. .



Society
Managerial effectiveness

Column
For the record
Profile
Malika Zartaj Baig
Polotics & Polocy
Pak-US relations
New plan for democracy
Financial indiscipline
Science & Technology
Online investing
Fruit fly genome
Cancer detection
Interview
Harvest Group
InformationTechnology
Organizational reforms for E-Commerce
Society
Managerial effectiveness

M. Shafiq - Associate Professor
Asian ManagementInstitute - Iqra
University, Karachi
Apr 03 - 09, 2000

Millions of men and women working in business organizations, industries, government offices and defence establishments around the world fit the definition of 'manager'. They are all trying to accomplish organizational goals working with and through people. Their already demanding jobs are becoming more complex with the onslaught of globalization, IT revolution and quality concerns. Operating at initial, middle or senior management levels, they succeed or fail in their endeavours depending on their managerial effectiveness. Through the quality of this effectiveness, they massively impact their regional economies and quality of life.

The mystique of managerial effectiveness never seems to diminish. Over the years it has consistently attracted the intellectual prowess of more and more management practitioners, thinkers, trainers and writers. The attraction basically stems from the importance, scope and complexity of management in general and managerial effectiveness in particular.

Effectiveness denotes having a definite and desired effect. In the managerial context, it would mean timely achievement of goals. However, the two allied considerations are the efficient deployment of resources and the degree of satisfaction of all those involved. An effective manager is, therefore, one who achieves his goals in time with optimum utilization of resources and maximum generation of motivation and job satisfaction.

Managerial effectiveness is a multi-dimensional concept. A number of factors impinge upon and shape it. These can be broadly divided into organizational conditions and individual manager's competencies based on attitude, skills and behaviour. Organizational culture is the product of its mission, vision, values and management philosophy. To a large extent, it determines and promotes a distinct style of management. Democratic and supportive organizational cultures generally help to increase the effectiveness of managers. The manager's personal knowledge of management, which goes beyond the management functions of planning, organizing, activating and controlling, forms an essential core of competencies.

It is absolutely essential that these select abilities, which are organizational, attitudinal and skill based, be focused for enhancing individual manager's potency. A judicious selection of these core competencies and mastering their application are the sine quo non of effectiveness. Following is a select set of core competencies, which are considered highly relevant for enhancing managerial effectiveness.

Job perspective

To start with, a manager has to have a clear perspective of his job. Why is the manager doing what he/she is doing? How does the job relate to the overall mission of the division, department and that of his organization? What is the significance and importance of the managers' functions and his/her contribution to the overall process chain, operating to produce various goods and services. Who are the managers' internal and external customers? Examining the job from this perspective can enable a manager to pace, realign and improve his priorities and contribution to the achievement of organizational objectives.

Work process

Work process refers to the incremental progression of work under the manager's control. A detailed knowledge of the inter-linking and synchronization of various tasks and sub-processes gives an edge to the manager by enhancing his/her appreciation of critical stages of various activities and determination of logical control points. It also enables the manager to assign priorities, allocate optimum resources and arrange efficient logistics, as well as, anticipate diffficulties. Finally, the manager is in a position to improve productivity and quality by simplifying and improving the work process on a continuous basis.

Giving directions

Effective managers are essentially good communicators. However, even skiful communicators need to pay special attention to the art of giving directions. The important point in this regard is to convey the directions in a language and manner that, is understood by the directee exactly in the way the manager wishes them to be carried out. Any flaw in issuance or understanding of directions has the ominous potential of a colossal waste of resources, including the most precious one i.e. time. In addition it can create confusion, conflict and criticism. The manager should, therefore, take utmost care and ensure elimination of any misunderstanding. Every time directions are issued the manager should ask the directee as to what has been understood. This simple step is an almost foolproof way of ensuring clear communication of directions.

Delegating

Another core competency, which can substantially contribute to the effectiveness of managers, is delegation of authority and work to subordinates. Many a managers do not delegate work because of the unfounded fear that the subordinates might mess it up. This fear must be overcome. A manager has to identify and use the strength of his subordinates through controlled delegation of workload. Appropriate use of delegation relieves the manager of a lot of mundane workload and at the same time, helps in training and developing the skills of the subordinates.

Attitude towards subordinates

Manager is a leader. He/she has to help and support the subordinates in realization of their potential. An attitude of a friend, philosopher and guide laced with compassion and human touch can go a long way in welding a motivated and loyal team. An effective manager always treats his subordinates with respect and dignity.

Being proactive

To be successful, a manager has to be proactive. This involves visualization of possible hurdles in the attainment of goals. These hurdles can be of different nature; for example, these may be problems of resource shortages, human conflicts, delayed approvals and unexpected changes in policies. A proactive manager anticipates such difficulties and events and has his workable contingency plan ready to rollout, when required. A reactive manager only confirms his/her ineffectiveness in such testing situations.

Boss management

Since managers get things done through other people, it is essential for them to excel in people's skills. It must be realized that the utilization of these skills is not to be limited to subordinates and peers only. Rather, these must be applied equally on the boss. After all, irrespective of the reality on the ground, it is the boss of the manager who evaluates, judges and pronounces the manager's effectiveness. It is, therefore, of utmost importance for the manager to cultivate the boss by understanding his approach, style and motives. Since managers do not choose their bosses, sometimes a manager may get stuck with a boss with a negative attitude or a hidden agenda. Even in such a catch, the best option is to discuss the problem with the boss openly and alleviate his/her apprehensions.

The core competencies presented above, which encompass both the manager's quality of work and his/her successful handling of people, form an indomitable framework for managerial effectiveness. Finally, it must be appreciated that managerial effectiveness is a dynamic proposition and essentially entails one's ability and resilience to continuously learn and adapt to change.