What do you think makes a good manager? Which four of the following qualities do you think are the most important?
A being decisive: able to make quick decisions
B being efficient: doing things quickly, not leaving tasks unfinished, having a tidy desk, and so on
C being friendly and sociable
D being able to communicate with people
E being logical, rational and analytical
F being able to motivate and inspire and lead people
G being authoritative: able to give orders
H being competent: knowing one’s job perfectly, as well as the work of one’s subordinates
I being persuasive: able to convince people to do things
J having good ideas
This text summarizes some of Peter Drucker’s views on management. As you read about his description of the work of a manger, decide whether the five different functions he mentions require the four qualities you selected in your discussion, or others you did not choose.
Peter Drucker, the well-known American business professor and consultant, suggests that the work of a manager can be divided into planning (setting objectives), organizing, integrating (motivating and communicating), measuring, and developing people.
First of all, managers (especially senior managers such as company chairmen – and women – and directors) set objectives, and decide how their organization can achieve them. This involves developing strategies, plans and precise tactics, and allocating resources of people and money.
Secondly, managers organize. They analyse and classify the activities of the organization and the relations among them. They divide the work into manageable activities and then into individual jobs. They select people to manage these units and perform the jobs.
Thirdly, managers practice the social skills of motivation and communication. They also have to communicate objectives to the people responsible for attaining them. They have to make the people who are responsible for performing individual jobs form teams. They make decisions about pay and promotion. As well as organizing and supervising the work of their subordinates, they have to work with people in other areas and functions.
Fourthly, managers have to measure the performance of their staff, to see whether the objectives set for the organization as a whole and for each individual member of it are being achieved.
Lastly, managers develop people – both their subordinates and themselves.
Obviously, objectives occasionally have to be modified or changed. It is generally the job of a company’s top managers to consider the needs of the future, and to take responsibility for innovation, without which any organization can only expect a limited life. Top managers also have to manage a business’s relations with customers, suppliers, distributors, bankers, investors, neighbouring communities, public authorities, and so on, as well as deal with any major crises which arise. Top managers are appointed and supervised and advised (and dismissed) by a company’s board of directors.
Although the tasks of a manager can be analyzed and classified in this fashion, management is not entirely scientific. It is human skill. Business professors obviously believe that intuition and ‘instinct’ are not enough; there are management skills that have to be learnt. Drucker, for example, wrote over 20 years ago that ‘ Altogether this entire book is based on the proposition that the days of the “intuitive” manager are numbered’, meaning that they were coming to an end. But some people are clearly good at management, and others are not. Some people will be unable to put management techniques into practice. Others will have lots of technique, but few good ideas. Outstanding managers are rather rare.
a. Complete the following sentences with these words.
Achieved board of directors communicate innovations manageable performance
Resources setting supervise
1 Managers have to decide how best to allocate the human, physical and capital …….. available to them.
2 Managers – logically – have to make sure that the jobs and tasks given to their subordinates are …….. .
3 There is no point in ……. objectives if you don’t ……… them to your staff.
4 Managers have to ……. their subordinates, and to measure, and try to improve, their ……… .
5 Managers have to check whether objectives and targets are being ……. .
6 A top manager whose performance is unsatisfactory can be dismissed by the company’s ………. .
7 Top managers are responsible for the ………. that will allow a company to adapt to a changing world.
b. The text contains a number of common verb-noun partnerships (e.g. achieve objectives, deal with crises, and so on).
Match up these verb and nouns to make common collocations.
14. Types of Managers
We have been using the term manager to mean anyone who is responsible for subordinates and other organizational resources. There are many different types of managers, with diverse tasks and responsibilities. Managers can be classified in two ways: by their level in the organization – so-called first-line, middle, and top managers – and by the range of organizational activities for which they are responsible – so-called functional and general managers.
First-Line Managers. The lowest level in an organization at which individuals are responsible for the work of others is called first-line or first-level management. First-line managers direct operating employees only; they do not supervise other managers. Examples of first-line managers are the “foreman” (maistru) or production supervisor (sef de productie) in a manufacturing plant, the technical supervisor (sef de echipa) in a research department, and the clerical supervisor (sef de birou) in a large office. First-level mangers are often called “supervisors.”
Middle Managers. The term middle management can include to more than one level in an organization. Middle managers direct the activities of lower-level managers and sometimes also those of operating employees. Middle managers’ principal responsibilities are to direct the activities that implement their organizations’ policies and to balance the demands of their superiors with the capacities of their subordinates.
Top Managers. Composed of a comparatively small group of executives, top management is responsible for the overall management of the organization. It establishes operating policies and guides the organization’s interactions with its environment. Typical titles of top managers are “chief executive officer”, “president” and “senior vice-president”. Actual titles vary from one organization to another and are not always a reliable guide to membership in the highest management classification.
The other major classification of managers depends on the scope of the activities they manage.
Functional Managers. The functional manager is responsible for only one organizational activity, such as production, marketing, sales, or finance. The people and activities headed (a conduce) by a functional manager are engaged in a common set of activities.
