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Management And Leadership

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Autor:  anton  25 November 2010
Tags:  Management,  Leadership
Words: 1392   |   Pages: 6
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Management and Leadership

When it comes to effective leadership and management, there is an important question every manager should ask himself: Is it important to take care of the employees? A good manager will answer this question with a “yes,” but that leads to another question: What are the required tools in taking care of employees? The answer to this is education, opportunity and mentorship.

At the very least, a manager’s duty is to make sure employees meet the company’s bottom line. As long as employees are performing satisfactorily and the company is making money, managers are doing their jobs. A manager who lives by this way of thinking may be a good manager, but he or she seriously lacks the qualities that make someone a good leader. Money, parts and equipment are managed. People are led.

I believe that for a manager to be a good leader, the manager has a responsibility to provide his or her employees with every resource they need to be successful. It is very important for employees to align their goals with the company’s goals and for them to be able to see the CEO’s vision. When Ford Motor Company began restructuring its truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, the plant manager announced that all employees were to drive vehicles made by Ford Motor Co. to work or be forced to park across the street. (McWilliams, 2006) Did the plant manager make this statement simply to be cruel or try to force employees to purchase Ford vehicles? No. His statement defined a vision and was made to instill in the employees a certain amount of pride about the product they made. After all, it is the young employees with a vision who will replace today’s leaders, and managers owe it to them to make sure they are prepared and can eventually carry out their own visions.

To succeed, employees need education, discipline, opportunities and role models. Education is especially important for young and upcoming supervisors. In some ways, these young workers are already smarter than the managers for whom they work. Don’t believe me? Grab a young employee just out of high school and a VCR, IPOD and computer, and between the employee and a seasoned manager, find out who gets at least two out of three working first. To be competent in their jobs, duties, and even in everyday life, young employees need mentors. I have always been taught to first earn qualification or certification for a specific job, then to knock myself out doing everything that I possibly can for the job. Simple values such as this make new any new employee a valuable member of the team — a member who can be relied on to complete any task or assignment he or she is given.

After they have earned qualification and proven themselves to be competent critical thinkers, employees also need to be challenged with opportunities in off-the-job continuing education. Tom Neff, the SpencerStuart headhunter and one of the world’s top CEO recruiters, says “The style for running a company is different from what it used to be. Companies do not want dictators, kings or emperors.” Instead of wanting someone who barks orders, companies today want a manger who will ask probing questions that force team members to think and find the appropriate solutions. (Colvin, 2006) This will not only benefit the company and the employee personally, but will also make the newly assigned employees more productive because they are doing something for themselves. As Geoffrey Colvin writes in the January 27, 2006, edition of “Fortune” magazine, “Look at what is driving our managers and leaders, men and women to the top, their creativity, irreverence, boundless energy, and relentless determination--and apply those lessons to your own career. It will pay to do so, because today--after 500 years or so--the scarcest, most valuable resource in business is no longer financial capital. It is talent. If you doubt that, just watch how hard companies are battling for the best people.” (Colvin, 2006).

With formal education, employees’ thinking becomes clearer and their ability to communicate is enhanced, often times reducing the workload of the supervisor. This is not to say that the employee should do the supervisor’s work. Even if they make a career out of their current jobs, employees will at some point need to close that chapter in their lives and walk into another world. It must be a great feeling for managers to know that they have helped them along the way.

Young employees also need discipline. When most people hear the word “discipline,” they immediately think of the crusty old plant manager chewing out a young employee or a new engineer standing in front of the plant manager’s desk receiving some form of dressing down for a seemingly insignificant action. Unfortunately, there are times when these things are necessary and these actions are not taken lightly. These actions can often be avoided if supervisors are actively engaged with their young workers and encourage conduct that warrants rewards instead of punishment. The side of discipline that goes unnoticed is reinforcement, or rewards. It does not take a lot of time to give a deserving employee a pat on the back, type a quick thank-you note or letter of appreciation, or say thanks for a job well done in front of their peers and supervisors. Little things such as these are money in the bank for the leader who recognizes the individual’s efforts and sets a marvelous example for the shop and plant. Experience is the best teacher; employees learn what to do and what not to do. They should be given the opportunity to succeed. Even if they fail, they should have learned something that makes them a little smarter and little more prepared for the next time. No leader or manager has gotten where they are by being perfect.

Education, discipline and opportunities are all important, but to make sure the employees understand the path, they need a map. They need role models. Often, the role model is the immediate supervisor or trainer, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Granted, supervisors may spend more time with the individual, but anyone who has more experience or tenure in the company automatically becomes a role model, and that is not always the best thing. Positive role models are vital not only for the company to complete its mission but to set the tone of what is expected from employee as they grow into the company family. Supervisors and leaders need to set a positive example because the higher employees move up the chain of command, the more they are examined. In Donald Phillips’ book “Lincoln On Leadership,” the author says that when subordinates come up with good ideas, they should be allowed to try them, but their progress should be monitored. (Phillips, 1992). I was in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years, and I can remember an old Chief Master Sergeant saying to my group of new chief master sergeant selects, “Welcome to the top 1 percent. You are now living in a fish bowl. People will be watching you just to see what you do. They don’t mean to but they do. Because of the stripes you wear, you are the ‘know all’ of everything in the Air Force, and what you say and do will be considered gospel to some.”

In a nutshell, there are plenty of good managers and leaders who are looked to as role models. There are also plenty of bad ones, but both can be positive learning experiences for the new employee just starting out in the workforce. They learn what not to do from the bad managers as role models, and from the good ones they learn to do what is right.

Reference

McWilliams, Rufus (2006). Ford bans competitors' vehicles from lot. CNN.com. Retrieved January 27, 2006, from

http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/27/news/companies/ford_parkinglot/index.htm

Colvin, Geoffrey (2006). Catch a Rising Star. FORTUNE Magazine

Colvin, Geoffrey (2006). Catch a Rising Star. FORTUNE Magazine

Phillips, Donald T. (1992). Lincoln On Leadership. Pg. 107



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