Рефераты. The profile of an effective manager

The profile of an effective manager

The manager

Managers work in an organization. Therefore, before we can identify who

managers are, it is important to clarify the term organization. Robbins

S.P. (1991) defines an organization as: “a systematic arrangement of people

to accomplish some specific purpose”. We can divide organizational members

into two categories[1]: operatives or managers. Managers differ from

operatives, by the fact that they direct the activities of others.

There are two big classifications of managers[2]: the horizontal

classification only looks at the responsibilities. We can distinguish the

functional manager and the general manager. The functional manager is

responsible for a whole of similar activities, for example, financial

director, commercial director… While the general manager is responsible for

different functional areas, he is often concentrated on one business

activity and acts as a product manager or a division manager. In the

vertical classification, we need to differentiate first-line managers,

middle managers, and top managers. The difference between these three

groups is based on the statute of subordinates.

Furthermore, we should pay attention to the difference between a successful

and an effective manager. As Luthans F. (1988) proved, a successful manager

is not necessary an effective manager. The former is a manager, who has

been promoted relatively quickly, while the latter has satisfied, committed

subordinates and high performing units. In general, we could say that an

effective manager is one who attains the organizational goals.

1. Manager’s job

It was Henry Fayol, in the early part of this century, who was the first to

give a global view about the job of manager. He observed that managers

performed 5 management functions: they plan, organize, command, coordinate

and control. In the mid-1950s, these management functions were reduced to

the basic four known as the management process.

Figure 1 shows that the tasks of a manager consists of planning,

organizing, leading and controlling.

Figure 1: Management Functions


Source: Management, By: Robbins, S.P., 1991, , Prentice-Hall, Inc, p. 4

The planning component encompasses defining the goals, establishing

appropriate strategies, and developing different plans to coordinate the

activities. Furthermore, managers are responsible for designing an

organization’s structure, which clarifies what must be done and by whom. As

the job of manager implies directing activities of others, the leading

function is very important. It consists of motivating subordinates,

resolving conflicts and selecting effective communication channels.

Eventually, a manager has a controlling function. He has to ensure that the

assumed goals will be achieved. Therefore the manager has to monitor the

different activities. Also keep in mind that an effective manager must be

able to perform all four activities simultaneously.

Only recently has this classical view of managers been challenged based on

the observations of five CEO’s. Mintzberg H. (1971) concluded that the

manager’s job consisted of many brief and disjointed episodes with people

inside and outside the organization. In addition to these insights,

Mintzberg provided a categorization scheme for defining what managers do

based on actual managers on the job. Mintzberg shows that managers play

different but highly interrelated roles[3].

Formal authority gives rise to the three interpersonal roles (figurehead,

leader, and liaison), which in turn gives rise to the three informational

roles (monitor, disseminator, spokesman). These two sets of roles enable

the manager to play the four decisional roles. We should also mention that

the importance of managerial roles varies depending on the manager’s level

in the organization.

Another best known modern view of managerial work is provided by John

Kotter which is based on his observatory[4] of 15 successful general

managers. Kotter stated that managers spend most of their time interacting

with others and concluded that managers spent considerable time in meetings

getting and giving information. By obtaining relevant and needed

information from his network, the effective manager is able to implement

his or her agenda.

2. Critical skills related to managerial competence

In the ‘70s, researcher Robert Katz tried to find an answer to the

question: What are the critical skills that are related to managerial

competence? He discovered that managers should possess 4 critical

management skills. Those skills can be categorized in two big groups[5]:

general skills and specific skills. There seems to be overall agreement

that effective managers must be proficient in four general skills areas[6]:

. Conceptual skills: the ability to analyse complex situations and to

provide the necessary knowledge to facilitate the decision-making.

. Interpersonal skill: as a manager you should be able to direct others,

so motivation, communication and delegation skills are absolutely


. Technical skills: the ability to apply specialized knowledge or


. Political skills: the ability to build the right relationships with

the right persons. Those connections result in higher chances of

getting additional resources and power.

The proportions in which those skills are necessary vary with the manager’s

level in the organization. Conceptual skills become more and more

important as we grow in the hierarchy of the organization, while technical

skills become less important. Interpersonal skills are necessary on every

level, because a manager always works with people.

