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Get organized and assess how well you deal with your employees
by F. S. D. Davies and S. J. Rayfield MANAGERS, TASC, ROAD TRANSPORT INDUSTRY TRAINING BOARD
LAST week we posed operators with some pointed questions under the heading of "planning". In this article we want to examine the other four factors that we listed as management skills—organizing, motivating, co-ordinating, controlling.
Organizing Organizing is the skill a manager uses in:— 1. Identification and grouping of work.
2. Definition and delegation of responsibility and authority.
3. Establishing relationships.
It involves producing the management structure—the organization—of the company to ensure effective results. This term "organization" is often used loosely—people speak of the "organization" when they mean the "company". An organization is essentially composed of a number of people, all working together to achieve a common objective.
In our surveys and work in the Business Improvement Groups the problems encountered in this field were generally the following: I. One man trying to control too many others—especially true at higher management level. There is a limit to the number of people one man can manage effectively—a limit which varies according to the nature of the work and the ability of the person. Referred to as Span of Control.
2. One manager in a position of authority over one subordinate. Usually leads to duplication of effort. This is a difficult point in our size of company and each case must be treated on its merits. Referred to as a "One over One" relationship.
3. One employee trying to serve two "masters"—leading to equally ineffective working and poor relationships.
4. One manager having the responsibility for day-to-day operation of geographically separated sites, without effective control.
5. Uneven distribution of authority/responsibility between managers. A balance can and should be achieved in terms of men, equipment, materials, finance and results.
6. The retaining by the chief executive of too much personal authority for day-today running of the business. The biggest single failing of managers----especially chief and senior executives—in small and medium-sized companies is this seeming inability to DELEGATE.
It is an enlightening exercise in a company, to ask each person at management level to draw up an organization chart for that company. The problems and misconceptions uncovered are surprising.
It is usual to split an organization up into its major operating areas—transport; traffic; maintenance; administration; with the managing director in overall control. The number of individual managers will depend upon the operating circumstances. We spoke in earlier articles of "profit centres" and this is how an organization structure appears— with one manager having authority and responsibility for all aspects of his area of operation—together of course with "accountability" for results.
The majority of companies in our industry started from very small beginnings—with one man, the proprietor, in direct control and close communication with his staff. But as the company grew, so other persons were necessary to share the load, and problems began to appear; the quicker the organization grows, the bigger those problems are. Basically, this is due to a lack of sufficient thought by the management of the company—a lack of forward planning. When a company is in this growth situation, three things are essential:
1. Identification and grouping of work, that can be performed by individuals, or teams. Each group of work must fit the level of the individual or group to whom it is allocated. We have found that insufficient attention is given to this aspect.
2. Definition of responsibility and authority for work and results, with its subsequent delegation. As we stated earlier, this is a real problem. First, the actual definition is, if at all, often only sketchily carried out. The typical outcry being, "He's been doing it long enough I don't need to tell him!" The manager will have been doing something for long enough—but is it the right thing? At the right time? Our experience leads us to doubt it in many cases.
Delegation is not a new idea—a look at the Bible shows Moses learned to do it very successfully. Basically it is a case of: 1. Establishing responsibility and giving necessary authority—ie, entrusting work (responsibility) to someone else; entrusting power/right (authority) to someone else; creating an obligation (accountability) on that person.
2. Recognizing that some people have more ability than others, to accept responsibility and authority—ie, careful selection and placement of management level staff, with necessary development and training.
This means that every manager in the organization will know:—
a) His place in the company organization.
b) What he is expected to achieve— RESPONSIBILITY.
c) What rights, powers he has to do it— AUTHORITY.
We have found that the only effective way to achieve these two is by defining them formally, by means of a management job description. The quantified, qualified statement of a manager's position and what is expected of him. What a company must try to prevent is the common situation where a manager is so bogged down in the basic trivialities of operating, that managerial effectiveness is non-existent. In our next article, we shall deal with management job descriptions, their preparation and up-dating.
When establishing relationships, the aim is teamwork. Quite often many rules are informal—just developing themselves. They will change as personnel and circumstances change.
In the smaller company it should be easier to achieve this kind of teamwork. It is one of their major advantages.
Motivating The third basic skill was that of motivating, often referred to as "influencing people"!
