1.0 Role of the Manager


A manager is a person who is responsible for ensuring that a specific body of workers willingly achieve the tasks set them, to specific standards.  At one time the manager was seen as a person whose main job was to keep the workforce working by means of tight controls and coercive methods.  Now in progressive organizations 'willingness" is seen to be important.  Therefore there has been an increasing trend towards a more human relations approach to managing and supervising people.


However, managers need more than just handling people skills, for as managers they need to have specific knowledge and skills in all the areas of the management process, as well as the ability to manage themselves.


Furthermore, they must understand the context within which they are working in order to ensure that the work of their team contributes effectively to the overall aims of the organisation.


2.0 The Management Process


The management process consists of a series of managerial functions that are linked and form a logical cycle.  These are:


      2.1 Assessing the situation and setting Targets.


      2.2 Planning how to reach the targets.


      2.3 Organising physical and human resources.


      2.4 Controlling and implementation.


      2.5 Evaluating the results.


      2.6 Working on ways of Improving next time round.


3.0 Part of the Organisation


The above functions take place within the manager’s organisation.  Therefore it is important that managers:-


      3.1 Feel committed to the organisation's goals.


      3.2 Feel part of the "culture".


      3.3 Understand how the organisation operates, both officially and informally.


      3.4 Are able to use the channels of communication.


      3.5 Know what is going on.


3.6   Are given the necessary organisational support.



4.0 Managerial Styles


The functions of the management process involve managers having to deal with people at all levels, with special responsibility for leading their team.


At one time it was thought that the best way for managers to get productivity out of their teams was to be very structured and directive in organising the work and giving instructions, this being supported by checking closely on work in progress and rewarding or punishing as necessary (the emphasis often being on the latter).


Various studies by management researchers showed however, that workers were often more motivated by a more open style of management, where they are given general directions and allowed more autonomy in target setting and reaching them.  This led to thinkers advocating a managerial style that balanced both concern for the task and for the workforce.


However, Hershey and Blanchard have shown that while this is often the best style, it is not always applicable, for a good manager is one that has a range of styles, and can use the one most appropriate to the situation.  This is called Situational Leadership.


The situation is largely determined by the level of commitment and competency the group or individual has towards the task in hand.  For instance, workers who have the ability to perform the task and who are motivated, need a manager who will let them get on with the job.  Workers who have problems in understanding how to do a task need a much more directive approach.  Workers who are poorly motivated are likely to need a manager who will handle the human relations problems involved.


5.0 Activities of a Manager


Because managers are involved in the Management Process and deal with people, their activities are many and varied. 


The Management Process ones naturally include:  target setting, planning, organising, controlling, evaluating and improving.  But within these are:  problem analysis, decision making, job design, delegating/allocating work, instructing, communicating, inspecting, training, dealing with “paper work” (soft and hard  versions) and information, adjusting, correcting, thinking, developing ideas, time planning, writing, studying work methods, co-ordinating.


The people side of management includes: leading, motivating, listening, developing, disciplining, dealing with people problems.


On top of all their managerial activities, managers often still have their own technical to do!


6.0 Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes


Not only do managers need to be skilled in the activities outlined and have the relevant knowledge of how to apply the skill within the organisation, they also need to have the appropriate attitude.  The right sort of attitude involves many features:


        * The willingness to influence people


        *   A basic liking of people


        *   A willingness to accept organisational norms but at the same time use one's            



        *   An acceptance of oneself, to have a reasonable amount of self-esteem


        *   Willingness to think through a problem


        *   Willingness to listen


        *   A positive view of life.


        *   Willingness to work towards the organization's vision and goals


        *   A desire to achieve


        *   Trustworthiness