Alastair Gordon shares his secrets.
- How do you define a Manager?
- Management styles.
Functions of a Manager
There are literally hundreds of books, Seminars, Lectures, Courses, theories and ideas about Managers.
Many highly qualified people have conducted studies is a wide variety of industries for many years. These studies have revealed many issues, concerning all aspects of Management. Issues such as control functions, communication, planning, management styles, subordinates’ reactions and needs, motivation etc. There are different ideas and thoughts on the best way to manage. Some are very useful, others outdated and yet others limited to certain industries only.
The common issues are:
- Management is not an exact science
- Management styles need to vary according to the situation and staff.
- Managers have a wide range of tasks to perform.
In this course, reference is made to some studies, other information is obtained from first hand experience and observations made of a number of companies.
There are so many different types of Managers and Management styles. One definition of Manager is that he or she is responsible to achieve certain objectives, in the best interests of his Employer, using resources allocated to him or her.
In a sense, all of us are managers to a greater or lesser degree. We manage our own lives, our budgets, our houses, our kids, if we have any, our wives and girlfriends and so on.
A number of surveys were carried out at different times and in various industries. Employees were asked how they felt about managers and how they saw them. The results were very interesting.
- The Boss, often a mean person.
- A Slave driver.
- The person in charge of you who is often unreasonable.
- A person one can respect.
- A good leader.
- A bad leader.
- The person who makes you work and gets more money than you, for doing less work.
- The person in charge who is running the department.
- Some family member of one of the big bosses.
A person who doesn’t know how to treat his workers.
A puppet operated by senior management.
Someone who you can talk to and who listens.
A clown who seems to be in the position just to make your life a misery.
The one person in the Department who is out to take disciplinary action against anyone who doesn’t “toe the line”.
Someone who can lead you and the section in the best possible way.
Makes promises to keep us quiet and doesn’t keep them.
These were just some of the responses, other were also positive and yet others very negative.
2) How do you define a Manager?
A Manager is a person who has been put in charge of a section or department and is responsible to ensure the smooth, efficient and cost-effective operation of that section or department. (That is the short version!)
The manager has been put in charge and he is responsible for a number of things, such as:
3) Management styles.
There are a number of management styles, which can be applied. As mentioned, Management is not an exact science; so, a good manager may apply different management styles on his staff, depending on the situation and the people he is dealing with.
- Autocratic style
- Democratic style
- Participative style
4) Functions of a Manager
A manager has a number of functions. These are listed below. We will expand on and clarify each function individually.
Only 10 jobs? That’s easy enough!
Let us start, by defining what a Manager, or Supervisor is.
There are a few definitions of a Manager, some good, some bad. One definition is “The Manager is the person who gets work done by others”
This is a fair description, but entails a lot more than just that.
As a Manager/Supervisor, you are expected to manage your Section/Department Cost–effectively and productively.
How do you achieve this?
A Manager’s tasks include:
- Delegation & Empowerment.
What do you have to plan?
- Your workload
- Your staff requirements
What do you have to control?
What Leading to you have to do?
Lead your staff.
Communication is vital for a manager; Communicating via the various means one has to communicate:
- Downwards to subordinates to ensure that they know what is required of them.
- Sideways, to fellow Managers to ensure that they are kept abreast of things, which will affect their sections.
- Upwards to Senior Management to ensure that they are fully aware of what is happening in your Section/Department.
It is the responsibility of the Manager to ensure that each staff member in his/her Department/section receives the necessary training to enable them to function efficiently as well as to develop the staff members.
One train of thought is that a Manager should actually work him/herself out of a job! This would by training the staff to the point where they can function efficiently with minimum supervision.
Training can be done in a few ways:
- Formal Training carried out by Training Department of colleges etc.
- Informal Training.
- “On the Job” practical training.
Delegation & Empowerment:
This is a very important aspect of being a good Manager. A Manager has to delegate duties to his subordinates. This is an area where many companies have problems.
There is a difference between being Responsible and Accountable for things. Workers are responsible for the actual work they do, i.e., to carry out their duties correctly and to the best of their abilities. Likewise, the Manager is responsible to ensure that his/her staff are working efficiently and cost effectively. The Manager is also, however, Accountable for the proper running of his/her Department and various aspects such as ensuring safety requirements are met, Budgets are adhered to etc.
