The name manager is a heavy weight title that is not earned on a silver platter, there are many battles to be fought to win and to maintain this enviable title. The manager is responsible for supervising the use of an organization’s resources to meet its goals. He/she is the architect for the organization’s planning, organizing, leading, and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organizational goals effectively and efficiently.
Managers need variety of skills such as human skills, technical skills, conceptual skills and political skills to lead the organization successfully and to maximize shareholders value. In brief;
–The ability to analyse and diagnose a situation and distinguish between cause and effect. The manager must be able to view the organization as a whole and as a total entity as well as a system comprising various parts and subsystems that have been integrated into a single unit.
–The ability to understand, alter, lead, and control the behaviour of other individuals and groups. It is the ability to work with other people in a cooperative manner.
–The specific knowledge and techniques required to perform an organizational role. These skills basically involve the use of knowledge, methods and techniques in performing a job effectively.
–It is the skills required for establishing the right connections, impressing the right people, and then skilfully using these connections to the organizations advantage
The human skills are the most important assets of any successful manager as all other skills deal with people in one form or the other. It is the manager’s job to achieve the organizational objectives through the proper utilization of its human and material resources. However, since the material resources of equipment, capital, facilities, and information and so on can only be used by humans, human resources are the most valuable assets of any organization.
It is in this prominence of human skills that this article sort to lay more emphasis on the manager’s human skills relating to the manager as a sword on how employees are treated. Businesses are becoming multinational and global and managers are required to learn new ways of dealing with people in different countries with different cultures and value systems. Getting things done through others is not a simple task to be taken for granted given the diversity in human nature and culture.
The manager as a sword sees the manager as the cutting edge to get things done in the organization through others based on their human relation approach in an organization. The manager as a sword categorizes the management human relation skills into three;
- Singe edge sword manager
A single edge sword manager is a one sided cutting edge on how he or she relates to people and reacts to situations. The two groups of single edge sword managers include;
- Those who only praise their employees as a form of motivation to get things done and go blind on the wrongs. They have the feeling of creating a friendly environment where they do not want to offend anyone under them and therefore even fail to offer any constructive criticism. The manager recognises that the subordinates are equipped with talents and abilities and that they are capable of bringing new ideas and new methodologies to the work place and that they only need to be inspired in more friendly environment. The employees are encouraged to demonstrate initiative and creativity and take interest in setting plans and policies and have participate in decision-making. The managers’ focus is on better management–labour relations, higher morale and greater job satisfaction in the organization to achieve the overall organizational goals.
- Those who only find faults, criticize and go blind on the good side of their employees. You hardly earn the praise of such managers or do not get rewarded for exceptional performance but are quick to make a hill out of the slightest mistake. They are more result oriented and everything must be done in their way, any deviation from how they want it to be done is not tolerated. They structure the entire work situation in their own way and expect the workers to follow their orders and tolerate no deviation from their orders even if it gives a better result.
- Double edge sword manager
A double edge sword manager rewards hard work and exceptional performance, and also gives constructive criticism where necessary. The subordinates are consulted and their feedback is taken into the decision-making process. The employees are encouraged to demonstrate initiative and creativity and take interest in setting plans and policies and to participate in decision-making and are ready to offer their subordinates any assistance if the need be. The input from the subordinates should are free from any fear of repercussions in case such input is in conflict with the views held by the manager because the manager accommodates creativity and respects divergent views.
- Blunt edge sword manager
This type of manager is the 'I don't care type'. Anything goes for them. They remain silent on everything, making their subordinates make all decisions concerning them. He delegates the authority to subordinates so that they must plan, motivate, control and otherwise be responsible for their own actions. The manager participates very little and instead of leading and directing, he becomes just one of the members. He does not attempt to intervene or regulate or control and there is complete group or individual freedom in decision making. The subordinates are made to operate under a free range environment.
The complexity of human nature demands a lot of work from mangers in getting the best out of their subordinates in achieving organizational objects. It is up to managers not to sleep on the job and adopt contingency approach in dealing with subordinates under different situations as one style of leadership is not the best under all situations.
By Nathan Egyin Hagan
(Chartered Accountant, Ghana)