Driving along the busy streets of the metro, more often than not, I would always be set astonished on gigantic billboards of successful and booming companies that ply the skyline of the city. It's just like cruising along the avenue of success where multinational companies such as Coke, Levis Strauss, Motorola, McDonalds amongst others, give full command on everyone's attention signifying their commercial conquest on our everyday lives. As I stare at these endless displays of victor, I wondered and asked myself, how do these big companies achieved such greatness in their field of business? What could be the essential factor that these companies have in common to reach such pinnacle? Who may be the one responsible for their triumph over the challenges of the 21st century?
As I read and browsed over the Internet, I would usually encounter success stories, of how something small could be a start of something big. How a small backyard business turns out to be the big news of the business world in the new century. Behind these chronicles of glory are individuals committed to perfect and master their craft in order to attain the triumph that their company deserves; nevertheless, it is what is expected of them. They formulate strategies and create innovations to move forward in competing with corporate adversaries in the same industry. They lead their people with knowledge and wisdom and promote team building amongst their subordinates. They manage and supervise each minute, detail in operations, production and resource acquisitions. They are the top executives of the company; the company managers and they are responsible for success of these big businesses.
What does it take to be an effective manager? Does it come from character or the knowledge they possess from formal education? Does grass root experience from their field of profession affects how they handle and lead people under them? Is it a trait of wisdom or practical skill? What are the essential skills needed to be the better manager? In this paper, I will try to critically analyze and fuse acquired information on how to become the better manager. This paper will try to resolve issues and topics derived from different works, articles and references on the much-needed skills of managers in the present generation.
Management Function and Skills; A Necessity
Many articles and works have been written and chronicled when it comes to the needed skills in management. The growth and success of any endeavor in business is being based and gauged through the skills of these managers. The terms and the future of their companies rest in their hands. Indeed, these top executives could really make or break a company.
Management, most of the time is being associated with leadership; the manager's ability to lead a group of people in completing a task or assignment. Others would define a true manager through his possessed wisdom and knowledge may it be acquired through formal education or from the vast experience in management.
A newsletter posted online classifies management into styles. According to these article, Linking Personality with Management Style;
Several of our newsletter topics have discussed the relationships between a person's personality and their management style ... we talked about 3 types of people: people-oriented, things-oriented and idea-oriented.
"People-oriented" people tend to have more team-oriented management styles. This would involve their skills in leadership of group of people. The manager is at ease in working with a group or a team to reach their goals. An online article suggests that,
People-oriented people are most comfortable when they are teaching, coaching, helping, communicating, advising, persuading, motivating, entertaining, guiding, leading, selling, inspiring
The leadership trait and skill of a manager is thus vague in meaning and depth. According to the renowned author, Peter Drucker, in his book The Essential Drucker, he notes that;
Leadership has little to do with leadership qualities and even less to do with charisma. Leadership is a means that is mundane, unromantic and boring. Its essence is performance (pg. 268) ... The key characteristics of leadership are hard work, clear and legitimate goals, responsibility, trust and integrity (pg. 269-271).
Thus this skill, as defined by Peter Drucker, is inert in character. Such qualities aspired by most of the top managers are specific in their goals and to achieve it responsibly.
Another classification of management style according to the online newsletter is the things-oriented people. They tend to have more process-oriented management styles. As a source indicates,
Things-oriented people are most comfortable with physical dexterity, building, constructing, modeling, remodeling, growing plants, manufacturing, refinishing, restoring, working with tools or instruments.
These skills imply the knack of knowledge and depth of information that the manager is unperturbed. He is more adept in working with instruments of processing products through management.
Many of the leading manufacturers of known products require the presence of managers with these necessary skills. They usually handle production and supervise operations of a specific plant or factory. These skills would be much of use to managers proficient in handling people than in terms of production and operation. Drucker expounds also in these learning as;
Each manager should have the information he needs to measure his own performance and should receive it soon enough to make any necessary changes. (pg. 121-122)
The third type of individual stated by the article is the idea-oriented people. They tend to have more innovation-oriented management styles. As it states;
Idea-oriented people are most comfortable working with ideas, information and data in activities such as: compiling, researching, computing, accounting, working with statistics, computer programming, drawing, painting, problem solving, analyzing, classifying, keeping records, evaluating, appraising, planning, imagining, inventing, creating, gathering information through observation.
Innovation is an important key factor in modern day business management. This very eminent skill requires keen observation and mind processing ideas, which could be an important asset in a manager handling a specific task in a multinational company. Drucker also defines innovation in his book as;
"Innovation is the effort to create purposeful focused change in an enterprise's economic or social potential."
In an article in Wharton School Publishing, The Innovation Imperative: Driving Long-Term Growth in Top and Bottom By Tony Davila, Marc Epstein and Robert Shelton, quotes James M. Kilts, then chairman and CEO of The Gillette Company (currently co-chairman of P& G. after the acquisition of Gillette) summing up innovation in his statement this way;
"We created a simple vision two years ago: Build total brand value by innovating to deliver consumer value and customer leadership faster, better, and more completely than our competition."
He also observed:
"You need to encourage risk-taking. One of the themes in our company is to remember that the opposite of success is not failure but inertia."
According to this 5-part article, innovation can redefine an industry by means of the ideas coming from top executives and managers of a given company. These entails the skills of decision making and the guts of a manager to evaluate, suggest and make critical assessment and careful planning on changes. To survive and grow requires the ability to systematically innovate and deliver new products and ideas.
The last amongst the skills and character required to become a better manager is the will, the will to pursue company policies on tract and by the book or to his best judgment; the will to clearly understand the both the needs of his company and its employees; the will to be a smart manager and learn through the experiences the job imparts in you; willfully correct what is wrong in each mistakes in order to improve oneself. In a maxim in the book of Frank McNair, "It's Okay to Ask'em to Work" he asserts;
"Ignoring poor performance is the same as applauding it."
Summing every detail with regards to the functions and skills a manager is…