Management Skills Required for Manage Groups or Teams

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Introduction

Human skills are those abilities to work under peaceful conditions with other people both individually and as groups or teams (Dana, 2001, p.35). Managers are individuals within companies or organizations who are charged with the responsibility of not only ensuring that operations are running smoothly but also being able to get the best out of their employees (Uzzi & Dunlap, 2005, p.1). Therefore, managers are expected to have particular managerial to be able to carry out their activities and duties. Managers are able to motivate, inspire trust and enthusiasm, communicate and lead, visualizing how the organization or company fits into its broader environment as well as understanding the relationship between numerous subunits (Robbins, Bergmann, Stagg & Coutler, 2003, p.120).

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The main purpose of this study is to discuss a strategy to establish and/or improve personal managerial influence in an organization and to relate this strategy to either organizational structure or organizational frames. The central argument will be the type of managerial skills that a manager is required to possess in order to be able to lead and manage groups or teams within an organization. The study will also discuss conflict and conflict management as part of the managerial skills required by a manager in order to lead the organization towards its objectives. It will also look at a clear picture of managerial skills implemented within the organization.

Recommendations will also be provided at the end of this study.

Prioritized List

  1. Background information will cover general information as concerns responsibilities and requirements of a manager and the importance of having managerial skills. It will also look at groups and the types of groups that exist within an organization or company.
  2. The study will then take an in-depth look at the theoretical part of managerial skills, discussing one or two theories that have been formulated as concerns organizational management and managerial skills. It will also discuss organizational conflicts and how best to handle them.
  3. Evidence that will be in form of findings will be provided to justify the literature review and provide proof of what has been previously discussed.
  4. Recommendations as to how best to improve or further implement managerial skills will be provided and the study concluded.

Literature Review

Background Information

A manager’s responsibility has in the past been considered complex and varied whereby managers are required to possess certain skills to enable them to carry out their duties and activities that are related to being a manager (Beck, 2003, p.57). Basic knowledge as concerns organizational management is a necessary requirement during the developmental stage of an organization. A manager is considered a vital part of any organization or company and therefore should have their own strategy of leadership style as well as motivation theory so as to support and influence others to effectively work hard (Robbins, et al., 2003, p.135).

In the end, set organizational objectives will be accomplished and competitive advantages for the organization gained in the complex market. Upon joining the managerial ranks of an organization or company, managers are expected to possess certain managerial skills that will help them perform their tasks successfully (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.3).

In order for one to be considered an effective manager, it is important for them to possess a variety of skills as not all managers have the skills that would make them be considered effective managers (Carlopio, et al., 2001, p.223). Moreover, different areas of management in the organizational framework also need the implementation of a variety of managerial skills (Huxman & Vangen, 2000, p.1168).

Managerial skills development incorporates a number of characteristics that differentiate them from other forms of managerial practices. Managerial skills are controllable in that their performance is under the control of the manager or person in charge (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.4). Current managers are expected to possess intuition, the ability to work under pressure, the ability to motivate subordinate staff, be able to manage individuals as well as conflict management and handle crises that may arise to ensure the smooth running of business operations (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley, 2004, p.14).

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Even though skills may engage others and require cognitive work, they are actions that individuals themselves are able to control. Managerial skills are also developable in that their performance can be improved. For managers to be effective, they must be dependent on combinations of skills in order to achieve desired results for instance, for them to motivate their employees, influence, supportive communication and empowerment should be implemented (Carlopio, et al., 2001, p.224).

Within the context of an organization or company, a group can be defined as a number of people having similar or a common organizational purpose (Hamel & Breen, 2007, p.222). Modern-day organizations work in teams or form groups for the effective achievement of tasks assigned to them. A team or a group can be defined as a collection of people who organize themselves to accomplish a set goal, are interdependent and can be identified by observers and themselves as a team or group (Uzzi & Dunlap, 2005, p.2).

An organization can incorporate a number of groups within itself for instance traditional, problem-solving and self-directed groups. Traditional teams are departments or functional areas where managers or leaders are appointed by the organization (Fisher, 2000, p.174).

Problem-solving teams are those formed when problems arise that cannot be solved within the standard organizational framework, involving membership from different areas of the organization (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.5). The main responsibility of problem-solving teams is to find a solution to a problem as soon as it arises. On the other hand, self-directed teams are groups given autonomy over making decisions as to how a certain task is to be carried out (Dana, 2001, p.26). An organization provides such groups with an objective and determines how it can be achieved.

