A Management Aptitude Self-Analysis is a great for managers to identify their managerial talents, skills and abilities as well the areas in which there is room for improvement. This Management Aptitude Questionnaire provided me with my strengths and areas of for development as a manager. The goal of any manager is to be strong in all three skilled areas evaluated. The lower of the scores should be the area of concentration for development so that each skill area can be strong. I was able to recognize my abilities and deficiencies in the three areas including conceptual skills, human skills and technical skills. I hope to use the results of this evaluation to make sure I am aware of my weaknesses so that they do not hinder my success.
Conceptual skills are the "cognitive ability to see the organization as a whole and the relationships among its parts" (Daft, 2012, p. 10). These skills involve knowing how to think strategically and always consider the big picture of the organization, industry, community, etc. Conceptual skills are most important for managers leading at the top of organizations who must consider a comprehensive perspective in all of the decision-making they engage in. My score in this skill set was 21 out of 30.
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My score in the conceptual skills category shows that I have an understanding of my place within the entire organization and industry and the effects of decision making on all areas of the company. This skill set was not my highest scoring category and not my lowest. A score of 21 shows that I am aware of my action affecting others in the organization but demonstrate that I am not 100 percent confident in making those decisions or always considering the influences the decisions will have on the company as a whole. As a manager, I feel that I am able to recognize that the outcome of a project will have bigger implications than just what occurs at my store. For instance, if a
shipment is not processed before a busy day than not only do our stores sales suffer but also the districts, regions, and company's sales. Not only am I missing my sales targets as a store manager and missing my bonus, I am causing my District Manager and Regional Managers to miss also their targets. All of these ramifications are because I, the Store Manager, could not properly delegate a project and adequately see it through to completion.
Conceptual skills are often found in administrative principles and are necessary in systems thinking because the concept deals with "distinct elements of a system or situation and the complex and changing interaction among those elements" (Daft, 2012, p. 47). Therefore, during systems thinking a manager must be cognizant of the big picture and how each element will be effected during the decision making process. Fully comprehending synergy is also an important part of the conceptual skills set. Keeping synergy at the forefront of my thought process is one way in which I further develop my conceptual skills. Advancing my conceptual skills will help me progress my career towards becoming an executive manager.
Human skills are "the manager's ability to work with and through other people and to work effectively as a group" (Daft, 2012, p.11). Human skills are demonstrated daily my managerial activities including motivating, coordinating, leading, and communicating. It is these skills that enable the manager to be able to relate to employees, gain respect and get the employees to share the managers vision. It is very difficult for a manager to accomplish goals and objectives with a team that does not
respect them or believe in the same mission and strategies for completion. These skills are an essential to managers who work a team of employees on a daily basis (Daft, 2012).
In the section of this analysis assessing Human Skills I scored a 24 out of 30. This was my highest scoring section. Being a middle manager myself, a high score in this area is common. I definitely relate well with employees and make it a priority to communicate with them effectively. Successful communication will foster a relationship between managers and employees conducive of motivated, high performing teams. An aspect of communication that is essential to leadership is showing employee appreciation and believing in employees that they will strive to do their best. Clearly defining objectives and giving positive/negative feedback in a horizontal communicative way, sets the stage for employees to believe the mission. As a manager, I make it a priority to give positive feedback to each employee every shift so that they realize how much I appreciate them and their contribution to our team. At the same time, I strive to coach my team weekly on their areas of developments so that they develop the skill set to succeed.
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I, therefore, consider myself a Theory Y manager because I believe that employees will be self-motivated to reach company goals because of the relationship we have developed of mutual trust and respect. I believe that my team is capable of reaching a high degree of ingenuity to solve organizational problems. Due to my high score in the human skills set, I believe that my management style is very humanistic. I
believe in facilitating my employees and empowering them to reach their goals and objective, as did Mark Parker Follett (Daft, 2012).
Although I had a high score in this area, I still have room for improvement. I would like to enhance my understanding of organization development. Broadening my scope of management to include some elements from the behavioral sciences approach would improve my relationships with all organizational members. This improvement would help me better handle change within the company and to better foster critical thinking and problem solving abilities.
The third category evaluated during the analysis was technical skills. Technical skills involve "the understanding if and proficiency in the performance of specific tasks" (Daft, 2012, p.11). Technical skills are most important for front-line managers and become less important as managers move up to middle and executive management positions. The reason for this being that front line managers are responsible for assisting and managing individual employees performance (Daft, 2012). In order for a front-line manager to be successful at delegating managing the day to day process of a company, that manager has to be have a full understanding of how to complete the process, how the process works, and how to be the most efficient and effective in completing the process.
This category was my lowest scoring category resulting in 15 out of 30. I have not been a front-line manager in over ten years and forget the exact steps and functions of processes. Specific or technical information of the process are no longer vital to
accomplishing the 'big picture' or overall objectives of the organization. I have a basic understanding of all the processes that happen within my store but the specifics of receiving shipments, merchandising, and inventory management are the responsibility of the department supervisors.
I realize that this is my biggest challenge as a store manager because sometimes I fail to realize the details that go into such processes mentioned above. At times, I will set unrealistic expectations and given shortened timeframes because I forget how involved the processes can become. In my managerial career, I would like to be able to raise this score so that I would have a better understanding of the daily operations of the store. As I previously mentioned, I am highly in favor of distinguished interpersonal skills. I believe that I would better relate to my team if I had a more comprehensive understanding of their daily duties and responsibilities. Knowing that this is an area of development in my managerial skill set, I plan to make it a priority to increase this managerial competency.
The management aptitude analysis gave me a more clear conception of my management abilities. I am now confident that strengths in human skills would help me with human resource management (HRM) for an organization. Although, I am not currently involved with my HRM department, I believe that my humanistic skill set would allow me excel in that area within my own store with performance evaluations, communicating new initiatives, disciplinary action, coaching and offering appreciation.
Moreover, should an opportunity arise directly with our HRM department I think that my skill set would give me a competitive opportunity at the position.
With the help of this analysis, I was able to indentify my weaknesses in the technical skills section. A weakness such as this could cause me not to be able to relate to me or vise versa. Being aware of this will help me to strive to always have an understanding of the daily operations and not become out of touch with daily functions, routines, tasks and goals. Out of touch with employees causes miscommunication and poor interpersonal skills, both of which are the two biggest reasons for managerial failure (Daft, 2012).
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Lastly, I have learned to be always conscious of the Hawthorne effect. Although, the Hawthorne Effect usually generates positive performance results it could also back fire. Becoming too close with the employees on my team could create a problem. The Hawthorne Effect shows that subjects behaved differently by being too close or too active in the participation with the researcher (manager) (Daft, 2012). I believe that there is a fine line between relating and communicating well with employees and becoming too friendly where the team loses respect for the manager. The team now views that manager as a pushover whom then no longer have to respect and are longer are motivated to perform well. If the manager becomes too closely involved with the employees then the manager is walking a dangerous slope and the efforts of trying to relate to the team have backfired.
In conclusion, my managerial aptitude analysis showed that I scored 24 out of 30 in human skills, 21 out of 30 in conceptual skills, and 15 out of 30 in technical skills. I believe that my highest scoring skill set, the human skill set, is the most important competency needed to be an effective manager in today's society. Without interpersonal skills, objectives are not clear, goals are not clearly defined, employee's expectations of management are skewed and visions are not properly conveyed. Being able to communicate effectively will make or break a manager when faced with challenges of the 21st century.