General Managers. The general manager, on the other hand, oversees (a supraveghea) a complex unit, such as a company, a subsidiary, or an independent operating division. He or she is responsible for all the activities of that unit, such as its production, marketing, sales, and finance.
A small company may have only one general manager – its president or executive vice-president – but a large organization may have several, each at the head of a relatively independent division. In a large food company, for example, there might be a grocery-production division, a refrigerated-products division, and a frozen-food-products division, with a different general manager responsible for each. Like the chief executive of a small company, each of these divisional heads would be responsible for all the activities of the unit.
chief executive officer = director executiv
senior vice-president = vice-presedinte senior (mai important decat cel Junior)
president = presedinte
executive vice-president – vice-presedinte executiv
chief executive = director sau administator al unei firme
15. The Management Process
Plans give the organization its objectives and set up the best procedures for reaching them. In addition, plans become the guides by which the organization obtains and commits (a angaja) the resources required to reach its objectives, members of the organization carry on activities consistent with (concordant cu) the chosen objectives and procedures, and progress toward the objectives is monitored and measured, so that corrective action can be taken if progress is unsatisfactory.
The first step in planning is the selection of goals for the organization. Then objectives are established for the subunits of the organization – its divisions, departments, and so on. Once the objectives are determined, programs are established for achieving them in a systematic manner. Of course, in selecting objectives and developing programs, the manager considers their feasibility and whether will be acceptable to the organization’s managers and employees.
Plans made by top management for the organization as a whole may cover periods as long as five or ten years. In a large organization, such as a multinational energy corporation, those plans may involve commitments (angajamente) of billions of dollars. Planning at the lower levels, by middle or first-line managers, covers much shorter periods. Such plans may be for the next day’s work, for example, or for a two-hour meeting to take place in a week.
Once managers have established objectives and developed plans or programs to reach them, they must design and staff an organization able to carry out those programs successfully. Different objectives will require different kinds of organizations. For example, an organization that aims to develop computer software will have to be far different from one that wants to manufacture blue jeans. Producing a standardized product like blue jeans requires efficient assembly-line techniques, whereas writing computer programs requires teams of professionals – systems analysts, software engineers, and operators.
Although they must interact effectively, such people cannot be organized on an assembly-line basis. It is clear, then, that managers must have the ability to determine what type of organization will be needed to accomplish a given set of objectives. And they must have the ability to develop (and later to lead) that type of organization.
After plans have been made, the structure of the organization has been determined, and the staff has been recruited and trained, the next step is to arrange for movement toward the organization’s defined objectives. This function can be called by various names: leading, directing, motivating, actuating (impulsionare, stimulare), and others. But whatever the name used to identify it, this function involves getting the members of the organization to perform in ways that will help it achieve its established objectives.
Whereas planning and organizing deal with the more abstract aspects of the management process, the activity of leading is very concrete; it involves working directly with people.
Finally, the manager must ensure that the actions of the organization’s members do in fact move the organization toward its stated goals. This is the controlling function of management, and it involves four main elements:
Establishing standards of performance.
Measuring current performance and comparing it against the established standards.
Detecting deviations from standard goals in order to make corrections before a sequence (succesiune, sir) of activities is completed.
Taking action to correct performance that does not meet those standards.
Through the controlling function, the manager can keep the organization on its chosen track, keeping it from straying (a se deparata, a se abate) from its specified goals.
Managers at every level plan, organize, lead, and control. But they differ in the amount of time devoted to each of these activities. Some of these differences depend on the kind of organization in which the manager works, some on the type of job the manager holds.
Managers of small private clinics, for example, spend their time quite differently from the way the heads of large research hospitals spend theirs: Managers of clinics spend comparatively more time practicing medicine, and less time actually managing, than do directors of large hospitals. The technical supervisor of research physicists at AT&T Bell Labs will have a job that in some respects is quite different from that of a production supervisor on a General Motors assembly line. Yet both are first-line managers. And yet there will also be important similarities in the jobs of all these managers.
Other differences in the ways managers spend their time depend upon their levels in the organizational hierarchy. Robert L. Kats, a teacher and business executive, has identified three basic kinds of skills: technical, human, and conceptual. Every manager needs all three. Technical skill is the ability to use the procedures, techniques, and knowledge of a specialized field. Surgeons, engineers, musicians, and accountants all have technical skills in their respective fields. Human skill is the ability to work with, understand, and motivate other people, as individuals or in groups. Conceptual skill is the ability to coordinate and integrate all of an organization’s interests and activities. It involves the manager’s ability to see the organization as a whole, to understand how its parts depend on one another, and to anticipate how a change in any of its parts will affect the whole.
Kats suggests that although all three of these skills are essential to a manager, their relative importance depends mainly on the manager’s rank in the organization. Technical skill is most important in the lower levels. Human skill, by contrast, is important for managers at every level: because they must get their work done primarily through others, their ability to tap (a capta, a aborda) the technical skills of their subordinates is more important than their own technical skills. Finally, the importance of conceptual skill increases as one rises through the ranks of a management system based on hierarchical principles of authority and responsibility. It depends mainly on the manager’s rank in the organization.
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