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Factors contributing to effectivness of a leader

This Assignment uses an interdisciplinary approach to critically analyze factors or attributes contributing to Mr. Warren Buffet’s effectiveness as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Additional the author discusses sorts of training and development techniques that increase such attributes in people aspiring to be in such a position.

Last task of the Assignment is to plan an HRD programme to prepare new and aspiring first line supervisors for promotion to management position.

Finally, I will conclude and finish off the Assignment with my personal Recommendation.

Topic 1

Select an individual who you think is an effective manager. What factors or attributes contribute to this person’s effectiveness as a manager? What sort of training and development might increase such attributes in people aspiring to be in a management role? Your task is to plan an HRD programme to prepare new and aspiring first line supervisors for promotion to management positions.

Word limit: 3000 Words

Worth: 30 Marks

Criteria for Assessment:

Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of learning;

Demonstrate an understanding of HRD methodology and practices;

Quality and completeness of response to the topic;

Evidence of appropriate reading and research, including a minimum of five academic resources

Correct presentation, including citation of sources, and clarity of expression;

1. Introduction

1.1 The author is required to select an individual, perceives as being an “effective manager”. The question arising, “who are effective Managers? The key to being effective as a manager is to achieve your targets as efficiently as possible. The first step is to set clear goals. Then you have to allocate all the resources necessary to achieve your goals. Of course, you need to set the right targets in the first place. Efficiency alone won’t make you effective if you achieve targets that are of no interest or value to anyone. [1] 

1.2 But, let’s assume that you have set desirable targets. In this case, the objective is to maximize efficiency and this means making sure that you have the best price you can get for all the material you need to use, you get your budget right and you make the best use of the people required to do the job.

1.3 You can’t really be an effective manager unless you are reasonably well organized. If you are not, you might get the results you want but not make best use of all resources. You might waste too much material, break your budget or not get the best performance out of the people working on your project.

2. Selected Individual: Warren Buffet

2.1 The author decided to choose Warren Buffet, CEO, and the biggest shareholder of the Berkshire Hathaway Company. Buffet’s has an estimated current net worth of approximately $52 billion in US funds. What makes Warren Buffet a good Business Manager? This is what everyone wants to know because Warren buffet is so successful. It all starts with leadership. Warren buffet is a true leader where his leadership makes a difference in the world. Leadership is very much related to change and Warren Buffet has the capabilities of leadership change to fit the changing world. However, the Author’s research proves that effective managers (CEO’s), such as Warren Buffet, have particular attributes contributing to the person’s effectiveness:

a. Verbal and Written Communication Skills:

Warren Buffet is a skilled communicator in all aspects of life. Communication is the real key of Effectiveness. Skilled communicators have an appreciation for positioning in the business world. Warren Buffet is experienced at positioning himself at the right place at the right time. Warren Buffet has the understanding of the people he his trying to reach and what he can and cannot hear from the people. Warren Buffet is an excellent listener with the ability to convey his understanding. When Warren Buffet talks, people listen. Warren Buffet can send a message through an open door and does not have the push the message through a wall. [2] 

b. Leadership:

The author decided to analyze leadership-attributes, inspired and contributed by academic and regular presidential adviser Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, founder and director of the Center of Futures Research at the University of Southern California. In the book, “Leaders: Strategies for Taking Change, the authors used an eclectic selection of U.S leaders to offer key lessons on how to become successful. Their message is that leadership is open to all. [3] In the authors view, the new leader is one who commits people in action, who converts followers into leaders, and who may convert leader into agents of change. Leadership is not rare skill-leaders are made rather than born. They are usually ordinary people, or apparently ordinary, rather than obviously charismatic. Leadership is not solely the preserve those at the top of an organization-it is not about control, direction and manipulation (Benni.2003)

Therefore, Leadership is crucial to any successful business and good leadership is what Warren Buffet is all about. Buffet’s investment strategies and course of leadership are shining examples of characteristics shared by cognitive theorists. Cognitive theory is an approach of explaining behavior through perception, anticipation, and thinking. [4] 

Buffet’s continual approach of analyzing both possible investment choices, market trends, and the ability to place management resources of the right caliber in the right position has consistently brought this investor to the forefront amongst peers and the marketplace.

c. Motivation:

Maslow introduced the concept of a hierarchy of needs which has formed an integral part of management literature ever since. The book, “Motivation and Personality” makes an important contribution to the emergence of human relations as a professional discipline. However, Maslow explains that there is an ascending scale of needs that provides the basis for motivation. Basic physiological needs come first; once these are met; other needs dominate. At the top of the scale is self-actualization, where individuals achieve their personal potential. The hierarchy of needs provides a rational framework for motivation, and human nature determines that motivation is intrinsically linked to rewards. However, Warren Buffet is a great motivator and has proven that in many business projects.

d. Integrity:

Integrity is defined as the degree of personal and managerial honesty and ethics implemented and maintained by the manager. To the author, it’s one of the most important and often “leaking” attributes in today’s business world. In an MBA interview in Kempton, Warren Buffet said: “To me, integrity matters most. Integrity makes successful. So, do what you love. Have integrity.”

