Factors Affecting Management Performance

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Introduction

Hume city council is a diverse organisation which represents the citizens of Hume city located on the northern outskirts of Melbourne. The city has nine councillors at the local government level as well as representatives at both state and federal levels of government. The council of Hume has been recognised as a leader in achieving social, environmental and economic outcomes with a common goal of connecting the community and celebrating the diversity of Hume. (Hume, 2010)

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Hume city council aims to promote a democratic representation and genuinely engage their citizens to promote a sense of belonging within a healthy, safe, strong and diverse community by identifying community needs and best practice service delivery possible. The services and facilities delivered will be of high quality. In addition the council will pursue efficiency and continuous improvement through customer focus and innovation. (Hume, 2010)

Vicky Phan is a management co-ordinator for the information services department at Hume city council, Vicky has over 3 years experience working at the management level. Vicky’s long term experience in management made her as a potential candidate for this research assignment. The Interview for this assignment took place within the working hours of the council on Wednesday 28th of April 2010.

The Interview

Position: Hume City Council.

Information Services Department Coordinator.

How do you plan your workday?

Usually plan the day before, roster the staff on for the week

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so everyone is aware of what they are scheduled on for the week.

How far into the future do you plan for your job role?

I plan a year ahead as we deal with budgets. Budget incorporates the department’s operational costs and capital expenditures.

How do you plan for your career, and how far into the future do you plan for it?

I plan for my career based on the experience I’ve gained also what opportunities are available, constantly looking for new challenges. During a period of 5 years.

What makes it difficult about your job to achieve goal, what makes it easy?

It difficult to achieve goals when you don’t have processes in place to assist you, as well as when there isn’t enough resources available due to budget constraints especially when working in local government being a not for profit organisation which concentrate on community welfare. as opposed to the private sector. Local government have priorities such as servicing the community whereas the private sector can make profit which will contribute to additional resources.

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How do you motivate your subordinates and how do you maintain your own motivation?

By mentoring your staff and acknowledging their achievements through performance reviews. Also giving them constant feedback and allowing them to develop their skills and learn. Creating opportunities for them to step up and take on new challenges which in turn can lead career progression.

How do you approach the task of leading others?

Providing good leadership by setting an example to your staff members and show them what is expected and appraising them on good performance.

What things do you for in a person who leads you?

Guidance and support

Mentoring

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Feedback – positive or negative

Opportunity for me to develop my skills

Who you see as your mentor, and whom does he provide mentor for?

I see my immediate manager as my mentor

He also provides mentoring to his immediate reports.

How do you mentor?

Provide support and meeting with the team on a 2 week basis

Go over any issues that needs to be raised

However, I also welcome one on one meeting and always make sure that I’ am approachable for anything at all being work related and non work related.

How do you achieve goals by working with subordinates and fellow managers?

By working together as a team.

Make sure that everyone communicates with one another ‘

Put in place processes and keep performance indicators aswell as generate reports on a monthly basis to monitor progress

How do you deal with conflicts in the work groups you manage?

Every situation is treated with confidence, there should be no biasness towards anyone or any party involved and everyone is treated with the same respect.

To resolve issue at times may require meeting with both parties and possibly a third party who is not a member of the department such as HR. Most of the time it’s a miss communication or miss understanding that can easily be worked through and resolved.

How do deal with conflict between you and other managers?

I also maintain professionalism and give them the same respect regardless if I get it back in return. I also make sure that there has been no miss understanding or miss communication. Because its important to maintain those working relationships.

What ethical issues do you face in your management role and how do you deal with them?

You always try to encourage a work life balance in your team however at times certain member can take advantage and you need to be tough and put your organisations operational needs before staff members for instance when staff needs to take time off for personal reasons and there isn’t enough staff to cover the daily operational requirements. Therefore, it can’t be approved because the orgainisation comes first

How is it for you to be aware of diversity?

Its extremely important as we are a multi cultural organisation and more than half of the community residents are from a muslamic background.

At times staffs are required to assist in interpreting for other departments and to communicate with residents.

Does work place diversity give your organisation a competitive advantage? If so why (or why not)?

Being a not for profit org. we don’t really have competitors

However looking at it from a social perspective being diverse and having more than half of our residents with a muslim background, it shows that we service our community very well and this has attracted a growing number of different cultures and nationalities to our municipality.

