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A Research on Management Functions

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The aim of the paper is to make a research on management functions and skills need to be considered a good manager.

To begin with, there are four management functions: planning, organizing, motivating, controlling.

Planning function is that manager should choose the goals and determine the actions for achieving these goals. Planning includes determining of company’s place in future, future goals of the company and the results of company’s actions, setting up the tasks and assessment of necessary resources for its resolving.  

Organizing is an allocation of responsibility for completing the working tasks. This function must be understood as working task assignment, its specification in company’s departments and allocation of resources among them.

Motivating or leading is the use of managerial skills and influence to motivate employees to achieve company’s goals. Motivation can be understood as the inner and external forces that induce employees to act for the company’s goal achievement.

Controlling function is the observation of taken actions and timely adjustments for achieving the goals set in company’s policy.

These four functions require special skills from manager. According to Susan Quinn “The skills are conceptual, technical and human.”

Conceptual skills are the cognitive ability that enables to understand the organization as a system, combining all its processes together. Conceptual skills include systemic and strategic thinking of the manager, the ability to collect, process and transmit information, the ability to plan, and so on. The significance of these skills increases with the working position growth. So, the most important these skills are for senior level managers.

Technical skills are the special knowledge and skills that are necessary to perform the daily tasks: professional knowledge, familiarity with equipment, skills of methods and production process technologies use, the ability to successfully apply the full range of company’s toolkit. The most important these skills are for low level managers.

Human skills are the ability of the manager to work with people; get on well with both employees of low and top levels. These skills help the manager to operate the team, being its part at the same time. Manager with developed human skills usually pays attention to emotional contact with employees, stimulating loyalty and supporting corporative culture.  These skills are the most significant for managers who contact with executives every day.

Analyzing my personality, I suggest that I’ve already developed some basic managerial skills. To my mind, human skills are my strengths. In the university we learn the basics of cooperation and contact with a big number of people. Participating in different university projects and activities, I’ve learned how to act with people of different psychological types. Also I have experience of team work, where I trained my skills of leading and motivating people. Analyzing my weaknesses, I assume that conceptual skills are the worst developed. Senior managers have a lot of responsibility and experience, so they can deal with all their daily tasks. Strategic planning is the most difficult for me, because the company’s perspectives, ways of development are very difficult to understand. However, I suggest that is the problem because of the lack of experience. In my opinion, these skills can be developed, if working hard during some period.

If I were a manager, I would implement fines and bonuses. Employees should be responsible for their mistakes and everyone would pay fine for lateness, for not completed or not in time completed task. Also, everyone would get cash bonuses every month for their work done appropriately. Also I would provide free tickets to concerts, theatres, cinemas, exhibitions and presentations every month in the limited amount, but enough for people to visit cultural events not less than once a month. I think in this way we will influence cultural development of our employees. Also I have an idea to create a special book for constructive suggestions and requests. For example, someone asks for the new arm chair, because the one he has is too old and so on. This book will help managers to understand the acute needs of employees and to make the working conditions better. To my mind, working conditions are very important for effective work. Also, I assume that it’s necessary to organize corporate events for giving employees the ability to know each other better and to create comfortable atmosphere for better working cooperation.

Organizational culture is another important thing which manager should take into account. American sociologist C. Handy distinguished four types of organizational culture: power culture, role culture, task culture and person culture. (Handy 2) If I were a manager, I would like to have power culture in the company. This type is characterized by strong central power and one chief person who controls and operates the company. The benefit of this type is flexibility that allows organization to respond quickly to the changing situation, to make and implement decisions quickly. I suggest it is very important. This type is acceptable for small companies because with the growth of company it becomes more difficult to control everything.

O. Serrat, Head of the Knowledge Management Center of Asian Development Bank, underlines 10 components that have an impact on organizational culture: Physical Environment, Rules and Policies, Customs and Norms, Operational Structure, Communications, Goals and Measurements, Learning and Development, Ceremonies and Events, Rewards and Recognition and Management Behaviors.  “Importantly,  identifying  discernible  elements  of  culture  allows  organizations to  determine  features  that  can  be  managed  to  help  implement  and  sustain  constructive organizational change. But just as none of the 10 components in the figure shapes organizational culture on its own, none can individually support desired improvements.” (Serrat 2)

Analyzing leadership styles, I suggest that the most successful would be the combination of five types that were distinguished by Mouton and Blake, famous management theorists. They are Country Club Leadership, Produce or Perish Leadership, Impoverished Leadership, Middle-of-the-Road Leadership, Team Leadership. These theorists assumed that the last style is the most effective. I suggest that every leadership style can be inefficient depending on the situation. So, I think that good leader should be able to combine the styles listed before and act in accordance with different circumstances.

