Sunday, July 24, 2011

Donkey driver managers v/s professional managers


Top management and owners of companies appoint managers to ease their work, ensure that their vision and mission is implemented for the organization, and that the firm reaches the envisioned place. In simple language, 'manager appointees' are people who make things happen and ensure that the work is done (particularly through the non-managers) to achieve pre-stated objectives.

The popular managerial approach ('donkey driver' approach), is use of reward power and coercive power (see image above) to ensure accomplishment of tasks. Managers are supposed to be the drivers of reward power and coercive power in an organization.

Will a manager become successful for the organization through the 'donkey driver model' of managerial working?

The donkey driver model, utilizing reward power and coercive power, is successful up to a point. It has its limitations. A professional manager has three additional keys for success:

a) Demonstration and co-shouldering of responsibility
b) Give confidence and security
c) Use positive and negative reinforcements tactfully (and discreetly if required)

a) Modeling or demonstration of technical or other work skills is critical to win the subordinates' confidence and trust. Providing feed backs and co-shouldering of the responsibility is the best way of getting things done to achieve targets.

It is easy to say, "Look I have provided the resources, now achieve the targets!" "If you achieve the targets you get your incentive, if you do not achieve, well then, you can look for some other job more suited for you!"

This sort of carte blanche approach, is easiest for the manager, however, if the managerial system is co-shouldering, based on providing solutions, target achievement happens as a matter of rote, what happens however is something bigger: EVOLUTION OF THE ORGANIZATION.

Growing together, making organizations evolve, and making firms stronger in the marketplace is what is the essence of managerial success.

Let us assume a manager is successful in target achievement, merely by driving his subordinates to work harder and harder, however, the 'donkey driver model' has its limitations. Such a manager will finally face human resource problems, and a plateau will emerge ... from where evolution seems impossible.

The 'donkey driver' managerial model of working assumes, non-managers need to be driven and results automatically happen, it does not take in to cognisance the following facts:

a) that teams can be broken
b) non-managers can leave companies
c) results are system outputs
d) reinforces 'marketing and results myopia'

More often than not, organizational results are not a result merely of 'donkey driver model'. Reward and coercive power are vital in an organization, however, expertise power, legitimate power, connection power, and referral power of an organization are critical elements of organizational success, growth, survival, safety and evolution. These powers need to be enhanced in concert at all levels, thereby these factors would interplay and will provide the necessary organizational outputs.

b) Giving confidence and security, based on values and discipline, makes subordinates fearless in attitude, this provides stability, loyalty and higher involvement in work. Finally this attitude translates in to tangible results and employee stability to an organization.

Organizations that have a "wicket keeping attitude" (where most of the managerial work is about fixing the responsibility for lapses or dis-satisfactory results and/or 'fault finding'), keeping people in a state of fear of being "wicket kept", will surely see the organization becoming weaker by the day! After all, organizational success is based on doing work (which involves risks, lapses, and mistakes), if organizational intolerance to failure is a cachet, then organizational outcomes will never see improved fortunes! Growing organizations have a hearty appetite for knowledge, and risks!!

c) Use of positive and negative reinforcements: Life is a complement of negative and positive experiences. Fire can give warmth or it can cause burns. Utilizing perceived positive and negative reinforcements intelligently to motivate and make people work enthusiastically in the line of business goals is an important aspect of managerial work. This is not akin to the 'donkey driver model'. It involves use of intangible positive and negative reinforcers (not just tangible rewards and punishments), it is also about being tactful and discreet about these reinforcers so that desirable work behaviours are elicited.

Managership is a great responsibility, its influence on destinies is great, destinies are made or destroyed through exercise of managership. The above three keys of managership (which include elements of the 'donkey driver model') are useful for responsible and fulfilling managership experiences.

Thnks for reading this blogpost, pls recommend this blog, and read all other posts by scrolling down and hitting on older posts tab as and when required.

1 comment:

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