Understanding the Management Role
Understanding the Management Role
Describe the goals and objectives of your organisation
Goals and objectives both describe things that an organisation aims to achieve or desired outcomes of work. However, they differ in terms of time frame, clarity and the effect they have. A goal is defined as being the purpose or result towards which an activity is directed and tends to be a long term aspiration. An objective is a defined similarly, but has a clear and measurable target, and contributes to achieving a goal, objectives are generally shorter term aspirations than goals. For example, a goal for my organisation is to become the biggest provider of residential visits in the UK, but a related objective is for the centre in increase the number of on centre beds from 430 by 10% within one year. This objective follows the principles of SMART, in that it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based, as expressed below:
Specific – increase bed numbers
Measurable – by 10% (43 beds)
Achievable – using allocated funds for purchasing and within designated areas on site
Realistic – within one year, as agreed by all stakeholders
Time based – within current financial year, close of business at end of October
My organisation has two primary goals, each with a series of objectives that are designed to support the achievement of their respective goal, as below: Goal: To be the preferred provider of residential activity visits for schools
a) To implement refurbishment programme of accommodation areas to modernise & refresh at close of 2014 season b) To devise and introduce new, high impact activities to the Kingswood programme during current season ending September 2014 c) To maximise sales opportunities by exploiting mutually beneficial partnerships with leading Brands and implement cross-marketing strategies before September 2014 Goal: To enhance the lives of young people through experiences that inspire
a) Implement strategy to develop facilitation skills amongst programme delivery team force, timed for launch of new educational programmes in September 2014 b) Create an effective partnership with a Red Brick University to accredit our educational programmed by June 2014 c) To increase onsite rebooking to 80% of potential groups by March 2014 Evaluate the specific responsibilities of middle managers in enabling your organisation to achieve its goals All business activities within my organisation stem from the organisational objectives and it is the shared vision for the organisation that drives every decision. This shared vision concerns the organisations drive to provide educationally beneficial visits to young people that are easy to organise, safe and offer value for money. Descending down the reporting chain, the organisational objectives break down further and are carefully linked to ensure all staff members feel part of the organisation-wide efforts.
In other words, an objective for the organisation is to increase on site bookings by 80%by March 2014. The rebooking process is carried out by 8 activity centres, one of which falls within my area of responsibility. In order to support this single objective, my area has a further three objectives: a) Increase guest satisfaction scores to 92% by end of February 2014 (from current average score of 90%) within my area of responsibility (Retail, Catering & Housekeeping) b) Devise strategy to deliver increased contact time with visiting guests by 15 minutes per day c) Revise feedback meeting to enhance effectiveness of re-booking on site in face to face meetings with guests These objectives feed into the larger objectives for the organisation; equally my direct reports have objectives that feed into my objectives. For example the Housekeeper within my team has an objective to carry out daily checks on cleanliness to facilitate an increase in guest satisfaction scores.
If the team achieve their objectives, I will more easily achieve mine and my manager will more easily achieve theirs. Subsequently, the organisation is more likely to achieve their objectives and ultimately their goals. As a middle manager, I have a key role in facilitating the achievement of the objectives held by my organisation. In terms of managerial functions (Annex C), my ability to command and coordinate helps me to do this. As shown in Annex A, my role of “Assistant Centre Manager” fills a conduit position funnelling information from the Centre General Manager to the department heads who report to me for all day to day issues. The chart at Annex A shows my position within the centre, and the chart at Annex B shows where the centre is placed in the overall organisation. A large part of my role is managing the day to day operations of the activity centre, which is a very intense and time consuming part of the role.
Often, the tasks I complete or am responsible for managing are far removed from the organisations goals and objectives. Linking some of these decisions to the objectives of the organisation can be quite challenging, for instance decisions that I make allocating individuals to training courses, where a number of individuals are equally eligible and suitable for the training, or when allocating and/or adjusting days off to ensure the working time directive is met. As a result, I may lose focus on the “bigger picture” of what I am my team are aiming to achieve. To lessen the impact of this, or prevent it from happening in the first place may be to incorporate weekly “Focus” meetings to ensure the team can take time each week as a group to relate what they are working on to the organisations objectives. A second challenge is the potential for the messages or values statements made by the Chief Executive Officer or board, being diluted by successive managers even before I cascade it to my direct reports.