Research has also identified six sets of specific skills that explain 50%

of manager effectiveness:

. Controlling the organization’s environment and its resources

. Organizing and coordinating

. Handling information

. Providing for growth and development

. Motivating employees and handling conflicts

. Strategic problem solving

In ‘The General Managers” (1983), John Kotter, concluded that effective

managers have strong specialised interest, skills, knowledge and

relationships. These specialised personal assets allow them to behave in

ways that fit the demands of their specific situations. Such specialization

seems to have been central to their ability to cope with the often huge

demands placed upon them by their jobs.

The many personal characteristics that helped contribute to good

performance were developed over the entire period of the manager’s life. In

terms of basic personality we can observe[7]:

. Needs/motives: like power, need for achievement, very ambitious

. Temperament: emotionally stable and even, optimistic

. Cognitive orientation: above average intelligence, moderately strong

analytically, strong intuitively

. Interpersonal orientation: personable and good at developing

relationships with people, unusual set of interest that allows them

to relate easily to a broad set of business specialist.

. Information: very good knowledge about the business and organization

. Relationships: cooperative relationships with a large number of

people in the organization

Kotter concluded that in the stipulation for being an effective manager,

there should be a match between the demands of the job and the individual

characteristics. So for organizations it is a challenge to put the right

man on the right place. Depending on the role a manager has to play in an

organization, we need an individual with other characteristics. For

example, Kotter found that in jobs where the relationships were more

demanding and accomplishing things more difficult, the general manager was

someone with a strong personable style, skill at developing relationships,

a liking of power, an emotionally even temperament, an ability to relate to

a diverse group of business specialist, and extensive relationships in

their organization and industry.

1. The main characteristics of the effective manager

In the following part we will discuss some of the main manager’s

characteristics based on the theories which were discussed in the first

part of our paper. We have summarized different visions and found out that

all theories named the following important characteristics:

. Decision making skills

. Conflict Management skills

. Flexibility and creativity

. Developing of managerial knowledge and manager’s teaching role

. Motivation of employees

. Communication skills

. Developing trust inside the organization

We will give a description of each characteristic including some important


1. Decision Making Skills

Mangers are at the same time the decisions makers. It is easy to make

decisions, but making the right one is difficult. What criteria should an

effective manager have upon the decision-making aspect? Let’s start with a

simple review of the decision making process.

Decision-making is formally defined as the process of identifying and

solving problems. The process containing 2 major stages: problem

identification and problem solution. According to the rational approach,

there are 8 steps for each stage:[8]

Figure 2: Decision-making process


The point of rational approach is that manager should try to use systematic

procedures to arrive at good decisions. Actually in practice, there are

many uncertainties when applying this model to make decisions due to the

following type of information constraints imposed up people:[9]

. Limited attention

. Limited memory

. Limited comprehension

. Limits to communication

These, plus other factors, have given rise to the notion that rational

process indecision is bounded. Herbert Simon, in this regard, has proposed

that, “within bounded rationality, individuals and groups often base their

decisions on satisfying the search for what is good enough in the

circumstances, rather than optimizing.”[10]Often, managers have to face

vast number of information and required to make a decision in a short time,

it is impossible for him to analysis each problem and weigh each

alternatives from the limited mental capacity. [11] Therefore there is a

limit to how rational a manager can be.

Many models are built upon the uncertainty of the solution searching steps,

while in all actuality managers are not making the decision in a vacuum.

They can use formulas or models to aid their decision making process.

Therefore, it is important for an effective manager to pay attention to the

following points when making the decisions:

The intuitive decision-making process always plays an important role in

combination with the rational process. Managers build up long experience

with organizational issues, which provides them with a gut feeling or hunch

about the correct response. The large organizational decisions are not only

complex, but also ambiguous. In such a situation; previous experience and

judgment are needed to incorporate intangible elements. Most of the time,

without solid proof that problems exist, the intuition will tell the

managers that there is or could be a problem that requires him to act

before he is able to sit down and analyze the problem.

An effective manager knows how to cooperate with the internal and external

resources. Of course, as decision-makers, the manager should not become an

“autocrat”. Voice from internal will be listened, and sharing the opinions

and having joint discussions to reach the interpretation of the goals and

problems accordingly the agreement will be easier to reach and find

solutions to the problem. External comments or reactions have great

impact on decisions makers. On one hand, managers are easily misled by the

hypothesis given from the external environment and can forget to look

broader and further. On the other hand, proactively utilizing the

external resource can help managers to see better and further; therefore,

objective evaluation of those opinions will be helpful to generate wide

range of the problem solving approach.