In my life I noticed some leadership styles. Nevertheless, ideal for me is a Team Leadership style. I like this style because I can meet both production and employees needs equally. I couldn’t be autocratic, because I believe that the main force of a leader is its devoted employees. People should be inspired and interested in their work. They should understand the goals of the company and its policy; it will cause the highest productivity. Employees should respect their leader and not hate him. Leader should be rigorous and fair, be able to encourage, motivate and punish. To my mind, I’d be able to take care both about my company and my employees. I’d hire only those people who are interested in their position, in hard, but interesting work. I’d do everything to create a good team of workers for the team environment based on close cooperation and respect. In my opinion team of inspired and interested in success people will reach more than a person with excellent personal ambitious without people who trust, respect and follow him. That’s why I believe that my leadership style will succeed.

Motivation plays a considerable role in business. In leadership style chosen by me, motivation is very important. The style is based on very close cooperation and understanding. That’s why it’s necessary to understand my employees’ demands and to understand how to provoke their interest to business. Nothing stimulates people to excellent work, but the ability to satisfy their demands. Plan is simple: they do their work perfectly and I encourage them and give them the opportunity to get what they need. There are many motivation theories which identify person’s inner demands that influence their behavior in different situations. I want to mention only those theories which I will use in future and suggest the most effective.  

The loveliest one is Jeremy Bentham’s “The Carrot and the Stick Approach” theory. This theory was discovered in the 19th  century and is still used by many CEO’s, supervisors, managers. Every year more and more scientists thoroughly develop system of motivation. HR-managers come up with new "sticks" and "carrots." They explore how to retain, attract people, increase the efficiency, punish the staff of the company. The most important and most difficult - to fully understand the team’s needs and wants. A delicious cake for one person can mean a stick for another one. It’s very important to understand the type of your employee’s character. It will be very useful in choosing the methods of management and motivation. For example, professionals like to work not just for the money. Status is the most important for them. They willingly take an opportunity to express themselves in solving complex professional problems. Bonuses and money payments, of course, are pleasant for them, but recognition of their merit is the most important. These people usually don’t need a “stick”. Another type of character is people who appreciate money. The chief of these people should be rigorous and strong, he shouldn’t allow the negligent attitude to the duties. People of this type are concentrated on money and most of all they like to get money doing nothing, that’s why they need appropriate management.

In my opinion, every manager should have perfect psychological skills to execute management effectively. The supervisor can’t be always kind, helpful and ready to satisfy demands for making the life of you employees better and in this way improve productivity is risky. In these conditions manager risks to loose respect and people will take advantage of your good nature. I like “The Carrot and the Stick Approach” theory because it doesn’t allow people to relax, become lazy, rest on laurels and at the same time to feel themselves unhappy, dissatisfied and under pressure. “The Carrot” means promotion in the form of money, bonuses, salary increase or satisfaction in other forms, like recognition of the merit.”The Stick” means punishment and correcting rules. In my view, the perfect combination of “Stick” and “Carrot” in this theory makes management flexible and so successful.

Also, I want to distinguish the Expectancy theory of Vroom V. I can make practical conclusions from this theory and prove that it’s effective. Firstly, I need to mention that anticipation of reward is more important than people considered before. People prefer to choose alternative actions in anticipation of the future rather than on the basis of past experience. Secondly, people are guided by very different amounts of compensation, so that these individual differences can be reconciled with the various tasks of the organization. Finally, the remuneration must be proportionate to the efforts that are made on tasks.

The simplest theory, which I will use in future, is the Goal Setting Theory of Edwin Locke. This theory is effective in its simplicity. According to it, people work diligently when they have a goal to achieve. It can be prize, salary increase, higher position or intangible goals. This theory forms the scientific basis of objectives management that I consider very important.

Concluding my essay, I want to mention that I consider motivation as one of the most active forces on the way to success, the best leadership style is mix of all existed leadership styles and the most applicable type of organizational culture is power of culture. In my view, I have my own strengths and weaknesses in managerial skills, but I suggest that I’m able to improve my skills and to become a good manager.

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