It is not easy to find a fitting definition of a manager, or of management, but a simple one is that a manager is a person in a job that requires him or her to direct and manipulate resource including people in order to achieve specified results. Each organisation however may have its own definition. The first time someone in his / her life becomes a manager is when they are at school and become form captain, captain of a sports team or a prefect.
Once at work, the first level of management is as a supervisor even if this is of limited span of resource or just one subordinate worker. On promotion the supervisor may look after a larger resource or a larger group of people, or may supervise a technical discipline. Finally there is the moving into general management and maybe executive positions.
Management Development MD is the sum effect of Management Education and Management Training, so these two subjects must be defined. Management Education ME normally considered, consists of formal instruction in subjects, disciplines and techniques leading to a greater understanding or appreciation of that topic. ME happens away from work and is thus described as "off the job" training. Management Training MT takes place "on the job". MT purpose is to develop particular skills in order that specified tasks or duties may be performed (better). The routines of management are taught by gathering experience in the job and MT’s purpose is to widen and deepen this experience (faster).
A manager will develop by combining knowledge and experience gained from education and training. At the supervisory level it should enable the individual manager to achieve results with more skill. In the longer term it should enable a manager to see the broad picture rather than that of his own specialism.
Attitudes towards management development started changing in a positive way in the 1950’s, spurred on by rapid scientific and technological advances. Prior to this, talented people had tended to ignore industry and had gone into research, teaching, public service and professions. As industry reacted to the new era, it was realised there was a need for more professional managers whom would use new techniques and would show more initiative and flexibility in their approach; the need was almost certainly there in any case but had not been
By means of scientific and technological advance, particularly in computer technology, organisations, whether profit or non-profit, were affected by a whole range of changes. The economic situation had changed. People had acquired a higher standard of living and wanted an ever higher one. More recently we have seen economic recession and a broad uncertainty about the future. Staff relations have changed as employees demanded a greater say in their businesses. The change from a paternal to a participative style of management has come late to some institutions. Consumers have demanded and obtained greater protection, there institutions have taken on some mighty businesses. Government interferes in production, introducing more controls, more regulations and forcing more openness.
One of the greatest changes that has happened place - and still is taking place - is the change from private and family owned businesses to publicly owned ones, a change that has been caused not just by the industrial climate but also by our tax system. Mergers and diversification have increased the size and complexity of businesses. Companies have reorganised and rationalised their businesses. They have expanded into international markets and, once there, have had to face stiff competition whilst also learning to face such competition at home. Finally, there has been decentralisation which has been a notable problem to many members of our management profession. To some extent, the middle manager of today has taken the place of the owner of yesterday. Now he is the "gaffer" putting employees to work.
From extensive research Professor Bill Reddin has developed a manager behaviour model that derives from eight combinations of these three dimensions of behaviour:
The figure below shows Bill Reddin’s model and demonstrates that the four less effective manager styles are Deserter, Missionary, Autocrat and Compromiser, while the four more effective styles are Bureaucrat, Developer, Benevolent Autocrat and Executive.
Managers who tend to be less effective tend to use a combination of Task and Relationship Orientation in situations where such behaviour is deemed inappropriate; more effective managers use a combination of the same two behavioural dimensions where deemed appropriate.
In brief here follows a description of how each of these manager behavioural styles is seen. It will clarify Bill Reddin’s 3-D Leadership Model:
A manager may change his style when he changes jobs or may have a job with two or more distinct components where he adopts a different style for each. He will respond to various requirement, resource and pressure. For instance, the style adopted for managing a creative group would almost certainly have to be different from that adopted for managing a continuous flow production process.
Attributes and qualities required to be a manager can be broken down into personality, technical expertise and ability to organise. Some attributes and qualities will be God given, some will have been acquired by education and training, and some will remain to be developed. Also there will be some in a particular manager that must be deemed beyond development.
Managers need integrity and consistency. In our time, where often a more open style of management is being adopted, managers are quickly picked on by their staff if there is any hint of hiding something, a lack of complete honesty or any inconsistency in their approach. Intellect, abilities to analyse problems and to take decisions further are attributes required. For example actuaries are thought to be intelligent people but a training based on making various assumptions about the future may lead them to behave indecisively.
There would appear to be an almost universal agreement that a skill in human relations is a most relevant person quality. A manager has a job that is too large for him to do by himself thus he or she needs resource, human resource, to help him accomplish his tasks. While he retains his personal responsibility for these tasks, he directs and motivates the people working for him and endeavours to inspire loyalty in them. At the same time he must show loyalty to them. Specialists, generally, may find human relations difficult. They may tend to focus too much on theory and procedures, lacking the sensitivity necessary to deliver.
If the skill of people manager has not been acquired at school, it needs to be done as soon as a supervisory level is reached.
Communication is another skill that comes under the heading of human relations; that is to say effective speaking, interviewing and listening are important as well as an ability to write clearly and concisely. An ability to chair meetings is another important communications skill.
Underlying these personal qualities is a need to understand the impact of management decisions and actions at others at work. In a wider context managers will need to be able to understand the social and political consequences of their decisions.
Managers must be competent in their own job and understand the policy and practices of their employer. Industrial relations may be thought of as being human relations on a mass scale and reactions will differ from individual reactions. There is a need for managers to show a good understanding of the industrial relations climate. Some insurance industry was probably one of the last bastions of paternal management but now finds staff associations demand and obtain bargaining rights. Industrial relations laws have been brought into force that affect every employee and every manager.
For those in general management, knowledge of economics and statistics is desirable. In addition, an appreciation of ITC and marketing instruments is worthwhile, both of whom can be obtained from post graduation courses. Legal knowledge, particularly that affecting one’s own specialism, is a must, some of it in depth.
Managers must be able to organise their own work and that of others inclusive of the setting of priorities. They must be able to formulate short and long term plans, put these into effect, and maintain control over the results. Various techniques are available and information can be found in management text books. It has become a skill to identify and apply new techniques that will work well in one’s own environment.
The attributes and qualities required when supervising small groups tend to be the same as for general management but need to be more profoundly developed in the latter case.
Where a manager is lacking certain attributes and qualities such must be brought to his attention and steps must be taken to rectify that omission by education or training. A manager’s performance is likely to be appraised at least annually and most large companies probably have a formal system. Even if informal appraisal time is the time to discuss with the manager what needs to be done and how it can be done. It is quite likely that the manager and the employer will soon find their perceptions differ.
A recent survey of financial institutions concluded that they perceived a need above all else to improve their managers’ human relations skills in order that they could work better with and through people.
Secondly, there was a need felt to refine their managers’ technical expertise building on the skills they already had.
Thirdly, they wished to broaden their managers’ perspective so that they would relate better to the economic, social and business context in which they operated.
Financial institutions are well aware that their organisations offer narrow career patterns, many an employee left college or university to climb the ladder of promotion.
Part of the horizon broadening process seen a necessity was for their managers to mingle with those of a similar seniority from industry and government.
Individual managers, while wishing to become a more professional manager, will also see his enhanced development as leading to increased job satisfaction, improved promotion potential or better prospects (whether or not when applying for a position with another employer) and a chance for a salary increase.