Creativity is vital to search for more alternatives during the crisis

moment. When there are few possibilities to solve the problem, people can

easily stick to the first seeming possible solution and start to convince

themselves that there is no other better ones. Therefore they are stuck in

the corner and forget to look for the other alternative. Dynamic thinking

and radioactive mentality will help the manager to look the situation from

a different view, there fore create the new approach.

An effective manager will not only look to the short-term profit. He sees

further. He must be able to judge where the future business will be lead

to from the decision made today. Those decisions, which bring profits today

but will undermine business tomorrow, will be dropped.

The difficult decisions are always accompanied by the ethical issues. The

best solution for the company’s profit might not be the right ones

according to the laws or regulations. On making decisions, the ethical

dilemmas cannot be neglected, and the outcomes of unethical behavior can

affect reputations, trust and career path. Results have been as severe as

loss of employment, physical harm to individuals, corporate bankruptcy and

even impacts to the economy.

The scandals of 2002, including Enron and WorldCom, resulted in

regulations having created a cultural shift particularly in financial

fields that has renewed emphasis on ethical business behavior. What

distinguishes mediocre level managers from the truly effective managerial

leader is an ethical dimension. There exists different moral stages that

guide people in their everyday decision-making. Those people in the

“principled level…make a clear effort to define moral principles apart from

the authority of the groups to which they belong or society in general”[12]

Learn from the formal fail experience is very important. Managers are apt

to stumble down the same failure-prone path over and over again without

learning. Learning is thwarted when leaders do not tolerate mistakes. In

such an environment, people conceal bad out comes. Consequently, people in

the same company, or the same person in different period will repeat the

similar mistake. A good manager will see the mistakes as an education and

correct himself constantly according to the new situations. Generally

speaking, to be an effective decision maker, managers need to work closely

with their team and “integrate their faith, values and business practices”.

[13] In the presentation we will use the case from “Nestle Company” to

show why bad decisions had been made and what the consequences are. [14]

2. Conflict Management Skills

According to Jean Miller from TIG (Taking It Global) “Conflict is the

source of all growth and is an absolute necessity if one is to be

alive.”[15] An effective manager must be able to manage conflict and also

learn from it to help the organization to grow and be challenged. Conflict

is not always negative but can prove to have some positive outcomes as

well. The effective manager can balance this delicate relationship and

works hard to handle conflict with care.

As further stated in the article, conflict can be viewed as something to

manage or something to resolve. John Burton, one of the world’s leading

scholars in the field of conflict resolution commented “…resolution means

terminating conflict by methods that are analytical and that get to the

root of the problem.” Miller explains that “conflict management is a multi-

disciplinary, analytical, problem-solving approach to conflict that seeks

to enable participants to work collaborately towards its management.”[16]

Conflict is not easily avoided in any organization; therefore, an effective

manager is prepared by knowing how he will approach certain issues before

they happen. There are many books and articles written that address this

topic in great detail. An effective manager will consult these items and

use his or her own judgment in taking the advice of these publications.

According to James Cribbin, there are three basic kinds of conflict as

follows: Approach-Approach, Avoidance-Avoidance, and Approach-

Avoidance.[17] Approach-Approach would seem to be the most straight

forward type of conflict as there are two alternatives that are equally

feasible. If an employee is not being productive in the company this

affects how the manager’s boss views that department. The manager wants to

please his boss but also stay on good terms with his employee. In each

case the manager needs to approach the other person with open communication

and deal with the situation.

Avoidance-Avoidance is very difficult because whatever decision is made to

have negative consequences. If a manager knows that his boss is cheating

the company financially, he must make a decision. Tell on his boss and

suffer the wrath, or stay quiet and sacrifice his ethics. He would like to

avoid the conflict on either side, but staying quiet may not be an option.

The last type of conflict according to Cribbin is Approach-Avoidance. He

gives a clear example of a manager put in a situation in which he must make

a decision that will affect himself and his family. He wants to approach

the situation but also avoid it completely. He is given a great promotion

in the company but must move his family from his nice comfortable town to a

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