The result of this could be that employees on the “shop floor” do not hear the full picture of what the organisation is trying to achieve, particularly in relation to nuanced decisions. The most effective way to minimise the opportunity for this issue arising is for messages of importance or significance to the organisation such as when organisational objectives are communicated to be delivered directly to shop floor staff. This could be via notices and posters in the workplace or letters and emails sent direct to all employees. The most effective approach, though perhaps the most expensive, would be to deliver these messages face to face during conferences or centre visits.
Evaluate how interpersonal and communication skills affect managerial performance Communication skills are defined as the method by which an individual communicates with others, such as listening, writing, speaking skills and non-verbal skills. Interpersonal skills are defined as the manner or way that an individual communicates with others and are often referred to as social, soft or people skills. Communication skills are an important part of operating a successful business; a business needs to listen to its customers to better understand their needs, and must read emails and answer telephone calls to communicate with their suppliers. In my role, I must read and comprehend a large number of reports on a daily basis, and I am often required to summarise them for others to read and comprehend. I would face significant challenges if I was not able to do this in a timely manner or consistently misunderstood reports and distributed incorrect information to my team or superiors. I am also expected to chair meetings with large numbers of staff, sharing information and providing operational updates.
The daily operation of my place of work depends on my communication skills to prevent staff not listening to or understanding important Health and Safety information or customer requirements. Having strong interpersonal skills has significant value in the work place as both business owner and employee. Being able to read colleagues will enable an individual to better pitch a new idea, or to gauge understanding of a topic being discussed. In a sales environment, interpersonal skills are integral to an effective sales technique to better persuade the public to purchase your products or services. In my role, I am often required to ask employees to complete tasks they would prefer to not do, however I have learned various techniques to encourage or persuade staff to carry out less than savoury duties. Having this skill ensures that all tasks are completed in a timely fashion, and to the standard required by the overall project. For instance, in order to facilitate a successful audit of my workplace by the Environmental Health Officer, I felt it was appropriate to inspect and wash through a number of “key” drains that I know have previously been a concern. This was a very unpleasant task, and required a team of four people, none of whom wanted to participate.
It was through explaining the importance of the task, how it contributed to the overall success of the audit process and my approach that resulted in the team completing the task. The Health officer did indeed inspect the drains, which ultimately demonstrated to the team how important their task actually was. In the past, I have not approached these situations as effectively, resulting in one example where an employee reported absent for the afternoon’s work, after I had instructed them to complete a task they didn’t want to do. In review of that situation, I understood that I had been too forceful in my approach, and not taken adequate care to gauge the strength of feeling held by the employee. Whilst a reasonable management instruction should be followed by an employee, I learned through that experience that being too forceful or not demonstrating sufficient empathy or care of an employee may result in them feeling unvalued and subsequently they may become less engaged with their work. The primary change in my
behaviour is the initial approach. When I recognise that a task may be unpleasant or outside the comfort zone of an employee, I ask probing questions to gauge the level of resistance they may have to taking on the task.
If I feel it appropriate to continue, I now ensure that I am careful to fully explain why the task needs to be completed and what contribution it has to the wider picture. I have found that this approach if far more likely to maintain a positive working environment for all concerned. Evaluate strategies to overcome barriers to effective managerial communication and interpersonal skills Barriers to effective managerial communication and interpersonal skills may vary, and the most effective strategy differs depending on the circumstances. Effective communication must be delivered in a manner that takes into account the “receiver” in terms of educational level, background or mind-set. For instance, when delivering information to a new employee as part of an induction, the main barrier to effective communication may be the lack of organisational knowledge held by the new employee. Therefore delivering information that contains a high proportion of abbreviated terms specific to the organisation may result in the new employee not understanding the information, and causing undue stress.
