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Sabtu, 07 Februari 2009



Your life changes, the first time that you become responsible for the performance of a group. When you were an individual contributor, you had pretty much complete control over what to do in order to achieve better results. As a manager, you’re now responsible for other people’s performance! Once you become responsible for a group of people and their performance, that control disappears and is replaced with persuasion and influence.

No matter what you may have read in management literature, leadership, management, and supervision are not about what you are or the title you hold. They’re about your behavior and the “roles” you play while working with others to accomplish something of importance to the organization!
How do we become “Managers?”
For decades, if not centuries, scholars, leaders, and the people they lead, have been attempting to define the nature of effective management. Countless books and articles have been written containing definitive checklists of what it takes to be a manager.

One of the ironies of management is that most individuals become supervisors or managers because they are very good at performing within a particular job skill. People are rewarded with a promotion to a management position because they are good accountants, engineers, salespeople, marketers, etc. Typically, because these individuals have been so focused on what they are very good at “doing,” most have seldom thought about all the aspects of effective management. Nor is it likely that these individuals have asked themselves “soft” questions like: Why do people work?, What do they want from their jobs?, What is the nature of the relationship that “others” have with work?, How can human relationships be transformed to have a greater impact on the organization?, How will I, their manager, provide the kind of environment that encourages people to bring all of themselves to work, so that they are productive, personally satisfied, and have a significant impact on organizational strategy?

Instead of quickly learning about what’s expected of them as managers and assuming the role of managing others, many newly promoted people tend to stay in their “comfort zones” and begin to “micromanage” the people they are supposed to empower and lead. Another problem is that many managers in a new assignment have spent much of their time in other groups or disciplines and do not fully understand the mind-set of the people they are charged with managing or where their area of responsibility fits into the bigger picture.

Additionally, if the individual has had any training most likely they were formally or informally schooled in “traditional management.” The management skills they learned primarily dealt with planning, controlling, directing, and organizing. At the heart of most management training lays the drive for systemic, sophisticated, definitive rules, which are all aimed at consistency. This approach produces people who are experts within their own domain and who do everything in their power to do things right in accordance to a specific plan. Managers are typically compliance driven. This is both good and bad.

In contrast leadership focuses primarily on people, performance, and possibilities. In its most obvious form, leadership manifests itself in the future focus orientation of individuals and their behavior toward the importance of people. There is an inherent assumption by leaders that the capability of people is the most critical point of leverage in producing not only excellent, consistent results, but also in driving significant change for future success while meeting the urgent and immediate creative needs of the organization. Quoting Warren Bennis from his book, “On Becoming a Leader,” “Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right things.” This is not to say that management is bad and leadership is good, what it does say is that both are needed and both are different. While the ideal is a blend of both in one individual, the reality is that individuals are far more likely to lean in one direction or the other.

Research on the theory of leadership has found that there are three basic ways people become leaders.

1. Small numbers of people become leaders because a crisis or important event causes a person to rise to the occasion. The event brings out some extraordinary leadership qualities in an otherwise ordinary person.
2. A few people have some strong personality traits that lead them naturally into a leadership role.
3. The most widely accepted theory today holds that people can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills and modify their behavior to the extent that others will follow their lead. People with a passion to lead others can transform themselves into successful leaders.

A study conducted by the Gallup Organization came to the following conclusions. The core activities of a manager and a leader are simply different. It is entirely possible for a person to be a brilliant manager and a terrible leader. Conversely, great leaders can effectively delegate the details that need to be managed. The most important difference between a great manager and a great leader is one of focus. Great managers look inward; they look inside the organization, into each individual, at specific goals, tasks, and needs. In short, they look at the details. Great leaders by contrast, look outward. They look at the competition, out toward the future, and out toward alternative routes forward. They focus on broad patterns and finding connections, and then they press home their advantage where the greatest impact can be made. Leaders must be visionaries, strategic thinkers, and activators. They effectively delegate the details and take risks to move the organization forward. Note: The organization needs both brilliant managers and great leaders! Why do you think this is true?

The basic core competencies of organizational management:

The following list describes the roles, strengths and core competencies of the typically “good supervisor/manager” and the typically “good leader.”

Manage the present Focus on the future
Are compliance driven Are performance driven
Are efficient Are effective
Do things right Do the right things
Enforce the policies and regulations Promote values
Monitor people Inspire people
Train specific skills Educate, mentor, and coach
Perpetuate consistency Are change agents
Follow a vision Create the vision
React to customer problems Anticipate customer needs

As you can see, managers and leaders have complimentary roles, strengths and competencies that can both facilitate disciplined consistency and inspire innovative growth. Both roles appear to be very specific and, in a typical hierarchical organization, they are. However, consider the potential when all of the strengths described are blended within a team of people rather than focused on one or two people. This concept begins to bring the management role up and at the same time push the leadership role down into the organization. This “distributed management/leadership model” allows almost everyone to share in being a manager/leader depending on the situation and his or her talents and capabilities.

This blending of individuality and individual excellence is the key element of a fantastic delivery system, or what can be called a “management dream team.” This is a team where each individual’s strengths leverage every other team members’ strengths, creating a situation where the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts!

Note: This approach does not change titles, but rather changes the roles and mind-set of all stakeholders and helps all stakeholders to be more engaged in the total process of running the business.
Roles and responsibilities of front-line managers: Front-line managers are defined as managers who have first-line responsibility for a work group of approximately 10 to 25 people. They are accountable to a higher level of management and are placed in the lower layers of the management hierarchy, normally at the first level.

The role typically includes a combination of:
• people management
• managing operational costs
• providing technical expertise
• organizing, such as planning work allocation
• monitoring work processes
• checking quality
• dealing with customers/clients
• measuring operational performance.

Why are front-line managers important? Front-line managers are often crucial in making the difference between low-performing and high-performing firms. Occupying a key position in the organization, they are the deliverers of success by implementing strategies that focus the efforts of individuals on business goals and translating them into positive outcomes.
Front-line managers typically have to implement policies such as appraisal or team briefing and have a major role to play in bringing these organizational policies “to life.” They are important in influencing employees’ attitudes towards the organization and their job, and “their behavior” is the most important factor in explaining the variation in both job satisfaction and job discretion, ie. the choice people have over how they do their jobs. Front-line managers are also one of the more critical factors in developing organizational commitment.
Botom line: Front line managers are important as they are the management eyes and ears of the company; they are the ones who have to deliver results through their people directly to the internal or external customer. They make sure commitments are kept!
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Roger M. Ingbretsen, Author, Speaker, Leadership Coach, Organizational and Career Developer. For more information, visit www.ingbretsen.com or call 509 999 7008.

YOUR ROLE AS SUPERVISOR AND MANAGER - To learn more about this author, visit Roger Ingbretsen's Website.


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