Definition and Functions of a Manager

Most managers consist of five functions:

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Leading
  4. Controlling
  5. Coordinating

With these important functions in mind, the definition of a manager could very well be: The high level mental and communication activity of the indirect goal oriented control of the domain of interest using autonomous execution and information units. In simpler terms, a manager is one who gets things done through people.

Skills of an Effective Manager

Management skills are based on leadership behavior. Skills alone do not make leaders, style and behavior do. Even if leadership is different to management. Leadership relies on management skills, but as well on qualities such as integrity, honesty, courage, commitment, sincerity, passion, confidence, determination, compassion and sensitivity. It is crucial to understand the impact of leader's behavior on the followers and the organization.

Basic Manager Skills:

  • Self reflection

  • Learning from experience

  • Listening

  • Communication

  • Providing constructive feedback

  • Stress management

  • Social competence (with superiors, peers, subordinates)

  • Setting goals

  • Intelligence

Advanced Manager Skills:

  • Delegating

  • Presentation

  • Concern for others

  • Team building

  • Coaching

  • Empowerment

  • Managing conflict

  • Negotiations

  • Problem analysis

  • Problem solving

  • Improving creativity

  • Diagnosing performance problems in individuals, groups and organizations

  • Strategic thinking

  • Credibility

Steps in the Decision Making Process

The act of decision making involves four steps:

  1. Identifying the problem or opportunity. This involves accurate identification of the problem. A positive problem should be viewed as an opportunity.

  2. Generating viable alternatives. One of the chief options here involves Brainstorming. Group discussions encourage all participants to come up with new ideas.

  3. Selecting an alternative. Reaching a final decision is often influenced by a number of considerations. Managers must select the alternative that is most practical and effective.

  4. Implementation and Evaluation of the Solution. This requires time, planning and preparation. The final step entails evaluating the effectiveness of a decision.

Forms of Management Structures

There are different forms of management and organizational structures. Listed below are several different examples:

  1. Bureaucratic Structure.

  2. Matrix Structure.

  3. Cluster Structure.

  4. Network Structure.

Motivation and Employee's Role

Motivation is that internal process that directs, sustains and energizes behavior. The employee plays an important function within his or her work environment. An employee's attitude and feelings about the job relate to the overall performance of goals of the company. Often times, high turnover can lead to low employee morale, whereas high morale, in turn, leads to dedication and loyalty, which can increase performance. Therefore morale, motivation and employee satisfaction are all intertwined.

Behavior Management

Behavior management involves a systematic program of reinforcement to encourage a desired behavior. Involving both rewards and punishment, studies have shown that encouragement such as compliments are more effective than reprimands.

Two Key Points Learned on Management and Employee Morale, including Reflection

Concerning employee morale I have learned several key points. First, the greater the discrepancy between work performed and wages earned, lead directly to low employee morale. I have been in situations before where I saw that certain people were performing a very high level of work, sometimes exceeding the level of work performed by managers, while being compensated far less. This I have witnessed lead to very low employee morale. Greater wages for those not considered managers would go along ways towards greater employee morale. I have also witnessed Presidents and Managers of companies who received high compensations while performing very little work and only working part time because of cutting back on hours, while loading up their work requirements on other employees. This is a quick way to dramatically lower employee morale. I have learned through many years of experience that a good manager will lead be example, thereby gaining the trust and confidence of his or her employees. It is something earned, not expected. Not by skipping out of work and shifting their responsibilities onto other employees. This key point applies to managers and employees because its impact is significant. It is an amazing observation I have learned, however, that often very hard working employees will leave a company while very poor managers continue to get rewarded and stay with the company. I think the attitude in some companies is that managers can do no wrong, and the common employee, no matter how good he or she is performing at their job, is expendable. I think the same business principle should apply towards management at all levels equally as it does the common employee. I have seen firsthand, where even the President of a Company, receiving a six figure salary, only routinely worked 20 to 25 hours a week, pushed all of his difficult and time consuming work onto his Assistants, and then turned in the completed work to get recognition and credit for the work at the end of the week, after his assistants just worked 55 to 60 hours to complete everything, while earning only a small fraction of his salary. I believe many companies are in financial trouble today, not because their common employee is earning too much. On the contrary, I believe company cutbacks should start at the top, and end up at the bottom. In reality it doesn't happen this way, however, in reality many companies are either on the brink of financial disaster or are dangerously close to it. Recently I have noticed a trend that is bucking the old corporate model. It is these younger companies, often led by younger owners and managers, which effectively use wise employee empowerment techniques and more effective manager training, that result in a more productive company that retains qualified personnel on all levels. It is these types of innovative companies that will succeed into the future.

If you ever become a manager of anything including; a grocery store, a restaurant or a clothing store it is important to remember the information that you have read. Remember to treat the people that are working under you, with the same respect that you would want. So many employees these days want to treat the people that are working for them at a lower level and with less respect than they deserve. If you become one of the like able managers at your workplace, you will gain more friends which may definitely help you in the future.