Ensuring that the induction paperwork is clear and does not use “colloquial” language is an important part of overcoming any barriers to effective communication. Perhaps of equal importance, is taking steps to ensure the language used verbally across the whole organisation is “user-friendly” so that particular employees do not feel isolated. Adopting the six C’s of Communication (Annex D) as part of a standard approach to communication approach is an effective strategy to overcome most barriers to effective communication. The strategy is a straightforward and common sense approach to minimising the barriers to effective communication. Given its nature, the strategy would be quite straight forward to implement across the organisation and provide for simple training. A barrier to effective interpersonal communication may be that the receiver of the communication is not able to see or hear the sender. 93% (Mehrabian, n.d.) of daily communication is non-verbal, suggesting that the tone used, facial expressions and body language play an important part in communication.
Where written communications are used, the person receiving the message will not be able to see or recognise emotion, leading to a risk that the message may not be understood. This may be a particular challenge where humour or sarcasm is used in the written communique that could be taken literally by the receiver. A strategy to mitigate the challenge of this barrier is to choose appropriate channels for the communication. For instance, where the sender wishes to convey humour or sarcasm, a face to face meeting or video conference may be appropriate where an email may not. Equally, a communication that consists of instructions or rules may be more effective in writing.
The discussion of new ideas, or controversial topics are more appropriate for face to face forms of communication where the speakers emotions can more easily be read. Negotiating or making persuasive arguments need that level of non-verbal communication to be most effective. Adhering to the principle of the 6 C’s of communication is the most effect strategy to overcome barriers to effective communication, and is implemented would have the widest effect. Assess own knowledge, skills and behaviour, and their effect on own managerial performance
The table below shows a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis that I have carried out on myself in relation to my managerial performance.
Influential within organisation
Experienced in current role
Well thought of by stakeholders
Calm in a crisis
Able to think on feet and use initiative
Confident decision maker
Level 3 NVQ qualified in Leisure Management
Preference against change
Strongly oriented towards Family
Vulnerable to shifting allegiances
Limited corporate experience
Poor paperwork skills
Adverse to confrontation
Management Qualification Course
Strong support from Line Manager
Ineffective recruitment strategies
Limited specific qualifications
Competition for progression
Instability in organisation due to significant changes in management Table 1: SWOT Analysis
My Level 3 NVQ in Leisure Management has provided me with a wealth of knowledge regarding techniques to manage a team of people. Combined with my experiences, this has given me an appreciation of the importance of implementing a programme of regular reviews with staff to ensure they are supported in their role, but also that they have the opportunity to raise any work related concerns. My performance in this area, as a result, is strong. In contrast though, I have a very limited experience and knowledge of the corporate environment, and the organisation for which I work has recently been purchased by Venture Capitalists. Consequently, I am learning a new way of working, which contrasts greatly with how the organisation used to function.
The largest effect is that many decisions which used to be made locally must now be made by newly appointed middle managers within the main office. This can be a frustrating development, and I am still in the process of learning how to operate within the new environment. In terms of behaviour, my preference is to avoid confrontation which manifests itself in a tendency to manage poor performance in an employee through collaborative discussion or informal conversation. For minor concerns this approach is adequate however there is a risk that the employee does not fully understand the seriousness of the performance concern where one exists.
Conversely, in order to mitigate the risks I have previously dealt with performance concerns more firmly or harshly than was actually required resulting in the employee feeling dis-proportionately concerned about their performance. Establishing an appropriate balance between these two points is a constant challenge for me, and has a significant effect on my managerial performance. Identify areas for personal development to improve own managerial performance Based on the above analysis of my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the below areas require development to improve my own managerial performance.
They are listed in priority order:
1. Adverse to confrontation
a. Presents a significant impact on performance due to high proportion of formal disciplinary action my role requires b. Position in organisation requires me to enforce standards that are sometimes controversial or unpopular
2. Poor paperwork skills
a. Presents significant impact on performance as a high proportion of my role requires careful attention to detail on paperwork in relation to site finances 3. Limited Specific qualifications