To understand today’s leaders, or managers, we need to have a view of some of the things they do, as well as to understand the context within which they operate. We need to understand their responsibilities and the circumstances in which those responsibilities are handled. The managers handle challenging responsibilities under difficult circumstances.
From leading meetings, delegating, public speaking, communicating with employees, developing an understudy, running performance appraisals, to the discipline and termination of problem employees; these are just of the few of the responsibilities of managers.
First, in regards to leading meetings, the manager’s role is to ‘direct communication traffic’ and not act as a dictator. The manager must ensure people have their say, but at the same time, must ensure that certain members don’t monopolize all of the time.
Second, in regards to delegation, the manager provides the employee a task to do. This process makes the organization more effective, as it allows the employee to gain new skills, while freeing up the time for the manager to focus on other aspects of leadership.
Third, in regards to public speaking, it is an important skill that could be of great benefit to any manager’s career. Unfortunately, managers run away from this very important task. This is because they are often unprepared to speak publicly, and come off as dull and lacking of talent when they do speak publicly.
Fourth, in regards to the secondary communication network, this is the alternative communication method to the formal method, which involves gossip and speculation. Managers should attempt to control the communication by communicating regularly, and then this network won’t take over and misinform the company’s employees.
Fifth, in regards to the understudy, it involves preparing someone else to be able to do the manager’s role, therefore, allowing the manager to be promoted to the next level up. Sometimes managers aren’t promoted, because they haven’t prepared an understudy, meaning that the promotion of that manager would create an operational void.
Sixth, in regards to performance appraisals, there are two main ways to do this; informally, or formally. An informal appraisal can simply be a comment, such as “you do great work”, whereas a formal performance appraisal is more complicated, involving an interview and a full written report.
Seventh, in regards to discipline and termination of problem employees, the manager must focus on three main areas; marginal performance, workplace misconduct, and workplace aggression. These behaviours will require discipline or termination. Discipline can be light handed or heavy-handed, too light and it may encourage continuing offenses, and too heavy, and this may be costly to the organization which may need to retrain others. And finally, if the employees are consistent in their misbehaviour and underperforming, they will need to be terminated.
It should be obvious that managers do a lot, and for this reason, are subject to much stress. Besides such tasks, there are circumstances, which the manager must deal with. These circumstances all have an effect on the management job role. So what ideas are part of this role. The ideas include; freedom, powerlessness, insecurity, trust, conflict and respect.
Lets take a look at freedom.. Most people would like to be managers because they suspect that there is a lot of freedom that comes with that position. However, this is untrue. Most managers are in the middle of a hierarchy, subject to rules, regulations and obligations. Many managers feel powerlessness, especially when faced with modern leadership structures such as collective leadership.
Let’s take a look at insecurity. Many managers feel insecurity, because they are faced with having to make high-risk decisions.
What about trust? Many managers can’t achieve trust, because they must maintain their distance as a result of being a public figure. When it comes to conflict, managers must solve other people’s conflict.
When it comes to respect, many receive less respect from a new generation, which has a disdain for authority.
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