Discussion/Analysis

A manager conducts, trains, manipulates, directs, deals, supervises, organizes and controls resources, and expenditures, for an organisation or team. Because of these reason managers must have good planning, interpersonal relationship, communication, leadership and decision making skills. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Analysing the interview with Vicky it seems apparent that her work involve a lot of planning, interpersonal, communication and leadership skills. The following segments is the break down and analysis of the important skills Vicky require when full filling her role as a manager.

Planning

Planning involves thinking and applying strategies on how to improve the quality and efficiency of work. Proper planning allows for effective time management and saves cost and resources. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Vicky’s work revolves a lot around planning in the long term, for instance, from the interview, Vicky had to plan up to one year ahead to deal with budgeting.

Vicky also has to plan for the short term such as directing work to her subordinates to carry out during their working hours.

In addition to help in planning Vicky encourages communication. Put in place performance indicators as well as generate reports on a monthly basis to monitor progress.

Interpersonal Relationship Skill

Managers must have the unique ability to lead and unify others. In addition to this, their roles demand more attributes and complex leadership skills that takes into consideration the various characters of different employees. This role is more challenging and demanding in instances where the employees are composed of diverse individuals.

As a manager it is important to develop trust and confidence, and being able to resolve conflicts will result in a more productive, goal oriented working environment. Management should encourage their team to ask for help, get involved and participate. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Vicky has to show a sense of empathy and respect to the personal values and ideas of others if she wants to achieve their co-operation. From the interview it can be seen that Vicky tries not to show any biasness towards any disagreements or conflict that occur, She also tries to maintain a level of professionalism by giving her subordinates a chance to step up and regularly encouraging and listening to them when they give feedback, by doing so Vicky builds their trust and self esteem and in return gets them more involved in their line of work which enhances performance of work. An understanding of the unique needs of various employees will enable Vicky to effectively manage the workforce and avoid inter personal conflicts.

Communication

Effective communication remains the most critical management tool in enhancing cooperation and understanding amongst employees.

A manager is the middle person in between the top management level and the team that reports to him/her. Managers have to ensure that communication is smooth and clear to avoid misinterpretations. It is useful for a manager to develop customer service skills, especially when they deal with clients. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Vicky’s line of work enforces her to maintain good communication skills especially when it comes to mentoring, guidance/support and feedback with her team. This enables her to effectively monitor the general performance of her employees. Good communication will align the team in the right direction and visions to meet up with the firm’s expectations.

Leadership

The performance of the team depends on managers abilities to encourage and motivate them. It is the manager’s job to coach and guide the team to improve themselves and the quality of their work. Managers also must encourage the team to excel and accept responsibility and self management. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Vicky required a lot of leadership skill at times when guidance and support are needed from her team, Leadership and planning skills are also seen at times when Vicky has to decipher what is best for the organisation, which means she has to be tough for example encouraging a team member to be more responsible and disallowing a team member from taking leave when their isn’t enough staffing to cover the operations.

Vicky also encourages her team by acknowledging her team achievements through performance reviews. and giving them constant feedback and allowing them to develop their skills and learn. Creating opportunities for them to step up and take on new challenges which in turn can lead career progression.

Appraiser

Managers are also expected to track the progress of each individual’s activities and effectiveness, review them and offer feedback and guidance. (Pat Brill, 2006)

Vicky has performance indicators set up and reports are made on a monthly basis to monitor progress. Vicky also provides support by meeting with her team on a 2 week basis to go over any issues that needs to be raised which encourages her team to speak out. By doing this also enhances the teams involvement and satisfaction.

Other Factors that may affect management performance

Diversity

Greenberg (2004) defines workplace diversity as the variation of differences among the workforce of an organisation; compromising of age, race, gender, ethnic groups, personality, organisational function, education and background to name a handful. As Green et al. (2002) acknowledges, increasing globalisation, requires more interaction among people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, beliefs than ever before. An important issue for management today is maximising and capitalising on workplace diversity, perhaps only because in the face of globalisation, as stakeholders participate in a worldwide economy as opposed to an insular marketplace, with competition coming from every continent, organisations need diversity to become more creative and open to change.

It is acknowledged that diversity gives an organisation significant advantages some of these advantages include an increase in creativity, productivity and language skills. (Williams/McWilliams, 2010)

Its extremely important to Vicky that her team is diverse as she works in a multi cultural organisation. At times staffs are required to assist in interpreting for other departments and to communicate with residents of different backgrounds.

The fact still remains however, as confirmed by Black Enterprise (1993), that as more minorities join the workforce, it is the companies that manage diversity well that will prove successful in obtaining a competitive advantage in a highly competitive environment.

