A good manager must not only possess superior technical skills but also social managerial skills. After all, the primary role of the manager is to guide and supervise people under his/her care, not machines and robots. The word “good” here implies a value judgment and a set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad trait. And since business has diverse standards of what constitutes a “good” or “bad” manager, it is expected that what is good in one company may be not good in another company. What is common, however, is that all managers, regardless of the type and size of business, deal with people and employees with different personality, attitude, ability, talent, and experience in the company. Like a conductor in an orchestra, a good manager is one who knows how to blend and unify the various social circumstances of his/her employees in the workplace to achieve the company’s short and long-term goals. What makes a manager different from a rank-and-file employee is his/her discretionary power. S/he has the power when and how a company policy or goal can be actualized in the workplace through his/her intervention. Thus, a manager who has 4 of the traits below can be considered “good” and effective in today’s global age.
1. Familiar with the company’s organizational Culture.
First of all, a good manager must be familiar with the organizational culture of the company. This trait requires that the manager must be observant, analytical, broad-minded and with longer exposure in the company. S/he should have a firm grasp of “how things work” inside the organization: the goals, rules and sanctions of the company, internal politics and the degree of influence of power cliques inside the firm, as well as the overall social networking process inside and outside the company. The more the manager is familiar with the overall system of the company, the more s/he can be effective to fit his/her own office or area of responsibility in the overall scheme and direction of the business firm.With his/her superior knowledge of the culture or “way of life” of people inside his/her company, s/he can “make things done” despite bureaucratic limitations and obstacles.
In particular, s/he must know whether his/her company is generally personalistic, that is, social interaction and transaction are basically based on social ties rather than on qualification and merit. In sole proprietorship or smaller enterprises, the employees are usually affiliated with owners as relative, friend or co-ethic. Thus, the manager must be careful in dealing with employees who are close to the owners. But in highly complex and rational system of big companies, merit, rather social ties, usually predominats the overall cultural system of the business firm. In this case, the manager can be more efficient and professional in dealing with employees and situations in his/her office or area of responsibility.
2. Prudent in his/her exercise of managerial power and authority.
A manager must be prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority in the company. Authority is a legitimate form of power delegated by the company to the manager in administering the firm as specified in the company’s manual. In theory, the manager must only act within the scope of his/her authority. But in some cases, s/he goes beyond this boundary such as dominating or bullying his/her employees–and thus act using his/her personal power and status rather than his/her authority. S/he must remember the saying: “If there is power, there is resistance”! If the manager wants to avoid nasty rumors and gossip from his/her subordinate, s/he must exercise moderation and prudence with regard to power and authority. This does not mean that s/he should not show anger especially if the situation requires it to achieve targets. What is important is that the employee must feel that the coercion was done by the manager in good faith and for the good of the company and not as a response to a grudge.
If employees sense that their manager goes beyond his/her authority and thus abuse his/her power, active and passive social resistance would more likely occur. Active resistance is an overt or open form of opposition to the manager’s management style. Unreasonable impositions by the manager on the employees usually invite social resistance such as gossiping and rumor mongering. If the maltreatment or bullying of the manager becomes harsh, employees may manifest their active resistance by answering back to the manager’s rants or other forms of defiance. They can write petition letters or complaints to a higher authority or openly disobeying the manager’s command. Active resistance is easy for the manager to identify and control since it is usually done openly. What is difficult is passive or covert resistance. This often done at his/her back. This needs some sociological sense to discover that the employees resist
Passive resistance is an indirect or covert form of resistance. If employees do not want the personality and management style of the manager, they don’t usually show it openly to avoid sanctions. Instead, they would usually do it indirectly such as spreading rumors and gossip against the manager. They can also intentional miss their targets, underperform their tasks and invent all sorts of excuses for their sloppy job. In this case, the manager cannot achieve his/her assigned goals and targets in the firm, making him/her an ineffective leader in the eyes of the top management or owners of the company. These resistant acts may appear insignificant to many people but they can create a ripple effect which can result in an organized opposition against the manager. A good manager therefore is a person who is prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority, avoiding active and passive resistance, for the good of the company. A good manager is must also be open to dialogue with disgruntled employees to understand and address the root cause of their problems..
3. Familiar with the latest technology for business.
With growing digitalisation of business, a good manager must be familiar with the latest Internet and computer skills and applications for business, particularly with the use of the social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other growing networking sites for business. With the advent of the digital, cyber and electronic spaces, physical presence is no longer necessary with the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Multitasking would be made easy because of the digital technology. A manager maybe away from his office, attending a conference and yet s/he can still attend to the day-to-day activities of his/her office with the use of his/her smart phones and wireless broadband or other high-tech devices and applications. The ICTs are also indispensable for a good manager in marketing formally or informally the company’s products and services.
4. Sensitive to his/her employees’ needs.
Finally, one of the most important traits a good manager must possess is sensitivity to his/her employees’ needs. The role of the manager is not only to achieve the company’s business goals and forecasts but also to protect and nurture the company’s most important asset—the employees. If employees feel happy, contented, and supported by the manager in what they do, their productivity and loyalty to the company would intensify and the company’s goals would then be easier to achieve. If this happens, the top management, will take notice of the manager’s capacity and and would be persuaded to promote him to higher post and responsibility.The employees’ feeling of being respected and valued by their company through their manager would surely result in increased productivity, efficiency and profit for the company. The famous Pope John Paul II in his papal encyclical or letter entitled Centisimus Annus (One Hundred Years), said that employees’ welfare in the company is more important than just earning more profit in a sesne that a business enterprise is a community of persons aimed at serving the public through products and services.
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