e. People Skills:

Yes. The ability tow work effectively on an interpersonal basis makes good managers. Warren Buffet does that by trying to understand and make sense of other people. He observes the differences in social knowledge when dealing with people. Social cognition refers to making sense of ourselves, others, and how the information is used. In the sixties and seventies Albert Bandura and Walter Mischel were psychologists, studying personality development. They found that social learning and cognitive principles “improve ones abilities to self-regulate and to follow goals” [5] . Warren investment choices were successful, because he conditioned his the way he processed information, choices, and expectations.

f. Planning, Organizing and Controlling

According to Peter Drucker, there are five basics of the managerial role these are to:

-set objectives;

-organize;

-motivate and communicate;

-measure;

-develop people. [6] 

The Practice of Management laid the groundwork for many of the developments in management thinking during the 1960s, and is notable for its ideas concerning the tools and techniques of management. Warren Buffet, of course, is using those basic managerial tools to accomplish objectives and goals.

Sub-conclusion:

Above mentioned attributes are making effective managers. Warren Buffet is a good example for every factor contributing to the effectiveness of good Managers. However, a good manager must have certain amount of all factors and attributes, rather than being strong at one particular factor.

3. Training and Development

3.1 People, aspiring to be in a management role yet finding themselves “weak” in particular factors, can take part in certain training and Development courses. Training is defined as the process of learning new knowledge and skills whereby development is an ongoing life long process of learning and growing to become more mature and effective in adapting to a changing environment.

3.1 Red Lobster’s Case study has been a shining example that effective training and development can enhance one’s ability to be more effective in the particular type of business. However, how you analyze training needs depends on whether you’re training new or current employees. The main task in analyzing new employees’ training needs is to determine what the job entails and to break it down into subtasks, each of which you then teach to the new employee. Analyzing current employees’ training needs is more complex, since you have the added task deciding whether training is the solution. [7] 

3.2 Training and Development sorts available:

a.) On-the-job training (OJT)

b.) Apprenticeship Training

c.) Informal Learning

d.) Job Instruction Training

e.) Lectures

f.) Programmed Learning

Note: Of course there are more Training sorts yet the Author decided to pick six training and Development sorts because of the word limitation.

OJT means having a person learn a job by actually doing it. Every employee, from mailroom clerk to CEO, gets on-the-job training when he or she joins a firm.

a.) Types of On-the-Job Training

The most familiar type of on-the-job training is the coaching or understudy method. Here, an experienced worker or the trainee’s supervisor trains the employee. This may involve simply acquiring skills by observing the supervisor, or (preferably) having the supervisor or job expert show the new employee the ropes, step-by-step.

On-the-job Training has several advantages. It is relatively inexpensive; trainees learn while producing; and there is no need for expensive off-site facilities like classrooms or programmed learning devices. The method also facilitates learning, since trainees learn by doing and get quick feedback on their performance. [8] 

b.) Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship programs began in the middle Ages. Apprenticeship training is a process by which people become skilled workers, usually through a combination of formal leaning and long-term on-the-job training. It traditionally involves having the learner-apprentice study under the tutelage of a master craftsperson. Andrew Solomonson and Charles Lance found after steelmaker Dofasco has discovered that many of their employees would be retiring during the next five to 10 years, the company decided to revive its apprenticeship training program. Applicants are prescreened. New recruits then spend about 32 months in an internal training program that emphasizes apprenticeship training, learning various jobs under the tutelage of experience employees. [9] 

c.) Informal Training

Survey from the American Society of Training and Development estimate that as much as 80% of what employees learn on the job they learn not through formal training programs but through informal means, including performing their jobs on a daily basis in collaboration with their colleagues. [10] 

d.) Job Instruction Training

Many jobs consist of a logical sequence of steps and are best taught step-by-step. This step-by-step process is called job instruction training. In order to do that, list all necessary steps in the job, each in proper sequence and show what is to be done, and the key points show how it’s to be done – and why.

e.) Lecturers

Lecturing has several advantages. It is a quick and simple way to present knowledge to large groups of trainees, as when the sales force needs to learn a new product’s features. Donald Michalak and Edwin G. Yager, in “Making the Training Process Work” provided some guidelines for presenting a lecture:

-Don’t start out on the wrong foot. For instance, don’t open with a irrelevant joke or by saying something like, “I really don’t know why I was asked to speak here today”.

- Give your listeners signals. For instance, if you have a list of items, start by saying something like, “There are four reasons why the sales reports are necessary…. The first..”

-Be alert to your audience. Watch body language for negative signals like fidgeting and crossed arms.

-Practice. If possible, rehearse under conditions similar to those under which you will actually giver your presentation. [11] 

f.) Programmed Learning

Whether the medium is a textbook, PC, or the Internet, programmed learning (or programmed instruction) is step-by-step, self-learning methods that consist of three parts:

Presenting questions, facts, or problems to the learner

Allowing the person to respond.

