Saturday, 31 March 2007

A Good Manager Is Born, Not Made

A Good Manager Is Born, Not Made? By Thanabut Raktabutr

Nowadays, there are two side of opinion regarding a good manager is born or made. Some people who support the first reason believe that there is no room for everyone to become a good manager but it is already selected by nature since a person was born with characteristics which make one to become a good manager. However, the others who support the second reason think that there is another way which can make a person to become a good manager without innate characteristics because everyone who intends to be a good manager can be developed by learning and training to change to the appropriate characteristic, which is required for a good manager. Therefore, the consulting firm such as Hay Group or Hewitt Company, which is expert in developing knowledge and skills to become a good manager, can provide the curriculums for developing these knowledge and skills.

People who believe in an inborn manager claim that charisma or trait is the main factor to make anyone to become a good manager. According to Weber (1947), charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural and exceptional forces or qualities. In this sense, it means that charisma is a quality which is generated from inside a person, and it derives from the capacity of particular people to arouse and maintain belief in themselves as the source of knowledge and authority and this can makes a person to manage people effectively. It is assumed that a good manager with leadership skills always come from charisma and can not be learned or trained to be a good manager. Early research on this assumption, which is based on the psychological focus, a person who becomes a good manager already possessed inherited characteristics or traits. Researchers discovered these traits which is a main factor for leading and managing on many successful leaders. They mentioned that if people could be found with these traits, then, they could also become a great leader or a great manager. Stogdill (1974) identifies traits and skills as it is important to manager which includes flexible, alertness, ambitious and achievement orientated, assertive, cooperative, decisive, dominant, self-confident, interpersonal and communicational skill, creative, and fluent in speaking, knowledgeable about group task, organized, persuasive, and socially skilled. However, the research is only done with some successful leaders and lacks of considering the external environment such as a co-worker, a boss, a training class which is considered to be a big part to make good manager today. A manager can be learned some skill or technical knowledge from his co-worker or boss by an on-the-job training or he can develop his characteristics, skill, and knowledge from an external consulting firm which provide a training class.

Although, most of people believe that innate characteristics and managerial skills can not be learned or trained for becoming a good manager, it is an evidence that many researches today try to explain that manager in a big or small organization can developed characteristics and managerial skills to become a good manager through a wide variety of learning opportunities, ranging from seminars to college classes and in-house management development programs to informal on-the-job mentoring. Moreover, a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) states that the belief in "manager is born, not made" is already out of date. A research which is based on interviewing with 1000 managers and looking for the changing patterns of Management and Leadership Development over an eight year periods confirms that line managers are currently focusing on job-related development more than before including in-house development program and job-specific qualifications. Thus, a person who is willing to be in a management level must learn these skills and become knowledgeable in applying them to real-life business situations. These managerial skills include delegation, project staffing, planning and management, setting objectives for teams and individuals, scheduling, budgeting, evaluating individual, team, and project development, presenting idea to individuals and groups, inspiring and guiding individuals and teams, performance evaluation and critique, human relations, dealing with problems within operations and with individual employees, working within the corporate structure, decision-making, and risk management. There is a evidence to prove that good manager can be trained. Therefore, it is not always necessary to be “a natural born manager” but she can become a good manager by learning, training, and improving her knowledge and skills instead. As the assumption above, the research is conduct by interviewing one of successful managers in United State of America. Ms. Theresa F. Anderson is currently working as a Corporate Equipment Manager at Parsons Company, which is a national engineering firm in Pasadena, Calif. When she came to this company, she had to prove herself among her boss, co-workers, and subordinates that she can work effectively as a management position. She said that at that time it was very difficult to become the manager and manager her employee because the company which she was working is completely dominated by male employees and they assumed that she had not the managerial skill enough to control other peoples. For this reason, she tried to develop technical knowledge in mechanical and improve leadership and managerial skills such as generating and sustaining a sense of trust, building and communicating a guiding vision, knowing your staff, or taking care of her people. She mentioned that before she became a manager in this company, she had to work hard and get a lot of training and studying like you are studying in Bachelor degree. Furthermore, she believe that it is very important for manager here to take the training course at least three courses to improve knowledge and managerial skills. For example, she got training directly from the OEMs (Outsourcing Engineering Manufacturers), Caterpillar training, John Deere training, Grove training, administration classes, and also technical training classes, she mentioned. She thinks that learning and training is very important to managers and employee today so she is now helping others to grow up in their career by getting training as much as possible. She sent her employees to take a lot of training schools and sometime she is teaching her employees by herself.

In conclusion, it is obvious that it is no needs to born a good manager there are several ways to make a person to achieve in management position. Although, it is true that a good manager is required some special characteristics, skills, and technical knowledge, these requirements can be developed or improved through various methods. Some managers chose to develop himself by taking a training class with the consulting firm or a trailer-made school, which provide a specific lesson for a learner’s need. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not always born to be a good manager but we can make ourselves to become a good manager by learning and training.

Bibliography

Henrikson M., 2006, Great Leaders Are Made, Not Born, Dec’ 05 – Jan’ 06 (P.473 – 477)
Hannagan T., 2002, Management Concepts and Practices, Essex, the Pitman Publishing.
Charisma, http://cbae.nmsu.edu/~dboje/teaching/338/charisma.htm, (17 Aug 06)
Trait Theory, http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/theories/trait_theory.htm, (17 Aug 06)
Moses J., No One Is Born a Good Manager, http://www.nfib.com, (19 Aug 06)
Skipper G.C., Managers Are Trained Not Born, http://www.constructionequipment.com, (17 Aug 06)

1 comment:

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