Managing people effectively is one of the major challenges facing organizations today. Effective managers should be able to clearly define his/her role within an organization. Managers need to make appropriate decisions, delegate tasks, empower people, manage conflict well and listen. Managers need to identify specific skills for being effective within the organization.
Can a workplace be as effective as possible without an effective manager to run it? If so, what makes a manager effective? Those topics as well as others are going to be discussed in this paper. The interviews conducted from three different individuals will identify what they personally believe makes an effective manager.
Backgrounds and Effective/Style Management
Mr. John Robertson, is currently a Federal General Manager - 15 in the Chief, Management Analysis and Internal Controls Division at Defense Information System Agency (DISA). After serving three years in the United States Military, Robertson began a lifelong management career. Mr. Robertson graduated from Wake Forest University in 1968 and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He attended the University of Richmond on a Williams Graduate Fellowship. In 1985, he received a Masters degree in Public Administration from American University. His management skills have been utilized for over twenty years.
When asked, what is Mr. Robertson definition of an effective manager, he stated, the successful performance of the tried and true components of management still apply? Those components are planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting. Robertson management style is situational because different circumstances call for different approaches. Hersey and Blanchard indicate one of the major focuses of our work has been the development of a practical model that can be used by managers, salespeople, teachers, or parents to make moment by moment decisions necessary to effectively influence other people. The result: Situational Leadership . Robertson believes that you must lead by example; and if you want others to be positive, be positive yourself.
Mr. Earnest Daniel is currently a Federal Government Accountant-General Schedule -09 for Defense Information System Agency. He has also worked in private sector accounting as an Accounting Manager of a small real estate management company. Additionally, he served five years in the United States Military. Mr. Daniel background includes a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor Business Administration in Corporate Finance and a Master s of Accounting. In total, he has over four years of accounting experience and over seven years of supervision and management.
Mr. Daniel s effective manager definition is someone who realizes that everyone is different and is that everyone is different and is motivated differently. A good manager should be an effective motivator and communicator, as well as a person that is capable of leading by example . Daniel indicates that his hands off management style is being someone that everyone can trust to stand by his word, relate to everyone from upper management to all subordinates, performance without having to apply stress techniques.
Ms. Beatrice Perkins retired (Master Sergeant E8) from the United States Army after twenty-two years of service. Thompson, Ramco, Wilcox (TRW)/Lockheed Martin currently employs her in Denver, Colorado as All Source System Analysts. She is presently attending Metropolitan State College, majoring in Geographic Information System. Credit a total of fourteen years, to her management experience.
Ms. Perkins defines an effective manager, as An effective manager must possess several traits on becoming an effective manager. Effective manager and leader must be synonymous. Her management style is situational management. I find this effective because over the years as a leader I have had to remain flexible. I have had to manage people older than myself and some as young as a junior Girl Scout troop. To Ms. Perkins the flexibility of situational management accommodates a variety of aspects and people. It is effective for her because it allows the flexibility of adapting to the cause and events surrounding circumstance in management.
Mr. Robertson's management training mainly consisted of his education and his experience while in the military. He stated that although he did not receive any special training that prepared him to become an effective manager, "The Master of Public Administration degree I received from American University fifteen years ago prepared me for just about any position in the public sector." He also used Stephen Covey's Time Management Matrix to assist in having the ability to prioritize what needs to be done, and then do it key to effective management. Covey counsels that "if you assign tasks to four separate quadrants, where quadrant 1 is Urgent/ Important, quadrant 2 is Not Urgent/ Important, quadrant 3 Urgent/ not Important, and quadrant 4 Not Urgent/ Not Important. You can leverage your impact by always devoting time to quadrant 2. Quadrant 2 is where you do your planning, relationship building, and recognize new opportunities.
Mr. Daniel's management training involved case studies and/or real life management problems that allowed open discussion from the class on how to resolve the cases. "Just hearing different points of views for the same dilemma really provides a different perspective," he stated.
Ms. Perkins found that from her training there was a specific type of management that she considered effective. "I find that to continue to be successful in effective management/ leadership given today's workforce a combination of situational and flexibility to change as the environment/personnel dictates," Ms. Perkins stated.
Robertson believes that ethics plays a major role when it comes to being an effective manager. He believes that the "Golden Rule" applies to be an effective manager as well as to other aspects of life. The "Golden Rule" states "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Robertson says "while on the surface the 'Golden Rule' could mean do for them as what you would like to have done for you. I think the more essential meaning is to understand them deeply as individuals, the way you would want to be understood and then treat them in terms of understanding. As one successful parent said about raising children 'treat them all the same by treating them differently.'"
Daniel believes that "ethics (or lack there of) is a growing situation in management. In today's society it is common to run into unethical managers and employees alike. Managers MUST be ethical leaders. That is, they must set the ethical example in the office, show that there will be consequences for unethical behavior, and provide training and policies to encourage ethical behavior. Without ethics at every level then management will eventually collapse.
Perkins believes that ethic is "enormously important in effective management/ leadership. Leaders/ effective managers must do that and be ethical. The quickest way to lose trust is to say one thing and mean another. In effective management/ leadership being ethical leads to trust and at the same time builds effectiveness.
Robertson, Daniel, and Perkins are very comfortable in delegating tasks. They all indicated that it is necessary when managing people. The three managers also stressed that communication is a key factor. Robertson and Perkins stated that effective delegation must be two ways: responsibility given and responsibility received. Perkins then goes on to say that you must respect others indifferences. Of course, working through others involves the risk of having things done differently. So therefore, train and select the right person(s) for the right task. The overall result is task done independently, timely, and efficiently. Daniel stated that the key is what, why, and how. As a manager, you must ask yourself these questions prior to delegating tasks. The three of them strongly believe that the ability to effectively delegate is critical to managerial success.
The descriptions and characteristics of an effective manager as well as management styles vary amongst different individuals. While one may think that in order to be effective you may have to be dictational and command the group as a whole, another may think that it is all based on individual contact, whereas you have one-on-one interaction. The managerial methods of the three interviewees varied although they seemed to all have a similarity, which is their military background. Robertson and Perkins have a situational management style where they feel that different approaches apply to different situations, whereas Daniels has a hands off management style where he feels that you should be someone that everyone can trust to stand by his word and therefore give performance without having to apply stress techniques. Although they have two different approaches when it comes to management styles, their own individuality still makes these interviewees effective managers.