Sunday, August 3, 2008

Who is a manager?

I got the above interesting image from here.

One cannot forget the office boy who used to regularly talk to me - even coming out of the way to meet up, and talk a few words with me. At that time I was a Product Manager. One fine day, he came to me excitedly and said, "Sir, I am a manager now!" A little amused at his child-like excitement I congratulated him. He continued, "Sir, I am now a manager at the CMD's house. All the workers there are reporting to me. I have a cabin, table, chair, and buzzer!" Ah! I understood then that his vision of a manager was one who has a cabin, table, chair, and a buzzer (to buzz and summon the office boys).

During Managers' development and training programs, it is interesting to start off by asking who is a manager? The range of responses are interesting: One says that a manager is a person who has reportees and gets work done through them. Another participant adds, a manager is a person who plans and organizes the limited resources to achieve the company objectives. Still another states a manager is a person who has obedient subordinates.

When asked, 'give an example of a successful field manager', it invariably leads to a particular gentleman field manager from north east and another from the west. And what do they have in common? Well, they are the epitomes of what Peter Drucker has to say about a manager:

The best fit description of a manager is given by Peter Drucker, he says: MANAGERS' ARE THOSE WHO BUILD BUSINESS. How right!!

These gentlemen referred to above as examples have built the business of the organization, and one has done it from scratch and taken it to great heights.

And to build a business, managers' have to do the following: planning, organizing, staffing, measuring, integrating, leading, and development of people.

Besides to build successful businesses, MANAGERS HAVE TO MANAGE CHANGE. If anything is constant in this dynamic world, it is change! Either you can surrender to change, adapt to change, or be the change you want to see happen. And the last aspect, differentiates the boys from the real managers. One has to be a leader to be good change manager.

Who is a leader? When this question is put to the participants, very interesting responses are generated. Some say a leader is fearless. Another person adds leaders instill courage in people. Yet another gentleman reiterates, that a leader is one who has followers. It is like saying a guru is one who has chelas (ie., a teacher is one who has students).


And that is easier said than done!!

Managers as terrorists':

Another unusual display of managership is bullying or terrorizing subordinates. It ranges from verbal abuse to threats. This has given to a new form of behavior from nonmanagers and subordinates. Defensiveness, loss of trust, and militant unionism ... and now even taking the battle to personal level on the street so as to say. The nonmanagers or subordinate victims are becoming Khalis to take on terrorizing bosses. Many of the terrorizing managers' have two faces and are wedged between the upper managers and subordinates. These Janus headed managers display a coy and presentable behavior to their bosses, while to their subordinates they are the opposite.

With increasing competition and stretch targets, which is common to all pharma and healthcare companies in India and abroad, sometimes people issues are swept under the carpet, sacrificed on the alter of sales. However, HR issues are becoming very important. Moreover, getting good people on board has become an onerous task as candidates are ready to change companies and even the field of work itself. Globalization, immigration, and free market economy are throwing new challenges to companies - it is increasingly difficult to get good candidates, develop them, and retain them. Unless, pharma and healthcare organizations start putting as much emphasis on the means and company culture to achieving the end goals ... the long term harm to organizations will be difficult to manage.

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