WHAT GREAT MANAGERS DO
According to Marcus Buckingham in
his article in the Harvard Business review, a typical manager perceives
employees as worker who fulfil roles. But an excellent manager regards
employees as individuals to build roles around. Exceptional managers perform
their magic by finding, encouraging, and praising what is unique about each person
that works for them.
Although there are as numerous
management styles as there are managers, one quality distinguishes great
managers from the rest: they learn what’s so special about each person that
works for them and then focus on it. They discover what is unique about each
person and then capitalize on it . . . Great managers know and value the unique
abilities and even the peculiarities of their employees, and learn how best to
incorporate them into a harmonised plan of execution. Recognising and take
advantage of each person’s unique capacity is formidable tool.
It saves the organisation time in
the identifying and capitalising on each person’s uniqueness is a powerful tool
because it saves time in the allocation of roles and makes each person more
responsible. It also builds a stronger sense of team by reinforcing cooperation
and interdependency. It introduces a healthy degree of disruption by shuffling
existing hierarchies and existing assumptions about who can do what.
Managers need to know to gather
what they know about each person and put their eccentricities to use. To manage
people well, manager need to learn each person’s strength and what can trigger
these strengths. Excellent managers work around each person style without
trying to alter them. Most differences in character and talent permanent and
resist change. Great managers know that their most important asset is time and
they know that they can make optimal use of their time if they identify
everyone one’s peculiarity and how to fit them in the big plan. To manage
people well, this demands that the manager knows: ‘their strengths’.
Management of differences
Nevertheless, according to John
Stewart Mill in his book (Management for the Public Domain, 1994), the concept
that managing the public sector as the private sector is a misconception of our
time. There are major differences in the management of each sector depending on
the tasks to be undertaken and their context. The good manager will be
one who recognises the need to relate their management style and approach to
context and task, and this is as important in the public sector as in the
private sector. Good example of management of difference can be observed at
local government, where the difference of services is as such that different
services are managed in different ways. Steward argues that many of the
prevailing management styles promoted for local government assume a uniformity
of approach which promises to ignore difference. The assumption that
non-specific type of management for all situations can be deceptive as it
conceals the need for the hard analysis of the nature of task and context.
Task 2 (Evidence for LO 2.2)
There are many ways of achieving
the position of project manager within an organisation; working up through the
ranks, cumulative experience, being in the right place at right time, no one
else available and so on. However, as projects grow in size, complexity and
prestige, client organisations are themselves becoming more sophisticated and
so ensuring that the right individual fits properly into the organisation
becomes a priority. Explain the type of training available, the
educational standards required and the occupational standards demanded of a
project manager that organisations such as Tidal Lagoon Power would be
Mullins, Laurie J. 2010, Management and Organisational
Behaviour, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.
Approaches to management development
Management development should be
interpreted as series of related activities instead of an all-inclusive programme.
The inclusion of the word ‘programme’ to describe the process suggests too much
of a cold approach. It is important to start from an understanding of how
managers learn, as considered below.
This does not imply that some
systematic is not necessary; first, because many managers must operate in
routine situations and must be developed accordingly, and secondly, because
organizations will not continue to thrive if they simply react to events.
But it does also not mean that some
systematisation is not needed as many managers work in routine situation and
must develop accordingly. Secondly organisations will have hard time to develop
if they constantly react to every event.
Thoughtful consideration must be
given to approaches that can be used to assess existing managerial resources
and to develop managers to meet the need of the organisation.
Plans must be drawn for the
development of these resources by opting for the best method available.
Although this should not be considered as a ‘programme’ composed of complete,
highly integrated, and strictly applied range of management training and
development techniques. The management development activities needed are
subject to the organisation’s technology, environment, and its philosophy. A
traditional bureaucratic mechanistic type of organization may be inclined to
adopt the programmed routine approach, complete with a wide range of courses,
inventories, replacement charts, career plans and results-orientated review
An old-style bureaucratic systematic
type of organisation may opt for the programmed routine approach. With many
courses, inventories, replacement charts, career plans and results-orientated
In contrast an innovative and
organic type of organisation may justifiably get rid of all these mechanisms.
Its method would be to offer its managers with the chances, challenges,
and guidance they need. Taking this opportunity to give people extra
responsibilities, and ensuring that they receive the coaching and encouragement
Although there would not be any
replacement charts, inventories, or formal appraisal schemes, but employees
would be aware of what their objectives and how to achieve them. In this type
of organic and learning organisation, the role of formal training is reduced
and is much less than the old-style organisation.
As Hirsh and Carter (2002)
emphasize: managers still need to learn and management training needs to be
delivered in more flexible and be incorporated in the busy lives of managers.
The development of interpersonal and leadership skills is a high priority and
not easily achieved through conventional formal training.
How managers learn
It has often been suggested that
managers learn to manage by managing, alluding that ‘experience is the best
teacher’. This has largely been proven true, but it’s also true that some
employees learn much better than others.
People have different abilities;
some managers may just be naturally more capable or exceedingly more motivated
than others. Some may have had the luck to work with an effective boss who his
aware his or her responsibilities for developing managers.
The above quote can have extended
to include that ‘managers learn to manage by managing under the guidance of a
good manager’. Some managers are more talented at developing people than
others. One of the goals of management development is to get all managers to
realise that developing their staff is a significant element of their job.
It is of equal importance for
senior managers not to neglect the development of their staff by believing that
people do not learn because they are not that way inclined, and to leave it at
that. This could amount to the neglect of their key responsibility to enhance
the performance of the organisation. Senior managers must therefore strive to
improve the success and potential of their managers. To claim that managers
learn best ‘on the job’ must not lead us to conclude that managers are best
completely left their own devices or that management development should be a
The organisation should develop a
philosophy of management development which warrants that regular and thoughtful
interventions are made to enhance managerial learning. Although Revans (1989)
emphasis on taking management development back into the reality of management
and out of the classroom atmosphere, he recognises the importance of the
learning process through ‘action learning’ are necessary.
The three basic approaches to
management development are:
1. Learning through work;
2. Formal training; and
3. Feedback, facilitation, and
These can be achieved through both
formal and informal means. (Please see appendices)
Armstrong, Michael, 2006, Handbook
of Human Resource Management Practice, Kogan Page
Task 3 (Evidence for LO 3.1)
Working as a project manager for
Andritz Hydro would be different in some ways to working as a project manager
for Alun Griffiths Ltd; difference in company culture would be one reason.
However, the role of project manager would be essentially the same within each
organisation. Explain the duties and responsibilities of project
managers in construction projects.
THE WORK OF A MANAGER
These differences do not just exist
between organisations in the private and public sectors; they are often more a
matter of degree. For example, many large business organisations may have more
in common in their management and operations with public sector organisations
than with small private firms.
In spite, of the parallels in the
wide-ranging activities of management, the jobs of individual managers will
differ extensively. The work of managers is diverse and patchy. Factors
influence the work of managers such as: The nature of the organisation, its
culture, philosophy, size, objectives, activities, tasks, employees,
technology, and the level in the organisation that the manager is working.
External factor may also influence the work must perform. These differences do
not just exist between organisations in the private and public sectors; they
are often more a matter of degree. For example, many large business
organisations may have more in common in their management and operations with
public sector organisations than with small private firms.
The environmental setting
An important factor that influences
the work of the manager is the nature of the environment, both internal and
external, in which the manager is working. Managers must implement their jobs
in the situation in which they find themselves (see Figure 2)