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Politics & Policy


Company Profile  IGI PAKISTAN Ltd




The performance of individual managers is vital to the success of an organization

Associate Professor
AMI-Iqra University
Oct 29 - Nov 04, 2001

In this era of globalization, the nations whose industrial and business organizations are managed effectively and efficiently dominate the world. Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission in his article entitled 'Challenges of Knowledge Economy' (daily Dawn, May 25, 2001), has referred to Michael Porter who has gone as far as to suggest "that it is incorrect to ask why certain nations succeed while others fail. It is not a nation, but its firms, companies and industries that really compete in international market place. Therefore the question is why in a particular nation firms are able to create and sustain competitive advantage against the world's best in a particular field?"

A nation thus draws its strength, influence and prestige in the international business arena on the basis of how well its organizations are managed. If we include the management performance of public organizations to Porter's penetrating observation, the issue of organizational performance assumes critical importance. It should be noted that the penalty for low organizational performance is very high. This maybe appreciated from the fact that out of the first list of Fortune 500 companies published in 1954 two-thirds do not make it anymore.

The next logical question is as to who manages all these organizations all over the world? Obviously, it is the managerial class at various levels who in one way or the other contribute to the development of various strategies, policies and processes and implement the same. The performance of individual managers at various levels therefore is vital to the success of an organization. What then determines the performance of individual managers? This is a complex question, which has been intriguing the minds of most management students, writers and practitioners.

Peter Drucker was the first to seriously focus on this point in his first of the many great books entitled 'Effective Executive' published in early sixties. Since then the importance and popularity of the query has been increasing at an exponential rate over the years. This development has been responsible for the creation of the new genre of management literature emphasizing personal and managerial improvement. Writers in the USA have been leading this trend. One Minute Manager series, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the new best seller entitled Who Moved My Cheese? are some of the prominent examples of this literature.

In view of its tremendous importance, the issue of enhancing managerial performance has been a perennial challenge for all concerned in the leading organizations of the world. Each organization develops its own response for maintaining its competitive edge through managerial excellence. It is a bit unnerving to note the casual disregard to the quality of performance of individual managers in various private and public organizations, despite its enormous impact on their success. This is exhibited by the lack of appreciation for the need of training and development of the managers to enhance their contribution to the success of organization, particularly in the developing countries.

Essential Requirements

Essential managerial skills and qualities are many and varied. A suggested spread of these essential requirements is specified in the three broad areas as under:

Managerial Skills: Planning, Organizing, Leading, Controlling, Communication, Conceptual Abilities, Decision Making, Delegation, Resource Economy, Strategic Thinking, Time Management and Quality Consciousness

People Management: Empathy, Humanistic Values, Leadership, Motivation and Networking

Readiness To Change: Acquiring new Knowledge & skills, Adapting, Improving and Proactive Thinking

The above listing may seem formidable. But a close look will justify the need for all the skills and attitudes for giving a first rate managerial performance. Also the mix of these requirements will differ depending on the hierarchical position of the manager.


All managers are required to achieve certain goals with the given resources, limitations and situations. All of them initiate, activate and energize the required management processes in their individual styles, based on their understanding of the managerial skills, peoples management, readiness to change, priorities, communication abilities, motivating powers etc. Based on the interplay of these factors, they achieve varied levels of success.

Ordinary managers achieve goals without any distinction and qualify to continue as managers. Others achieve their goals very efficiently and also succeed to generate a fair amount of job satisfaction among their subordinates. These can be classed as excellent or super managers. Rarely one encounters a manager who is effective and efficient and also genuinely believes in humanistic values. These are the real managers who are precious asset for the organizations they serve.

Work environments

Managers, Super managers and real managers referred above create distinct work environment through their different styles which is a product of their knowledge and proficiency in managerial skills, attitude towards human beings particularly to their subordinates and behavior patterns exhibited under various degrees of stress. Their classification into a manager, super manager and a real manager depends on the quality of their performance in the three broad areas of essential requirements.

The following table is an attempt to differentiate among Managers, Super managers and Real managers, based on their performance in the three broad areas of essential requirements comprising various skills, attitudes and behaviour patterns.




Managerial Skills

People Management

Readiness To Change






High Average

Average to High Average



High Average to Outstanding



The performance of a Manager in all the specified areas is usually average and below average as shown in the table above. They barely manage to achieve their goals. The work environment created by their style and practice is drab, inflexible, repressive, dubious and prejudiced. The people work for them because they have to. They obey but do not respect. A Super manager's performance is mostly high average particularly in the area of managerial skills. They are mostly effective and resource efficient. They usually meet schedule limitations and budget criteria and are adept in networking especially outside their departments and organizations. Their performance in people's management and their readiness to change and adapt are however average. Super managers are mostly benevolent autocrats. They listen or pretend to listen to their subordinates patiently but make all decisions themselves. The work environment created by the Super managers is productive but psychologically deficient. Their subordinates do not feel valued and respected. They do not feel repressed but neither are they fully comfortable.

On the top are Real managers. Their knowledge and performance of managerial skills is above average. They are outstanding in their handling of people's management and always ready to learn, change and adapt. They meet all goals and targets without any fuss. Real managers consciously and deliberately create a work environment that is supportive, participative, creative, inspiring and ethically healthy. Real managers are not all that sold on relationships and welfare of the subordinates at the expense of productivity and discipline. They fully appreciate the importance of priorities, productivity, time management and accountability. They manage through their expertise and moral authority and not through command and control structure. Their real strength lies in their moral authority and conviction in great potential of others and their own motivational powers to help their subordinates realize that. The Real managers acquire total commitment and support of their team members through sincere efforts for developing and empowering them.

Glyn Macken, Deputy Director General, The Institute of Management in his article 'Taking An Holistic Approach' (Professional Manager, May 1997) has effectively highlighted the importance of harnessing full potential of people in the emerging model of management as quoted below:

"Management has become more about managing people than managing operations; unless we have harnessed the full potential of our people even the best plans are likely to be less than successful. Furthermore, it has also become evident that releasing the potential of our people involves more than simply providing them with the best training and a clear company strategy. We have to gain their support and commitment by providing an environment in which they will thrive as individuals".

All managers need to improve their ability to contribute towards their personal, organizational and national interests. In the existing competitive world of corporate and public management, only those managers can survive and excel who make continuous and determined efforts to upgrade themselves from Managers to Super managers and from Super managers to Real managers.