Managing People and Organizations

Introduction

The success of any organization is determined by the leadership and management competencies as well as the crucial skill sets of its staff. The effectiveness of managers ensures optimal productivity, increases in bottom-line results, low staff turnover, and attraction of talent. Management thus involves planning, coordination, directing, and organization of the business activities to attain its defined objectives (Scott, 2014). Moreover, effective management entails taking full responsibility to ensure that each employee succeeds and that the business units and teams achieve impeccable results. It is therefore, through experience, mentoring and training that effective management skills can be developed.

In order to assist managers pinpoint and prioritize development opportunities and focus on management training, CheckPoint 3600 is used (Thai, 2012). This tool helps management uncover priorities that have been misaligned to assist in instilling morale, satisfaction, and productivity to employees. Therefore, this article will summarize the results of the CheckPoint 360 degrees survey completed by my fellow staff members to help improve my performance level and leadership skills. This report will encompass; a discussion of what an effective manager is as well as their analytical skills and competencies, the executive overview, favorable zone, executive summary, skill set analysis, reference group comparison, survey summary, and development summary (Wilkinson & Kannan, 2013). 

To ascertain my effective management skills and competencies, I will cover a variety of increasingly detailed skills using the CheckPoint System’s eight major universal management competencies. However, the scores will be determined through a 5-point scale whereby 1 will represent never demonstrates this skill, 2 for seldom demonstrates the skill, 3 for sometimes demonstrates the skill, 4 for usually demonstrates the skill, and 5 for always demonstrates the skill. Moreover, my purpose will be to achieve leadership alignment as well as pinpoint and agree upon improvement opportunities. Further, I will seek to identify the leadership skills in cases of alignment between self and my boss and the critical skills that my boss and peers did not identify. Moreover, skills that have been identified by others as critical but I could not select will also be of great focus. Lastly, I will seek to gain agreement on the leadership skills that fail to align as well as the most critical to the success of the organization.

Literature Review

Effective management is a complex endeavor that requires a diverse set of skills and core competencies. This enables managers to develop the abilities of the other employees in the organization through passion and intent to foster professional learning as well as the development of employees (Chen, Zhao, Liu & Dash Wu, 2012). Therefore, management does not focus on the formal training role but rather on the developmental effect and intent.

Proactive organizations are more productive, especially in recognizing and developing effective managers whose competencies and traits include; adaptability, personal development, leadership, communication, developing others, and relationships. Effective managers possess good communication skills thereby maintain productivity by relating the organization’s vision back to their staff in addition to being good listeners (Jeou-Shyan, Hsuan, Chih-Hsing, Lin & Chang-Yen, 2011). Moreover, they possess leadership skills which enable them to delegate responsibility, provide direction, and instill trust among employees. Further, effective management entails building personal relationships with teams to create trust and make employees feel valued thereby enabling them to channel their talents toward productivity.

Effective management also involves the use of competencies to ensure adaptability to unexpected organizational circumstances. Such adaptability is transferred to employees who creatively find better solutions to organizational problems. However, managers cannot successfully lead and develop employees without being aware of their own personal development, which inspires others to develop themselves. It is thus important for employees to exude desirable attributes to ensure success and effectiveness in their managerial roles (Tanloet & Tuamsuk, 2011).

Interactive Communication 

With regard to effective interactive communication, management involves the ability to send and receive information clearly thereby ensuring one communicates effectively to employees and fellow managers by considering their viewpoints to respond appropriately. Effective communication skills involve the use of honesty, openness, respect, diplomacy, and tact in addition to conveying information and ideas in a manner that understandable by the target audience (Wilkinson & Kannan, 2013). Moreover, effective managers are able to provide meaningful feedback in real time thereby making them excellent communicators. The ability to provide ample feedback is a core competency of effective managers, who ensure their availability and presence whenever their team members need them.  

Effective communication involves questioning employees to get the information they need as well as being open to employees to allow them to get any information they need from their managers (Jeou-Shyan et al., 2011). Information may be gotten using closed questions, which require yes or no answers to check the status of an issue. Further, open questions are used when longer responses are needed, for example when seeking out the input of the employees on a certain topic or problem (Chen et al., 2012). Using these kinds of questions gives employees the chance to provide all the information they may have thus avoid the consequences of assumptions.

While communicating with team members and other employees, an effective manager will be discreet not to ask the wrong questions. Effective managers understand that they are leaders, who are looked upon by others for protection, direction, and guidance. Discretion thus helps them develop trust amongst employees, which is a precursor for productivity (Tanloet & Tuamsuk, 2011). Moreover, discretion helps managers to deal with issues of conflict, employee conduct and performance, employee personal problems, and employee excellence. It is also through effective communication that managers are able to direct employees to work more productively through cooperation. Directing may at times adversely affect the performance of employees, especially those who tend to avoid creativity and do only what they are told by their managers thus leading to complacency.

