Leadership & Management Essay

Leadership & Management Essay

Management articles and research papers are the sources of unique knowledge about the most problematic and interesting aspects of management and leadership in modern organizations. However, who else but practicing managers and leaders can reveal the hidden facets of their relationships with employees, as well as shed the light on the ways the most difficult management issues are being resolved? Alison Getz is the executive manager of a medium IT firm. Alison is 34, and it is more than 10 years since she has been working in the field of information technologies. One might think that a woman cannot successfully run an IT firm; moreover, many employees may hold prejudiced attitudes toward a professional IT woman. Nevertheless, Alison has proved to be a successful and a professional manager. I chose to interview Alison due to the fact that she has been able to overcome a whole set of barriers and prejudices on her way to professional triumph. Now, as her firm has come to occupy its market niche and is well-known for high quality of products and customer service, it is more than interesting to look at the management / leadership style Alison chose as her professional guide.

Leadership & Management

Management articles and research papers are the sources of unique knowledge about the most problematic and interesting aspects of management and leadership in modern organizations. However, who else but practicing managers and leaders can reveal the hidden facets of their relationships with employees, as well as shed the light on the ways the most difficult management issues are being resolved? Alison Getz is the executive manager of a medium IT firm. Alison is 34, and it is more than 10 years since she has been working in the field of information technologies. One might think that a woman cannot successfully run an IT firm; moreover, many employees may hold prejudiced attitudes toward a professional IT woman. Nevertheless, Alison has proved to be a successful and a professional manager. I chose to interview Alison due to the fact that she has been able to overcome a whole set of barriers and prejudices on her way to professional triumph. Now, as her firm has come to occupy its market niche and is well-known for high quality of products and customer service, it is more than interesting to look at the management / leadership style Alison chose as her professional guide.
We began our interview with the discussion of Alison’s career. Alison had to confess that many people cannot realize she has a potential for IT achievements, but when she first came to the firm as a PR consultant, she did not think she would devote her life to IT products and solutions. Getz: “I have never been a technological person. Moreover, I could not imagine myself managing technological people. However, it appears that technological people need a female glance even more than other professions and occupations, for IT are overfilled with management controversies which women can resolve better than men”.
Ten years ago Alison joined a team of sophisticated IT professionals to become their PR consultant. Since that time she has become an integral element of the company’s performance. Alison describes herself as a decisive person; she is confident that for a woman to succeed in an IT field decisiveness and courage, as well as self-directedness are the critical professional features. In our conversation I was particularly interested in the changes Alison’s relationships with colleagues underwent as she was gradually moving up the career ladder.
Q. “Alison, how did your team members react as you slowly moved toward becoming an executive manager?” Getz: “Surprisingly, and this is probably the distinctive feature of IT firms, but my colleagues did not show any sign of enviousness; I would say that they were curious as for how far I would be able to go. That is why my mission was to develop and maintain two-way communication with them and to use our quality human relationships as the source of better stability and profitability within the firm”.
Alison adheres to the principles of human relations approach (Vasu & Stewart, 1998). She is confident that human relations are the source of the major organizational initiatives and changes, and can also form the basis for the development and implementation of all organizational strategies. Alison is very critical toward herself; she recognizes her continuous dissatisfaction with organizational results as her major weakness and her major strength. Getz: “I don’t believe that dissatisfaction with organizational results is always a positive feature. What seems to be true is that employees work to see their executive managers satisfied, and showing this satisfaction is important to motivate employees. I gradually realize that employees need appraisal and approval, and seeing me satisfied with their results is probably a part of this approval strategy”. Q. “Do you think that this dissatisfaction is your major professional mistake?” Getz: “I think that the biggest professional mistake is to turn people into objects. As a woman I seek to combine humane approaches with professionalism and organizational discipline, and upon seeing my “humane” attitudes, employees are more willing to move with me toward our common strategic goals”.
Does that mean that Alison is more a leader than she is a manager? To some extent, she is; and the majority of her initiatives are being reconsidered from a non-professional but humane perspective. She views her employees as followers and uses her personal charisma as the major driver of employee motivation. Q. “How do you create expectations and how do your employees come to realize what is expected of them?” Getz: “I let them communicate their vision to me and we discuss the major controversies and inconsistencies in a simple and comprehensive manner”. Q. “How do you maintain the line of difference between an employee and a manager?” Getz: “Despite the fact that we maintain close relationships and employees feel open and willing to share the most problematic issues with me, we never cross the boundaries of professional conduct. For me, they are both colleagues and subordinates, for without authority I would not be able to implement the most important organizational changes”. Q. “Do you agree that managers are more authoritative than leaders and are less likely to have positive relationships with employees?” Getz: “Not true. Talented managers possess sufficient potential to combine discipline with quality human relations; talented leaders also exercise enough authority to make changes real. Authority is the indispensable component of management and leadership in any form. Q. “Do you agree with the statement that conflict in organizations should be avoided by any means possible?” Getz: “No, I am sure that conflict is something that can be used to promote major transformations.” Q. “What’s about diversity?” Getz: “Diversity is a complex phenomenon, but without diversity achieving organizational objectives is almost impossible.” Q. “Does your position provide you with a chance to fully realize yourself? Getz: “For me to be a manager means to constantly expand the scope of my abilities. Nevertheless, being a manager places a whole set of limitations on the way I use to express myself; these limitations ultimately work to improve the discipline and to provide employees with better understanding of their workplace roles”. Q.: “What difference do you see between a manager and a leader?” Getz: “To my mind, managers tend to rely on the whole set of theoretical perspectives, while leaders are more likely to incorporate their vision of organization with the visions of other employees. This integration is the critical component of organizational success, and managers should be prepared to adjust their knowledge to specific needs of organizations”.

Summary
I agree to Alison: managing people and organizations is impossible without maintaining effective two-way communication with employees. Moreover, these relationships often become a reliable basis for implementing strategic organizational transformations. Unfortunately, Alison seems to overestimate the value of humane approaches to employees. Although she recognizes them as her subordinates, she does not seem to be able to reconcile their personal needs with their professional obligations. For Alison Getz, members of her team stand out more as friends than as colleagues or employees. As a result, she may lose the sense of discipline and strategic direction within the firm. Alison Getz has a full potential to become a talented leader if she is able to reconsider her management skills. She does not seek risk but does not also avoid conflicts; encountering problems for Alison is more than natural and she seems prepared to tackling the major organizational challenges. What she needs is more reasonable and less emotional appeal. The success of her future achievements will depend on how well she combines her natural female emotiveness with a true leadership reason and mind.

References

Vasu, M.L. & Stewart, D.W. (1998). Organizational behavior. CRC Press.

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