Theoretical Framework

In modern-day organizations and companies, managers and executives are charged with the responsibility of being communicators as well as change agents and therefore are required to develop certain managerial skills (Robbins, et al., 2003, p. 133). These managers or executives need to keep up with current and everyday changes in their regions, anticipate and observe any changes while acting upon decisions made in the course of these changes (Uzzi & Dunlap, 2005, p.11). According to the theory of Reasoned Action and Planned formulated in 1980 by Fishbein and Ajzen, states that an individual’s behavior is dependent upon their intention to act upon the behavior (Dana, 2001, p.81). The person’s attitude towards change together with environmental influence is considered two major factors that affect one’s attention.

According to Robert Katz, there are three main managerial skills that must be developed and enhanced by the organization and include human, conceptual and technical managerial skills (Robbins, et al., 2003, p.129). Human skills are those that involve the ability to direct motivate and work with people or groups within an organization or company whether they are superiors, peers or subordinates (Uzzi & Dunlap, 2005, p.3). Conceptual managerial skills are those that require an ability to be able to understand the degree of intricacy in a given situation and to reduce it to a level that specific courses of action can be driven (Carlopio, et al., 2001, p.226).

On the other hand, technical skills are those abilities required to carry out a specific assignment for instance analyzing marketing statistics, drafting a design for a new airfoil on a plane or writing computer programs (Beck, 2003, p.63).

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Technical skills are of great necessity as regards managerial skills at the supervisory level while human skills are considered essential in the frequent interactions with workers at all levels (Linstead, et al., 2004, p.18). In addition, conceptual skills are not necessarily required at the lower supervisory level though are necessary at the middle management level. When handling groups within an organization or company, managers have the task of managing people from different backgrounds and experiences and this at times leads to conflicts within these groups (Alderman, 2004, p.71).

The majority of organizations, including Brown & Sons Inc., are currently incorporating groups or teams in order to accomplish tasks as they are capable of performing at a higher level as compared to that of individual workers (Eisaguire, 2002, p.109).

Modern-day management theories tend to focus on the role of organization, group performance and supervision where the manager or the leader is based on a system of punishment and reward (Alderman, 2004, p.72). They also tend to help interpret as well as account for the ever-changing nature of modern-day organizational environments. Henri Fayol developed a management theory known as an administrative theory which focuses on personal duties of management at the management layer (Robbins, et al., 2003, p.127). Coordination was aligning and harmonizing team or group efforts while control was to ensure that the other activities are performed according to the laid down procedures and rules (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.6). Henri believed that individual effort, as well as group dynamics, formed an ideal organization or company.

In the recent past, a number of managerial actions have been observed to cause workplace conflicts and disagreements (Alderman, 2004, p.75). Circumstances where individuals do not like in others what they do not like in themselves and where strong personal natures do not seem to match also results in conflicts within groups or teams. It is common that within groups or teams there be a dominant character where individuals wish to maintain the amount of influence exerted in the setting (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.7). Power conflict occurs because of individuals within groups trying to control each other.

Managers of any organization are expected to use available resources in order to be able to solve any problem from its source. One way in which they can solve problems from their root causes is through brainstorming, which is considered an attempt to find an alternative solution to a problem (Alderman, 2004, p.62). In order to minimize conflicts within groups, managers of an organization or company ought to intentionally build relationships with subordinates for instance by encouraging them to contribute to and participate in decision-making processes as well as meet them individually alone in the office at least once a month (Robbins, et al., 2003, p.130). Managers or leaders can also develop a team agreement as to how conflicts will be resolved if they occur in the future. Employees should also be informed of any decisions that the management decides upon and why it concluded on implementing the alternative made through the decision.

The early 1970s saw the development of conflict theories that are currently being used in modern-day management in organizations and companies. One such theory is that of conflict styles developed by Kenneth Thomas and Ralf Kilmann who identified 5 different methods of dealing with conflicts that arise in the workplace (Hamel & Breen, 2007, p.244). These include a collaborative style where individuals tend to meet the needs of all parties involved in carrying out the activities of the organization and a competitive style where individuals tend to take a firm stand while knowing what they want to achieve (Eisaguire, 2002, p.110).

The two conflict styles in the theory are compromising styles where individuals try finding solutions that will partially be satisfying to everyone and avoiding styles where individuals seek to entirely evade the conflict (Linstead, et al., 2004, p.25). Within Brown & Sons Inc. accommodating and collaborating styles are usually implemented when conflict arises within the organization.