Commitment to Organization

Moreover, effective managers are committed to their organizations by showing a genuine desire to align their behavior with the goals, priorities, needs, and values of the organization. For them, the mission of the organization and defending its integrity comes before their own preferences. Through commitment to the organization, these managers are able to closely attune to the environment and become adaptable and flexible (Hill, Jones & Schilling, 2014). Further, effective managers are always in the lookout for new opportunities and are good listeners. Commitment to the organization dissolves rigidity in the workplace thereby involving employees to generate process improvement ideas since they are closest to the actual work.

Commitment leads to excellence in both managers and employees since it allows managers to get the best results out of the employees in their charge. Employees tend to copy their managers thus it is the work of the managers to demand excellence form themselves which in turn impacts their staff. Further, effective managers are committed to the organization by protecting their time as a crucial management asset through thoughtful decision making (Chen et al., 2012). This enables them to optimize work rather than rush it thus protecting their schedules watchfully, delegating work effectively and prioritizing well thus leaving themselves with enough time to think through what is beneficial to the organization (Wilkinson & Kannan, 2013).

Team Leadership

Another competency possessed by effective managers is team leadership, which involves the ability to direct a team or other group in the achievement of organizational mission and objectives. Effective managers show the desire to lead others while at the same time instilling in them a passion for what they do, organizational values and mission, as well as the importance of acting with competence, service, impartiality, respect, and integrity. Team leaders do not shy away from organizational conflict but rather confront it directly and fairly. Organizational conflict stems from issues relating to management-employee relations, layoffs, cost-cutting, recognition, compensation, and interpersonal issues (Quinn, Bright, Faerman, Thompson & Mcgrath, 2014). Employees, as keen observers try to evaluate their managers and thus tend to align with those managers who confront conflict in a fair manner. 

In instilling leadership in their team, effective managers direct their employees to where organizational focus is needed. This is done through measurable and well-conceived employee objectives. Effective managers motivate their team members which makes their work easier since employees will always be happy and willing to work (Hill et al., 2014). Moreover, managers are also able to use the different motivation approaches for the different groups of employees, such as the ones who may tend to under-perform in the absence of managerial input. When leading their teams, managers tend to develop the capabilities of each individual member depending on their outlook and abilities. This involves support for those who feel that the tasks allocated to them are complex. It is such skills that differentiate a successful manager from the rest. Moreover, the most effective way successful managers use giving regular feedback to their team members, especially if it is negative  

Evaluation of Skills and Competencies

Interview Analysis

I carried out interviews to determine my skills and competences relevant to management. The people interviewed included; my manager, the human resource officer and two work colleagues. The questions were answered based on the respondents’ observations through a 5-point Likert scale and involved communication skills, such as my ability to listen to others in the organization, my ability to process information, and whether I communicate effectively through listening. Moreover, leadership skills were also assessed, such as whether I instill trust, provide direction in my fellow employees and team members as well as delegate well. Commitment to the organization is ascertained through questions, such as whether I do my work competently and efficiently.

The quiz looks to find how I treat other people in the workplace while communicating with them, for instance do I like arguing, do I listen intently, do I interrupt others while in the midst of their conversation or do I answer questions with questions instead of giving appropriate answers. The response is given in 5-point Likert scale whereby 1 represents never, 2 represents rarely, 3 for sometimes, 4 for often and 5 for always. Conversely, other questions featured in the survey include; my commitment towards work, display of competency in achieving results, ability to adjust to circumstances, whether I provide direction, adjust to circumstances, as well as cultivate employee talents. This was also filled on a 5-point Likert scale.

A self-rating was also made through a CheckPoint 360o system, which was compared to the average rating made by the respondents. It is found that as the Self (S) marker and the Respondents (R) marker move from left to right, the score gets higher though there is a gap of one point, showing a substantial difference between the respondents’ perception  and that I hold about myself with regard to management competency. The total CheckPoint scores presented give a clear overview of all the three competencies for both self and respondents. A variation of 1 point from self therefore, means that there is need for self-awareness.  

Skills and Competency Analysis

The critical skill set from the Manager, the Respondents and the Self differ slightly by 1.6 points or more. The differences vary by 1.3 points or more with communication skills, such as listening to others. Consequently, I thought my communication skills were on an average of 4 points, but my colleagues gave me a 3.0 points while my manager rated me at an average of 2.57 points. These results were arrived at after analyzing such factors as clear self-expression, both oral and written, ability to share information with others, ability to summarize information and verify understanding as well as development of logical and clear conclusions (Scott, 2014). 

Moreover, leadership traits, such as instilling trust and honesty ranked highest at 3.75 among workmates, the manager graded me at 3.92, which was slightly higher than the Self score. Managers are expected to establish clear expectations while at the same time trying to manage the workload on their table by planning ways that can be used to accomplish objectives of the organization. This was rated at 3 points by the manager, 3.4 by the rest of the respondents. I also scored above my expectations on the issue of empowering others to solve problems on their own, and delegating appropriate work to the appropriate workmates. 

