Managing People Essay Example

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Managing People

According to Warren Bennis, «managing people is like herding cats and cats won’t allow themselves to be herded». Cats have their own thinking and reasoning capacities, cats have predefined goals and objectives, cats seek resources to achieve specified goals, and herding the cats creates challenges because it becomes difficult to fulfill the requirements of the different cats. Cats can be seen from the perspective of management that aims to herder the employees/people. The people are usually guided and have defined roles and responsibilities, and herding the people may create additional challenges rather than ensuring the people fulfill their roles and objectives. People are motivated by different variables, diversity creates additional challenges in the workplace, and operational needs also worsen the situation of herding people. Management should understand the threats of herding people, and the people should be motivated and given the resources to accomplish assigned duties. The management should understand the different needs of the people/employees and create an organizational environment that incorporates numerous operational expectations. Numerous methods and managerial capacities exist that may be employed in ensuring the aspect of herding is removed from managing people.

Management should understand the significance of building trust and mutual respect in contributing to better results. Employees should not be herded rather given the capacities to accomplish their respective requirements. According to Hotho and Champion (2011), it includes creating the manner in which the management views the people/employees in fulfilling the obligations. For example, mutual respect enables the people to operate without being followed or checking the accomplishment while building trust enable the people to present their views and accomplish their duties without the idea of lying or stealing (Yeung et al. 2012). Herding creates mistrust and disrespect because the people think they are not valued, and tend to employ approaches, which are inappropriate in accomplishing the assigned duties. Therefore, advocating for trust and mutual respect are important in giving the employees/people freedom to operate without thinking what the manager will say.

Management should not use their power in an inappropriate manner. Managers should employ soft skills in directing the employees to accomplish their duties (Wooten and James, 2008). Persuading and influencing are important in ensuring the people are led towards a common purpose/common goal. Shriberg and Harris (2012) argue utilization of force and power is inappropriate because the people may revolt. The solution is utilizing methods that the people will feel valued and contribute to the accomplishment of the goals and objectives (McGurk, 2009). Managers have to employ soft management skills in ensuring the people feel valued and contribute to the success of their assigned objectives and duties.

People should be given opportunities to present their views and aspirations. Managers should not be frustrated because of changing environmental conditions and start ordering and commanding people, which automatically worsen the situation. Shriberg and Harris (2012) presents, the managers have to understand the changing dynamics and employ strategies such as adoring, persuading, cajoling, coaxing and leading gently the people. The business environment is dynamic, and managers have to embrace different strategies to motivate the people to address the dynamics (McCallum and O’Connell, 2009). Frustration is common but managing people do not require illustrating the frustration, but the frustration should be managed. In addition, the frustration should not be transferred to the people but allow the people to present their aspirations and views without shouting them down (Thomson and Thomson, 2012). Hence, giving people opportunities to present their views and expectations are integral to modern management theories and methodologies.

Appreciating diversity is also important. Diversity comes in different forms ranging from culture to capability of an individual. Understanding the diverse requirements of people and create modalities in incorporating the different requirements in a framework leading to an inclusion strategy of satisfying the people is crucial (Yeung et al. 2012). The weaknesses and strengths of an individual should be understood in creating the frameworks so that misunderstandings are minimized (Wooten and James, 2008). For example, the strengths can be capitalized while the weaknesses can be managed to reflect the requirements of the organization and strategies in place. Inclusion strategy is crucial since the weaknesses in a given situation can be an advantage to a different situation. Hence, inclusiveness is integral to managing people, and leading people to achieve aims and objectives.

Managing people requires empowerment and creating an environment to enable the people to be creative and employ their skills/experiences in accomplishing the assigned or needed duties. The leader should define the objectives, plan the process and organize resources, which contributes to the achievement of organizational goals (Yeung et al. 2012). However, organizing and assigning resources is not enough without the aspect of empowerment. Empowerment is the strategies designed to increase the degree of self-determination and autonomy in people to enable achievement of personal and professional goals (Hotho and Champion, 2011). Managing of people should seek to advance the requirements of empowerment since empowerment would contribute the development requirements of people and translates to a general improvement of the society. Limiting the empowerment capacity limits the creativity of employees and also may create additional misunderstandings. The solution is appreciating the uniqueness of the people and creating empowerment to achieve their different goals and expectations.

Even cats make mistakes while chasing rats and leaders should take a positive attitude to failure and learn from failure. Managing people and concentration of success creates challenges and managers have to appreciate instances when mistakes occur. According to McCallum and O’Connell (2009), the mistakes and failures should be used as a learning framework, which enables future prevention of the same problems or similar problems. In managing people, positive attitude is integral because the attitude is used to address the shortcomings and challenges in the workplace (Wooten and James, 2008). Employing a positive attitude towards failure addresses emotions and self-pity of the individuals who contributed to the problem (Yeung et al. 2012). Management of people through encouraging a positive attitude to problems is imperative in leading the people to success and addressing problems that arise during the process.