Really, it is the skill a manager uses in getting people to work well (effectively). It will be affected by almost everything which a manager does during his normal operations. I suppose it is inevitable when you speak of motivation that the thought of financial incentives comes to mind. We have already said how ineffective the majority of such schemes seem to be. Money, although important, is not the final answer. Sufficient to provide a required standard of living is the criteria. After that the main aspects of MOTIVATION are: 1st Sense of achievement.
2nd Feeling of recognition.
3rd Nature of the work Responsibility.
5th Advancement opportunity.
6th Improved salary.
7th Work conditions.
This is the order produced by the statements of operating managers during the running of our Business Improvement Groups.
Co-ordinating During the previous stages of planning and organizing our company, we have produced a series of individual units as the company management—a jigsaw.
Each is important in itself. but only achieves full importance as part of the whole company. It is necessary to bind them together—to ensure they move towards the common objective. This is co-ordination. It is an essential aspect of good organization —most of it is achieved automatically if sound policies, organization and objectives are established. Perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring co-ordination is communication. A manager has (or should have!) at his command the basic tool of information. A large part of his effectiveness will depend upon his ability to communicate. Unfortunately, it is the one general ability which is widely lacking.
It has seemed to us in many companies as if the company does not expect—or want —substantial two-way communication. The term is used—but what happens is: To be of value the flow must be really two-way, including questions and suggestions in both directions. We have found the institution of monthly management meetings to be of great assistance in this field. Especially when allied to discussion on other matters we have advocated, such as monthly Profit and Loss accounts, individual vehicle costing figures, etc.
Controlling The final one in our list of management skills. During our series we have many times used this word "control", whether in control systems, control information or management control.
Basically, it is a comparison between plans and performance with subsequent necessary adjustment. To achieve control, there are four stages to be carried out:— I. Establishing performance standards. 2. Measuring 'performance levels.
3. Interpreting results.
4. Taking corrective action.
I. Again in one of our earlier articles we said that in general the industry was sadly lacking in performance standards. Yet it is one of the four essential aspects of control! All other aspects of effective control of a business depend on the prior establishment of meaningful performance standards.
The setting and agreeing of such standards provides the measure of accountability.
2. This entails the installation of a control system, providing a record of work as it progresses. It is essential that this feedback of control information is achieved quickly, so that decisions can be made without delay.
3. The results obtained in 2 above, must then be evaluated in terms of the agreed standards. A comparison of actual against planned. This will involve identification of the variations and discrepancies with an analysis of why they occurred.
4. When variations from plan occur, decisions must be made to overcome the situation—corrective action. This is the real skill of the operating manager. The ability to decide on the information provided just what is necessary to get back on the right tracks. In some cases, the original plan may need modification.
Remember the saying: "First you lose control—then you lose your job!"
These then are the common skills of management, but before we close, a word about one more aspect, that of Leadership.
This is a key management function. People are the most valuable and expensive of a company's resources. They are also the most variable, constantly subject to a range of differing pressures many of which are unpredictable.
It is therefore a manager's ability as a leader that determines how successfully he motivates and manages people. A leader is one who guides and directs others, in two
A person is born with the talent of personal leadership. It is the type most common in smaller companies, especially first and second generation family firms. How can you tell if it is in your company?
I. Authority is highly centralized (usually one person).
2. Personal inspection is relied upon to check progress.
3. The boss tends to do a lot of work which the people he leads should do.
4. If good. results in: quick decisions: enterprising and imaginative action; high mobility.
There can be advantages in this kind of leadership, but it will depend on the individual. HIS FAULTS WILL BE THE COMPANY
WEAKNESSES. In addition, this highly centralized approach will produce an organization where nobody else ever makes a decision. The potential of the company becomes limited to one man's ability.
A person must learn management leadership, seldom is he born with it.
The leader as a manager still uses his personal attributes, but only within his sphere of operation. Management leadership is established by the creation of trust and confidence, through communication, motivation and delegation.
The importance of these three has been stressed throughout this article. We have found that one way to overcome the problems of personal leadership whilst still retaining its attributes is by an effective management job description.
Next week we shall deal with "Objective Management", and include in this the discussion on job description and performance appraisal.