The key to a successful organization is said to lie within a good manager. It is in fact the effectiveness of this manager and the qualities that they possess that are vital to the development and preservation of an efficient management system within a corporation. The question remains however, as to whether or not these good managers are born, if they possess qualities that will mould them into fantastic leaders of the future. Or are they made? Is it possible to develop and acquire the necessary skills to become the good manager a successful organization needs?
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It should first be acknowledged that leaders and managers are often referred to assuming they are the exact same thing however, there are some differences that need to be clarified. There is often some confusion due to the fact that it is particularly difficult to define a manager because a universally accepted definition does not exist. According to Tripathi, (2008, p.2) “a manager is one who contributes to the organisation’s goals indirectly by directing the efforts of others-not by performing the task himself”.
Leadership and management are closely interrelated because if you are a manager of an organization, you are in essence the most important leader (Kouzes & Posner 2010, p.338). The most obvious distinction between a leader and a manager lies within what ‘leadership’ refers to. Leadership does not refer to a position at the top of an organization and just because a manager holds that specific position, it does not mean they are leading. Leaders have willing followers where their right to lead is earned from those followers through their influence. They intend to make change using their personal power and cannot use coercion but instead inspire with their vision (Huth 2001). A manager on the other hand, must hold the authority to achieve results through other people whereby their right to manage is granted by ownership. Managers must be in a position of power where they can use coercion and coordinate activities (Huth 2001). However, nobody can deny that one compliments the other. It could appear that based on the above one could quite possible be born a leader but not a manager, although this can also be disputed. Kouzes and Posner (2010, p.339) consider it a myth that the noti
on of leadership is reserved for those lucky enough to be born with it. Leadership is, “an observable set of skills and abilities” (Kouzes & Posner 2010, p.338).
Therefore the query still remains as to whether a good manager can be made; it may just be that a good manager must also be required to possess good leadership skills.
There are surely many corporations that still value the theory that: Good managers are born not made, however the common organizational failures that can be detected within many individual companies suggest that this theory is in fact flawed. Werner and DeSimone (2006, p.441) suggest that management development is a huge way to increase the effectiveness of managers within an organization. Werner and DeSimone (2006, p.441) make a strong point emphasizing that even though according to popular belief the ability to manage is an inborn capability, there is a contemporary view that the KSAOs (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics) which all work to develop an effective manager can be learned or acquired. Nonetheless, before touching on how companies can establish a new found understanding on developing effective management within an organization, the notion of management development must firstly be explained. Werner and DeSimone (2006, p.441) defined management development as:
“An organization’s conscious effort to provide its managers (and potential managers) with opportunities to learn, grow, and change, in hopes of producing over the long term a cadre of managers with the skills necessary to function effectively in that organization.”
The definition above supports the notion that management development should be seen specific to a particular organization. This is due to the fact that each organization is unique and should aim to develop individuals into effective managers within the context of the particular organization. In addition, the entire idea behind management development is the fact that employees are granted the opportunity to learn, grow and improve. Therefore when you refer this back to the ability to further develop ones skills, according to Werner and DeSimone (2006, p.441) it assists managers in “learning how to learn.”
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The authors also indicate that management development is made up of three components: (1) management education, (2) management training, and (3) on-the-job experiences (Werner & DeSimone 2006, p.442). It is these very components that Werner and DeSimone believe strongly contribute to the development of an effective manager. Williamson (2006) concurs that on the job experience is one of the most significant learning curves. According to Williamson (2006) an effective manager is made up of a range of skills that go beyond the misconception that the sole role of a manager is to tell people what to do. Williamson (2006) made a list of characteristics and skills that are necessary for a manager to possess to therefore be effective. Some of these skills and characteristics include; being knowledgeable by understanding the goals and objectives of the company. Understanding the expectations you must meet along with the goals and objectives. Appreciating and understand the value of their team, being empathetic and knowing how to manage their time and use their time efficiently, passing those skills onto their team. All of the above are examples of skills that are gained through training and through experience, in conjunction with the components of Werner and DeSimone. A good manager is required to work hard and pour a lot of effort into his job experience to extract the necessary lessons from each experience, learning and growing.
There is disagreement amongst management writers about the classification of managerial functions however Tripathi (2008, p.3) classifies the functions into six types; Planning, Organising, Directing, Controlling, Innovation and Representation.
Planning is the function that determines what should be done, preparing for the future. Organising refers to providing the business with everything useful to its functioning including, personnel, raw materials, tools, capital. Furthermore Tripathi (2008, p.3) includes ‘staffing’ as a function within Organising whereby the manager attempts to find the right person for each job. Just by taking these two functions as an example it can be noted that life and work experience play a huge part in the development of an effective manager. One cannot be born with the knowledge to understand the needs of an organisation nor can they have the experience to judge a person’s capabilities and allocate them the appropriate job. These capabilities are acquired and developed over time.
There will always be the belief that good managers are born and in fact not made, because they hold the ability to manage which is something innate and cannot be imparted by training.
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