Providing feedback on the accuracy of answers.

Generally, programmed learning presents facts and follow-up questions frame by frame. The learner can then respond, and subsequent frames provide feedback on the accuracy of his or her answers.

According to J.P Muczyk, Programmed learning’s main advantage is that it reduces training time and also facilitates learning because it lets trainees learn at their own pace, provides immediate feedback and reduces the learner’s risk of error. [12] 

4. Preparing new first line supervisor for Management position

4.1 A survey by the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California found that about one-fourth of large U.S businesses appointed managers with no HR experience as their top human management executives. Reasons given include the fact that these people may find it easier to give the firm’s human resource management efforts a more strategic emphasis, and the possibility that they may sometimes be better equipped to integrate the firm’s HR efforts with the rest of the business. [13] 

4.2 Assuming the author is required to prepare new first line supervisor for Management position, I would do the following steps.

a.) First, we need to identify the specific job performance skills needed, and assess the prospective trainee’s skills, and develop specific, measurable knowledge and performance objectives based on any deficiencies.

b.) Second, instructional design, we need to decide and produce the training program content, including workbooks, exercises, and activities. Here, the author would probably use techniques such as on-the-job training and computer-assisted learning.

c.) There may be a third, validation step, in which the bugs are worked out of the training program by presenting it to a small representative audience.

d.) Fourth step is to implement the program, by actually training the targeted employee group (In that case, the first line supervisors)

e.) Fifth is an evaluation step, in which management assess the program’s successes or failures to take corrective actions as needed.

Because the author has high expectations of the new first line supervisors I would plan, additionally, my on-the-job training, inspired by William Berliner and William McLarney, into four steps to ensure highest potential:

Step 1: Prepare the learner

Put the learner at ease

Explain why he or she is being taught.

Create interest; find out what the learner already knows about the job.

Explain the whole job and relate it to some job the worker already knows.

Place the learner as close to the normal working position as possible.

Familiarize the worker with equipment, materials, tools, and trade terms.

Step 2: Present the Operation

1. Explain quantity and quality requirements.

2. Go through the job at the normal work pace.

3. Go through the job at a slow pace several times, explaining each step.

4. Between operations, explain the difficult parts, or those in which errors are likely to be made.

5. Again go through the job at a slow

Step 3: Do a Tryout

Have the learner go through the job several times, slowly, explaining each step to you.

Correct mistakes and, if necessary, do some of the complicated steps the first few times.

Run the job at the normal pace.

Have the learner do the job, gradually building up skill and speed.

As soon as the learner demonstrates ability to do the job, let the work begin, but don’t abandon him or her.

Step 4: Follow up

Designate to whom the learner should go for help.

Gradually decrease supervision, checking work from time.

Correct faulty work patterns before they become a habit. Show why the learned method is supervisor.

Compliment good work. [14] 

5. Conclusion:

5.1 In general, education is mind preparation and is carried out remote from the actual work area, training is the systematic development of the attitude, knowledge, skill pattern required by a person to perform a given task or job adequately and development is the growth of the individual in terms of ability, understanding and awareness.

5.2 Within an organization al three are necessary in order to:

Develop workers to undertake higher-grade tasks;

Provide the conventional training of new and young workers (e.g. as apprentices, clerks, etc.);

Raise efficiency and standards of performance;

Meet legislative requirements (e.g. health and safety);

Inform people (induction training, pre-retirement courses, etc.);

5.3 Designing training is far more than devising courses; it can include activities such as:

Learning from observation of trained workers;

Receiving coaching from seniors;

Discovery as the result of working party, project team membership or attendance at meetings;

Job swaps within and without the organization;

Undertaking planned reading, or follow from the use of self–teaching texts and video tapes;

Learning via involvement in research, report writing and visiting other works or organizations

5.4 So far as group training is concerned in addition to formal courses there are:

Lectures and talks by senior or specialist managers;

Discussion group (conference and meeting) activities;

Briefing by senior staffs;

Role-playing exercises and simulation of actual conditions;

Video and computer teaching activities;

Case studies (and discussion) tests, quizzes, panel 'games', group forums, observation exercises and inspection and reporting techniques

Evaluation of the effectiveness of training is done to ensure that it is cost effective, to identify needs to modify or extend what is being provided, to reveal new needs and redefine priorities and most of all to ensure that the objectives of the training are being met.

6. Recommendation:

Critically analyzing Training and Development I recommend as follows:

6.1 In making judgments about Training and Development, senior managers should question whether efforts expended have produced:

More effective, efficient, flexible employees;

Faster results in making newcomers knowledgeable and effective than would follow from experience;

More effective or efficient use of machinery, equipment and work procedures;

Fewer requirements to implement redundancy (by retraining);

Fewer accidents both personal and to property;

Improvements in the qualifications of staff and their ability to take on tougher roles;

Better employee loyalty to the organization with more willingness to innovate and accept change.

If not, take corrective actions. (You might use the wrong training/development technique)

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