This paper summarizes key findings from an interview held with Mr Ritesh Jain, Managing Analyst, KSK Energy. It explores how theories of Organizational Behavior are actually applied in the business world, by learning how Mr. Jain leads and motivates his subordinates, in normal as well as under crisis situations. Also, an insight is gained into what role business ethics play when managing people in a professional environment.
KSK Energy Ventures Ltd is a power development company in India, which develops and operates power plants. Mr. Jain has been with the company for ten years now, and has held his current position for 3 years. As a Managing Analyst, it is in his domain to ensure his subordinates carry out relevant research, gather and organize business intelligence about various issues and problems. Then, he must ensure that the findings of the researches are documented, and recommendations are drafted on the basis of these findings. He also designs, evaluates and approves changes in the reported findings of the research. Finally, it is his job to ensure that the findings are disseminated to the right people at the right time, and ensure that recommendations are being implemented.
Thus, the three most important aspects of his job are
Ensuring research is being carried out and effective business intelligence is being found by subordinates.
Ensuring that research is documented and organized in the proper way, and making any changes which are necessary to the reported findings or recommendations.
Ensuring that the business intelligence is disseminated to the right people at the right time, and that recommendations are being implemented.
The one thing that Mr. Jain seems to like most about managing people is the ability to influence subordinates and guide them in the right direction, so that you may witness their growth and at the end of the day, take some credit for their achievements.
On the flip side, however, there is always a challenge that all managers face when they have to deal with subordinates who are not altogether incompetent, but who, in some cases, fail to perform as expected. The problem here is that a manager must deal with every individual in a different way, for all individuals are different, and get motivated in different ways. Thus, upon failing to perform, one person might perform better next time if the manager is harsh with him, while another might get motivated to perform better next time if the manager is more understanding. As such, there is nothing Mr. Jain does not like about his job, but dealing with subordinates who fail to perform is the most challenging aspect for him.
According to Mr. Jain, in the contemporary business world, managers no longer fulfill the traditional role of dictating job instructions and requirements to subordinates. Instead, they must lead by example, inspire and motivate their subordinates to work in a desired manner. They must lead in such a way that instills enthusiasm in subordinates and injects an innate energy and desire into them to achieve desired results.
Thus, what is required today of managers is a transformational leadership style. This is opposed to the traditional transactional leadership style which assumes that a system of reward and punishment is effective in getting subordinates to achieve desired results.
Research shows that transformational leadership results in higher performance in a business unit than transactional leadership (Howell, 891). This is exactly what Mr. Jain believes in. In order to effectively lead his subordinates and to ensure high level performance, it is important to inspire and inject positive energy into them with regards to their work. A strict chain of command or a system of reward and punishment is not effective in enhancing performance, as employees now want to work where they feel internal satisfaction, and this internal satisfaction can only be achieved if the manager exercises transformational leadership.
Another very important factor which increases job satisfaction in employees, and tnen subsequently enhances their performance, is the level of empowerment given to them. According to Mr. Jain, employee empowerment is essential in enhancing job satisfaction in employees. They should be involved in the decision making process, and their views and inputs should be solicited and given due credit. Only then will they feel a sense of ownership with the work they do, and their level of job commitment and satisfaction will rise, and they will feel more dedicated towards their jobs.
This view is supported by academic research, which shows that transformational leadership, combined with employee empowerment is the key towards enhancing job satisfaction and job performance within subordinates. (Morrison, 27)
Influencing and motivating subordinates are the tools which ever y successful manager has to master. As already mentioned, the challenge here is that every individual is different, and therefore is motivated by different things. Each individual must be dealt with differently. For this, it important for managers to get to know their subordinates on a personal level.
According to research, expectancy and emotions play a very important role in motivating behavior. (Weiner, 548) MR. Jain also feels that people’s emotions and self-esteem needs to be taken into account when deciding how to motivate subordinates. If the manager creates positive emotions, and build the self-esteem of the individual, he will be more motivated to work harder.
Mr. Jain also incorporates Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation when managing his subordinates. People must believe that their efforts are directly linked to performance levels. This will enhance motivation to put in more effort in achieving outstanding results. Employees tend to slack off when they become over confident. Some employees feel that they can achieve better results than others without putting in too much effort. These employees need to be reminded that if they do not put in a required amount of effort, their performance levels will drop.
Since Mr. Jain’s domain is all about research, it is easy for him to tell how much effort has been put into a document or report. He believes that employees need to be constantly reminded that attention to detail is imperative in this line of work. To give attention to detail means to put in an extra bit of effort. And it is that extra bit of effort which distinguishes an excellent quality report from a mediocre or below standard report. Thus, employees need to be motivated by emphasizing that their efforts to go that extra mile will determine how high they perform.
Mr. Jain also believes that in order to know how to motivate employees, it is important to know what their needs are. Thus, he incorporates Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory as well. According to him, there are some employees who come from lower income classes of society, and in order to motivate them, monetary benefits are usually effective. According to Maslow’s theory, these people have lower order needs; their aim is to fulfill basic physical requirements rather than higher order needs of self esteem or belonging. Those employees who come from higher income levels tend to be motivated by non monetary rather than monetary benefits. Again according to Maslow’s theory, these people have higher order needs, and so, need factors such as recognition and status to motivate them.
All managers tend to face ethical dilemmas from time to time. This is because they are faced with constant pressure to achieve high results, and for this, it is sometimes tempting to achieve outstanding results by unethical means.
Apart from avoiding unethical behavior himself, a manager is also responsible for ensuring that his subordinates are not indulging in unethical behavior. For this, it is important to have an open communication policy with subordinates. (Pettit, J, 233)
This, according to Mr. Jain, ensures that when employees face a roadblock, they find it easy to communicate their problems to the manager, rather than depend on unethical means to achieve desired results.
The interview with Mr. Jain was extremely insightful, as it illustrated how various theoretical concepts are applied in actual professional settings. It showed which leadership styles are most effective in motivating subordinates to achieve high quality results. It also showed how a successful manager manages ethical issues and maintains ethical accountability. Most importantly, it highlighted than in the contemporary business environment, the traditional chain of command and system of reward and punishment does not work. Each individual is different, needs to be motivated and inspired in a different way, and the successful manager needs to recognize these differences in order to lead his business unit towards success.
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