With regard to commitment to the organization, the score averaged at 3.00 points for both colleagues and manager, who termed me as effectively using technology as well as outside resources to achieve results. I scored fairly well on the issue of working competently thus showing that I am progressively mastering the work fundamentals of the organization and that I can competently and hastily apply new methods to appropriate tasks. However, the respondents lacked consensus on whether I creates a comfortable climate to enable everyone air their concerns and whether I listen carefully without interrupting. This scored a maximum of 3.6 points on the Likert scale.

From the analysis, the most crucial element of the management skills and competencies is effective communication. I have scored well in letting my workmates know what is happening in the workplace through team briefings. The results serve as a tool to enable me improve my facilitation skills as a facet of leadership and will be done on an ongoing basis as my career develops and as new managerial challenges spring up. Moreover, from the results, understanding team dynamics, communicating, motivating, and delegating will be some of the key skills I will need to advance my managerial competencies (Lussier, 2011). Further, I will have to create a balance when forming teams to incorporate perspectives, personalities as well as a diverse set of skills.

The Plan

From the survey I have come to note the areas as well as how my experiences demonstrate competence. I have come to realize that I make a considerable effort in trying to complement other workmates when they do something helpful in the workplace. It is my personal commitment to understand what other people want in the organization and try to help them out, which would bring motivation to all of us in the workplace. From the study, I have developed a management plan for the future which would enable me to use strategies to keep on target with my tasks.

From the competency rating of the survey, I have come to realize that I am not always consistent in acknowledging co-workers effort at work and I am not always responsive when they voice their perspectives and opinions. It is also apparent that the competencies plan I was working on had not been completed thus improving my competencies is an area I need to put more emphasis on. Moreover, I have also realized that I could pinpoint new opportunities to develop more work related competencies. However, there are gaps in my management competencies, which include working hard to keep a balance between my personal life and the work life, which if not checked could impact each other adversely. 

Further, from the survey analysis, I do not always take enough time to listen to my workmates when solving organizational problems in addition to being reluctant to trying new things and asking for help from my seniors. Consequently, I intend to address these gaps by building leadership skills through joining the organization’s sports team to learn a new sport. Additionally, I intend to develop a new strategy to assist me strike a balance between my work life and personal life through inquiring for feedbacks from the manager and workmates as well as schoolmates. Further, when my workmates provide suggestions, I could work harder at listening and reach a compromise that they have different ways of approaching issues and I can work at acknowledging the efforts of my colleagues in performing organizational tasks. 

Consequently, from the assessment, I need to improve my management skills urgently by learning how to organize and monitor my team’s work. This is evident from the scores, which proved that I am on my way to becoming a good manager since I am doing some things well, such as commitment to the organization and leadership being the areas I have been found to comfortable in. Moreover, I will focus on the areas I scored low, especially on the traits mentioned by the manager’s assessment that need improving. Further I will seek to learn from mistakes sine a mistake becomes a failure once a person fails to learn from it. I will take responsibility for my mistakes and make sure I do not criticize my workmates. Moreover, I will discuss with my workmates and managers what I have done right as well as what I could have done differently thus spend some time each day reflecting on any mistakes I might have committed.

I will ensure that I focus on how to apply the lessons learnt from the survey to future performance to improve my productivity. Conversely, I will seek to learn from criticism by accepting any negative feedback as information for performance improvement. This is evident from the fact that after reviewing the assessments from self and the other respondents, my self-perception with regard to my performance was different from what the others view me therefore such discrepancies will my stepping stone to learning. To ensure that I monitor my learning progress, I will take the Checkpoint 360 assessments on a regular basis every three months to get feedback from different respondents each time, as a way of committing to lifelong learning (Wiek, Withycombe & Redman, 2011).  

Moreover, I will take a self-directed approach to ensure that I improve my management skills and competencies. To ensure that I improve my skills, I intend to keep current with business-related information, for instance through subscription to business journals and newsletters to help me in growing and changing to adapt to the corporate world (Lussier, 2011). These resources will enable me boost my skills in developing leadership competencies. The regular assessments will go on until I score over 4.50 points, at that point I will know that I have improved tremendously. 

Conclusion

This study was carried out and analyzed using the CheckPoint 360 Degree System to ascertain the level of skills and competencies I possess with regard to managing people and organizations. This took place in the form of a survey through interview questions printed and distributed to work colleagues, human resource officer and my immediate manager. Moreover, a self-assessment was also made to provide a clear and informed comparison on how I view my management skills and competencies on the basis of the other respondents who know me better and are not subject to biases I may accord myself. The respondents provided a consistent information, such that their results did not vary at a greater degree although the respondents lacked consensus on whether I create a comfortable climate to allow my colleagues air their concerns in addition to listening carefully without interrupting (Thai, 2012).

From the survey, I learnt that I do not take enough time to listen to my colleagues, which surprised me since I thought I had good communication skills. Moreover, I found out there were gaps in my management skills and competencies which need urgent attention. Since effective management requires a wide range of skills, each of the skills I was rated on complement the others. I will seek to us the knowledge gained to develop and maintain the skills to make an effective manager and to enable my team accomplish the organizational objectives effectively and efficiently. Moreover, I will improve on my leadership skills to encourage and support my fellow workmates through this process to help them become effective in the long run.

 

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