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Philosophy of managing people in higher educational settings Essay

Capability to manage a team effectively is one of the main qualities which any professional seeking success needs to possess. However, the position of a leader requires many outstanding skills, and it may be very challenging at times. According to Sun Tzu, Chinese General who lived in the 5th century B. C. , “when one has all 5 virtues together: intelligence, trustworthiness, humanness, courage, sternness, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader” (Deal, Kennedy, 1988). Leadership means the ability to influence other people and guide them to the success.

During many centuries it has been believed that the key to success in a team lies in the skills of the manager. No company can remain on top unless it has an outstanding manager who guides it into the right direction. Management of people in higher educational settings is a very challenging task due to the complexity of the field of education. Some of the general principles of management can be applied efficiently, but at the same time additional attention needs to be devoted to characteristic features which are common only for educational sphere.

The task of the leader in higher educational settings is to manage the staff in such a way that all the skills which the members of the staff possess turn out applied at their maximum. This task is very complicated because “building the winning team requires more than just hiring a bunch of talented people. It means hiring people who will work well together. It means developing a shared vision and commitment. It means physically bringing people together in formal group meetings for open discussion of broad-based issues.

It means encouraging positive, informal interactions between group members. It means instilling a “winning” attitude throughout the organization. It means watching for and quickly trying to reverse team-building problems such as jealousy, cynicism, and defensive behavior. ” (Building a winning team. Retrieved on November 14, from source: www. businesstown. com). The most important issue in managing the team in higher educational settings is choosing the right form of motivation for them. Since all people in the staff are different, all of them need different forms of motivation.

For some staff members, only money works, and they do not get motivated by any other benefits. For others, there is nothing more important than social recognition of their efforts. Other staff members will care about the possibilities of future promotion in case of their successful performance. Therefore, in order to manage the staff effectively, the first task to do is to define where the needs of employees fall in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. After some communication with the members of the team it is easy to discover what staff members are very ambitious.

They have a very high need of esteem. They need to be praised for the work they do, get recognition from senior-level management, be aware about the possibilities of their future promotion, and fulfill tasks which require lots of responsibility. These staff members are very experienced, they have already made large contributions into the university’s success, and therefore they can be motivated only through getting more and more complicated tasks to fulfill. Other staff members will not be as success-oriented, and not as experienced.

They can be rather knowledgeable in the field of education but they do not seek promotion because they are quite happy with their present work. Therefore, they can be motivated by money awards and praise for their work because their needs fall into the category of belonginess and love. The next step of successful staff management in higher education setting is defining relationships between staff members, and making a sociogram which identifies the types of interactions within the social network. Without the knowledge of interactions between the staff members, there is no way to manage the team effectively.

In order to manage the members of the team, it is useful at times to apply the approach of influencing some members of the team through other members. It is necessary to identify the member of the team who has the strongest influence on other members because teams are usually aligned to such staff members. It is also necessary to keep up “healthy culture” in the educational setting. “A healthy culture can promote identification (who we are), legitimation (why we need to do) communication (with whom we talk), coordination (with whom we work) and development (what are the dominant perspectives and tasks)”.

(Davies, 1997, p. 135). The last step of managing the team is choosing the leadership style. Such styles include “considerate, structuring, autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire and the like” (Bjerke, 1999, p. 57). Some authors determine supporting, directive, coercive, transformational leadership styles. The most efficient styles in the majority of establishments of higher education are democratic and supportive styles, but for some types of situations autocratic and directive styles might be appropriate.

For example, when the faculty leader wants to set direct goals for the staff members and make them increase their performance, it can be appropriate to use directive style. The choice of the style mainly depends on the environment in the organization and the goals which it needs to achieve. Autocratic and directive styles can sometimes represent some danger of faculty leaders becoming power-oriented. When managers care only about their own power, they tend to choose those 2 styles of leadership.

It is well-known that leadership styles can be oriented on the performance of the team or on the concern about staff members. The analysis of these theories is particularly important for managing staff members in educational settings. Blake and Mouton (1964) have introduced a grid in which they identified the main styles of leadership according to those 2 characteristics. Orientation on the performance of the team means that the manager is very concerned about the results which they are going to have in the end of the period, the extent to which goals will be met.

Orientation on people means that the leader will pay lots of attention to maintaining trust in the company, establishing warm relations with all the employees, giving them only appropriate tasks and motivating them. Blake and Mouton have come up with several types of managers based in their grid. “Under the style referred to as ‘impoverished management’, managers concern themselves very little with either people or results and have minimum involvement in their jobs. ” (Bjerke, 1999, p. 59). Such managers usually do not achieve good results because they show minimum concern about the activity of the company.

“Team leaders”, on the contrary, manage to combine both concern about people and achieve great performance of the company. This type of managers cannot be accepted in education settings because it prevents the faculty staff from making large contributions to the development of the educational establishment. “Another style is management called country club management, in which managers have little or no concern for results but are concerned only for people. ” (Bjerke, 1999, p. 59). Such companies might not have great results because employees will not be working to the fullest.

“Autocratic task managers are concerned only with developing an efficient operation, who have little or no concern for people and who are quite autocratic in their style of leadership. ” (Bjerke, 1999, p. 59). This type of manager is more favorable than the previous one, but it is also inefficient in the educational setting. In order to make the staff work efficiently, the faculty leader needs to choose the style combining both concern about staff members and concern about the performance of the team.

It is very difficult to make the faculty function effectively, but this task can be achieved through the right choices of staff members’ motivation and leadership style. The field of education requires a leader with good communication skills, able to provide success-oriented policy, capable of solving all the possible problems which may arise in the team. Bibliography. 1. Alison, H. Managing people Managing Universities and Colleges Guides to Good Pratice Open University Press McGraw Hill. 2003. 2. Bjerke Bjorn. Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy.

Edward Elgar. 1999. 3. Blake, R. R. and J. S. Mouton. The Managerial Grid, Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company. 1964. 4. Building a winning team. Retrieved on November 14, from source: www. businesstown. com. 5. Davies, J. The evolution of university responses to financial reduction. Higher Education Management, 9(1), 127-140. 1997. 6. Deal, T. and A. Kennedy. Corporate Cultures, London: Penguin Books. 1988. 7. Garvin, David A. What makes for an authentic learning organization? Management Update: Newsletter from Harvard Business School 2, no. 6 (July 1): 7-9. 1993.

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