Leaders and managers have to appreciate effective communication in managing and leading the people. Effective communication is important because it enables the people to appreciate the direction and understand the reasons why a given direction has been chosen (Yeung et al. 2012). Effective communication also enables the people to appreciate and contribute towards the developing processes (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner 2004). It avails tools and techniques that complement the operational requirements resulting in achievement of organization objectives and goals. The people understand their requirements and their respective roles in advancing the requirements of the organization (Wooten and James, 2008). Employing any management strategy without effective communication may not improve the processes and achieved the aimed goals. Therefore, balancing effective communication with effective management skills leads an organization or team of people to effectiveness. Continuous and effective communication is important in managing people, and the people can express their views easily.

Cross-boundary work, autonomy, and increased diversification require a greater focus on integrative capabilities, conflict resolution and leadership. The management of people should incorporate numerous variables and factors. For example, working cross-boundary creates numerous challenges that can be accomplished through effective leadership. It includes allocation of resources and capitalizing on conflict resolution strategies to ensure each individual fulfills their tasks (Pant and Baroudi, 2008). It is imperative to note threats of conflicts at the workplace and the management process should have measures to continue effectiveness while addressing the misunderstanding. People have to understand the significance of conflict resolutions in the diverse working environment, and the differences of different people working together. It ensures the weaknesses are addressed while the different stakeholders capitalize on the strengths of diversity. With more autonomy and increased diversity in the new working conditions that do not required defined borders but requires a networked organizational form, chances increase in which the people will drift like cats with the purpose of pursuing their self-interests (Wooten and James, 2008). The newly defined organization also increases the chances of risk because of increased diversity translating in an increase in clashing identity values. Managing people integration of diversity and understanding the weaknesses of diversity enable implementation of structures appropriate to accomplish organizational requirements. Thus, diversity and conflict are unavoidable when it comes to management of people.

Bullying and unhealthy competition in the organizational environment create dominance in which individuals seeks to satisfy their values and interests (Shriberg and Harris, 2012). Cat herding should not be seen productive pastimes in a new form of organizations because the traditional models of management are not effective. The old management mindsets should be reviewed to integrate the aspects of the new organization environment. Adhering to the old management methods, Wooten and James (2008) states that it results in higher costs of operation and may make the organization stationary rather than evolving. For example, unhealthy competition and bullying are some of the inefficiencies that affect the entire operations at the workplace. Yeung et al. (2012) argue it affects the way people operate and accomplish different operational requirements. Lack of motivation, absenteeism at the work, frequent conflicts and general lack of enthusiasm are examples of symptoms of unhealthy competition. The solution is embracing structures and methods that encourage healthy competition, which is integral to the successes and creativity (Taylor, Doherty and McGraw, 2008). The healthy competition also increases benefits to an organization because individuals aim to achieve more compared with others employees. However, the management has to understand the limit of competition since excessive competition may breed abhorrence.

Organizational competencies are important, which comes in forms of collaboration, negotiation and leadership which translate to the maximization of collaborative advantage and avoid high conflict costs that may affect the requirements of the organization (Martin, 2006). It is imperative to understand that herding cats require herders. Therefore, some leaders can be seen as cat herders rather than leaders. Leaders have to do a little self-reflection to determine whether they are cat herders or leaders. A huge difference exists between herders and leaders because leaders create the conditions that enable the employees to operate effectively while herders direct the employees and define each step to be followed (Dowling, 2008). Herding or micromanaging results in a lack of motivation because the employees wait to be told the next step or what should be done. Leaders ought to guide the employees by providing the resources and core competencies, which translates to individual motivation towards accomplishing tasks and duties.

Specific conflict structures should be in place. Conflict resolution is also integral to the successes of changing organizational environments. Bush (2008) states that the conflict resolution approach is supposed to employ a framework that queries the problem and incorporate numerous fundamentals in ensuring the problem does not reoccur. The needs and requirements of the people are a different meaning conflict of ideas and fundamentals are common, and forcing these divergent views to a specific requirement is difficult. The management and leaders, Pant and Baroudi (2008) states, should review the circumstances leading to the problem, which translates to the implementation of measures and strategies to correct the problem and address the source of the conflict. Conflicts are sometimes important because it is possible to determine the source of the problem and to correct the source may result in additional benefits to the organization.

In conclusion, “managing people is like herding cats and cats won’t allow themselves to be herded” directly relates to the task that management has. In managing people, it is important to analyze the different scenario and provide tools and techniques to accomplish the requirements defined. Strategies such as conflict resolution, collaboration, and motivation, effective allocation of resources and effective communication are important in ensuring people operate effectively. It is difficult to herd employees because the employees have different aims and originate from different backgrounds, and the solution is to ensure each of the individuals is satisfied. Satisfaction is derived from allowing the people to operate without micromanaging but encouraging the people to use their creativity and capacities to fulfill; their goals and objectives.


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