The Manager must therefore be aware of these things when delegating work to staff; one can delegate responsibilities a certain level of authority, but not always Accountabilities.
In many instances Managers are not confident enough in themselves, or their staff to delegate any form of authority or decision making, to staff, preferring to do it all on their own. This can work, provided you are an expert in the field and are working with a crew of ignorant staff members! It will also keep you very busy, running around checking up on everyone’s work!
Get to know your staff, what their capabilities are, how far you can trust or rely on them. Empower them where you can, treat staff with dignity and respect and you will get the most out of your staff.
Motivation is something, which many “Clever” people argue about.
Questions, which are argued about, include:
- “Can you motivate someone?” – Yes
- “Is a person who does nothing, unmotivated?” – Maybe.
- “Is Money a good motivator?” – Yes, but not the best.
What are the answers?
A sense of accomplishment and recognition for doing a good job are the best motivators.
“We had a lot of problems but we really worked hard to the departure out on time and afterwards, the boss came and called us together and read out the email from the airline thanking us for our hard work. I told the family when I got home and they all hugged me.”
A Question that is often debated is “Can anybody be a Manager?”
The short answer is YES. In fact, if you think about it, most, if not all of us are Managers already! We manage our own lives. Plan, control and manage our Budgets, Plan for the future etc. etc.
There are a number of different Management styles, which are used in various circumstances or situations.
- Autocratic or Dictatorial
- “Hands on”
Top 10 “Time Wasters”
Procrastination & Excuses
Don’t put things off. They say, “Procrastination is the Thief of Time” very true. It’s easy to make excuses as to why things haven’t been done, but that is all they are “excuses”, not reasons.
Running Errands & Commuting
Plan tasks properly to minimize running unnecessary errands and unnecessary travelling.
Again, plan properly and manage your time so that it is not necessary to rush around trying to get things done. This is when one forgets to do things, or you don’t do them properly.
Computers, Gadgets & the Internet
These are all designed to make life easier and more efficient, allowing a company to work smarter and more effectively. Remember, the computer must work for you; systems must work for you, not you working for the system. The Internet is an incredible source of information. How many people utilise it correctly and fully? How many of us “abuse” the internet facilities by visiting “non-work” related sites and how long do we spend on these sites?
Telephone, E-mail & Mail
Wonderful communication tools! Do we use them wisely and correctly? “Just a quick call to the wife to say Hi” or I feel like a chat with my buddy, or I must arrange for a family get together. A number of companies don’t mind too much if the occasional personal call is made, within reason, but analyses of Phone bills reveals a large percentage of calls made are a) Personal and b). They take up a lot of time, time which should have been used for company business.
A personal favourite of mine!
- Do we need to have as many meetings as we have?
- Are the meetings structured?
- Do they take longer than is necessary?
- Do they add value to the company?
- How many meaningful decisions are made at meetings?
- Are the right people attending these meetings?
Paperwork, Reports & Memos
Review the paperwork that your company is doing. Is all of it necessary? There are certain legal requirements regarding paperwork, but how much of it can we do without? Reports and memos… What reports are required and by whom? Ensure that anyone who requires a report/s gets what he or she needs, nothing more and nothing less. Even if reports are computer generated, they take time to compile and read. The same applies to memos.
Planning & Decision Making
These aspects are very important in any company’s operations and should be done diligently and accurately in order for a company to prosper. Planning and decision-making can be time consuming. How do you save time with these activities? Simple, involve the right people and set deadlines and goals and adhere to them. Use Effective decision-making models and experience.
Entertainment, Television & Radio
These forms of media are not often used in the workplace, but more in one’s personal life. These can also be a source of time wasting. How many of us sit and watch TV. just because it’s on and not because the programme content is interesting? There is nothing wrong in watching TV. and enjoying some entertainment, but do we enjoy everything we watch? Or could we be doing something more constructive?
Just Say Yes
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think about the consequences of delivering less than expected and missing deadlines. Be honest with people (and yourself) and they will respect you for it. Do NOT accept things that can’t fit into your schedule. At the end of the day, you will have wasted more time trying to do too much in not enough time. When you don’t have the time, or can’t fit something into your schedule simply say “NO”. Prioritise your work according to importance and do it accordingly.