takes too long to show someone how to do something when they could just do it themselves much quicker. They fail to realize that even though they can do something in five minutes when it would take an hour to show someone else how to do it, showing someone else can save thousands of hours. If it takes five minutes to do a task, but an hour to train someone else, time is saved if the other person will do the task more than six times in the future. For a task that is done hundreds or thousands of times, there is a huge time savings that the manager can devote to more productive tasks.

Every person is different, so the best coaches tailor their approach to specific needs for each individual. Each team member needs different amounts of guidance and support, just as each team member learns and acquires new skills at a different pace. The effective coach manager will focus on spending time with employees to help them achieve greatness on a daily basis. Each day will not be great, but the accumulation of these days will result in greatness.

A perfect example of this comes from NBA coach Pat Riley. Riley is an exceptional coach that knows how to blend the talents and strengths of his players into a force greater than the sum of the parts. In 1986, Riley’s Los Angles Lakers flunked out of the Western Conference Finals in four straight losses. It was Riley’s first time in his head coaching career that his team had failed to make the championship series. He had the challenge of getting his team to improve at the beginning of the 1986-1987 season. His plan consisted of convincing his players to commit to small improvements. It was called “Career Best Effort,” a system that gave the players a clear picture of how they were doing. He asked them to increase their court skills by one percent in five areas. Twelve players each improving by one percent in five areas gives the team a sixty percent increase. Everyone believed this was achievable, and they were certain they could improve at least one percent in five areas of the game. The results were tremendous and the Los Angles Lakers again won the NBA championships that year.

Comparisons between coaching in sports and business abound with obvious parallels between the two. We will end this article with the words of Lou Holtz, former head coach of the Notre Dame football team. He had this to say about his approach to coaching, “I don’t think discipline is forcing someone to do something. It’s showing them how this is going to help them in the long run.”