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Findings

According to a recent article by Nagesh Belludi (2010) entitled Right Attitudes – Ideas for Impact, a number of managerial responsibilities are discussed as well as challenges faced under managerial skills (Hamel & Breen, 2007, p.249). The author discusses the tough choices that a manager can be required to make especially during the hiring of new staff when the economy is not at its best. As managers or executives are sometimes faced with a lot of responsibility, it is wise for them to, at times, try delegating some of their responsibilities to employees who do not directly report to them. For instance by providing all the required input and being specific as to what is expected, how and when the results are expected and asking for timely updates from the employees (Fisher, 2000, p.176).

The article goes on to suggest a number of considerations that a manager needs to practice as part of their managerial skills and these include communicating their directions and priorities to their organization (Carlopio, et al., 2001, p.232). They should consider introducing a culture of accountability where each employee is required to live up to the set values and objectives of the organization or company. Managers or executives should also make an effort of training and developing their employees as a means of aligning their individual values and aspirations with those of the organization (Robbins, et al., 2003, p.140).

Looking at the above-mentioned article, it is clear that the theory of Henri Fayol is being applied in that by mentioning the responsibilities required of the manager as a way of enhancing managerial skills within an organization, his principles are effectively being utilized (Berg & Karlen, 2007, p.8).

Recommendations

As has been mentioned before, it is important for a manager to possess a variety of managerial skills in order to be considered effective. Therefore, a manager should be able to allocate time to various activities and projects as they tend to have busy schedules and are often interrupted to attend to problems with employees, or other unavoidable factors (Beck, 2003, p.84). In addition, one of the key managerial skills that a manager or executive needs to possess is the communication skill where they are expected to listen to their employees as well as supervisors and also hear complaints and recommendations on a regular basis (Hamel & Breen, 2007, p.269).

Managers and leaders ought to realize that everything they do or how they behave will be emulated and set as a standard by their employees. Employees tend to learn from watching how their employers behave and therefore they should be careful as to how they handle different situations for instance dealing with a rude client or a worker who is not performing to the best of their ability (Fisher, 2000, p.177). Managerial skills require that managers and executives or leaders lead by example as well as follow any laid down organizational rules and regulations. Appropriate follow-up as regards implementation of decisions should be carried out in order to make sure that they are performed as per expectations (Linstead, et al., 24).

Conclusion

Managers are perceived to be essential parts of any organization or company who are charged with the responsibility of carrying out the organizational function of staffing, controlling and leading their employees.

As a result, managerial skills required tend to vary at different organizational levels and therefore it is important for managers to decide on the best managerial skills and theories to apply within their organization in order to ensure productivity and success of their business.

References

Alderman, M. K., 2004. Motivation for Achievement: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning, 2nd edition, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 53 – 88.

Beck D. John W., 2003. The Leader’s Window: Mastering the Four Styles of Leadership to Build High-Performing Teams, New York: Wiley, pp. 57 – 90.

Berg, M. & Karlen, J., 2007. Mental Modes in Project Management Coaching. Engineering Management Journal, 19(3), pp. 3 – 12.

Carlopio, J. Andrewartha, G. & Armstrong, H. 2001. Developing Management Skills in Australia, 2nd edition, Australia: Addison Wesley Longman, pp. 223 – 245.

Dana, D., 2001. Conflict Resolution: Mediation Tools for Everyday Worklife, New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 24 – 97.

Eisaguire, L., 2002. The Power of a Good Fight, Indianapolis: Alpha Books, pp. 101 – 115.

Fisher, K., 2000. Leading Self-directed Work Teams: A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hamel, G. & Breen, B., 2007. The Future of Management, Harvard Business Press, pp. 222 – 272.

Huxham, C. & Vangen, S., 2000. Leadership in the Shaping and Implementation of Collaboration Agendas: How Things Happen in a (Not Quite) Joined-Up World, Academy of Management Journal, 43(6), pp. 1159 – 1175.

Linstead, S. Fulop, L. & Lilley, S. 2004. Management and Organization, A Critical Text, New York: Palgrave McMillan.

Robbins, S., Bergmann, R., Stagg, I., and Coutler, M. 2003. Management, 3rd edition, Australia: Prentice Hall, pp. 120 – 141.

Uzzi, B., and Dunlap, S. 2005. How to Build Your Network, Harvard Business Review, 83(12) pp. 1 – 15.

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