Previously, “diversity was assimilated in the workforce and people expected to hide or adapt their cultural differences in order to blend in with the companies’ dominant culture” (Black Enterprise, 1993). However, the suggested and proven contemporary method advises management to treat diversity as an asset that provides a variety of viewpoints and problem-solving skills to the company. According to Black Enterprise (1993) “good diversity management can only encourage employees to develop strengths and present innovative ideas”.

Taking this into consideration, “one can fairly deduce that diversity is beneficial to both employees and employers in the sense that respecting individual differences can increase productivity with the potential to eliminate the possibility of lawsuits but improve and increase opportunities in marketing, recruitment, creativity and business image” (Esty et al, 1995); cited in Green et al. (2002). Green et al. (2002) further mentioned diversity as vital for an organisation’s success in an era where flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness and also emphasises that one must not ignore the negative repercussions of an absence of, or ineffective or bad diversity management

Unethical Behaviour

Unethical behaviour has the capacity to reduce employee commitment to the achievement of the organization’s objectives. The role of management must involve behaviour techniques that seek to enhance respect and motivation amongst other employees. It is important in the leadership process to encourage and motivate the team this might mean to reduce and prevent factors that can hinder this process, such factors can include unethical behaviours which are behaviour that cause unhappiness and concern in the organization and can include stealing, sexual abuse and workplace violence. (Williams/McWilliams, 2010)

These factors can be damaging to the working environment and may degrade the quality of work. At times Vicky may have to be tough to deal with such negative influences.

Field study review/discussion

This assignment involved working as part of a team to achieve set goals. Careful planning and organisational skills were used to set goals and task for each of the members of the team.

Planning was done to set the time place and day for the interview with the manager, our team goal was to conduct the interview by Wednesday. During the interview careful planning and goals were given to each member to split up the work. One member would do the scripting one would ask the questions and the other would keep an eye out to make sure everything is going according to plan.

After the interview each member was given individual tasks to complete.

Communication were made between members of the group to keep track and appraise the progress of each member and to remind and encourage the members of the group to plan ahead and ensuring that the team is on the right track.

When the goals were completed, the team got together to combine their individual pieces of work.

One team member was given the task to make sure everything was in order and that the piece of finished work was professionally presented.

Conclusion

The successful design, development and implementation of management decisions are very complex and at times daunting tasks for many managers. Usually, managers will be faced with daily problems that require the application of tools that will ensure for the successful operations irrespective of the sectors they manage such as the identification of the objectives of the organization, alternative means of achieving the stated objectives and the selection of the means that accomplish the objectives in the most efficient manner. The first process in the decision making process will entail the identification of the problem.

In management, managers are key figures that motivate, guide and support the team, the overall success of the team is very much dependant on the management skills of the team manager. Good management skills involve possessing great planning, leadership, interpersonal relationship, appraisal and communications skills. Planning involves setting achievable and timely goals. Communication skills can prevent disorganisation through misunderstanding and ensuring that the team is aligned and on the right track. Leadership skills can help motivate the team, encouraging the team to be more aware and responsible.

Leadership also involves encouraging the team to improve on the qualities of their work and be able to self manage. Interpersonal relationship skills helps to build up self esteem of the team, gets the team more involved by listening and giving opportunities for members of the team to step and give ideas. Finally appraisals skills are required to monitor and keep track of the team’s progress to see if the team members are on the right track.

Our team have noticed being a manager isn’t an easy task there are a lot of factors to consider. Often a lot of feed back are required from managers so they can effectively drive their plans into motion. Often managers will require a sense of co-operation and involvement of their team. Because of the important roles of managers they will continue to play an important role in an overall success of the team or the organisation that they are representing.

References:

Williams, McWilliams, ‘MGMT’, 2010-2012 ed, Cengage Learning, Australia, Victoria.

Pat Brill, ‘Leading the Way’, 2006, Penguin, Sydney, Australia.

Hume City Council, 2010. Web.

Greenberg, J. (2004) Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions Ezine Articles. Web.

Green, K; Lopez, M; Wysocki, A; and Kepner, K. (2002). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools. University of Florida, IFAS; HR022. Web.

Black Enterprise. (2001). Managing a multicultural workforce. Black Enterprise Magazine.

Esty, Katharine, Richard Griffin, and Marcie Schorr-Hirsh (1995). Workplace diversity. A managers guide to solving problems and turning diversity into a competitive advantage. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation.

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