We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Managing and leading people

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Much more is expected from managers now than 10 years ago. Being an effective manager requires a deeper level of sophistication and a broader more versatile set of skills. In most industries the pace of change that organisations and their people must cope with is relentless. To be competitive, corporations have had to restructure, downsize, de-layer, and increase spans of control. Additional challenges include managing an increasing diverse work force the changing role of women in business, and the impact of technology on the nature of work pose human resources issues that simply did not exist to the same extent in the last decade.

Despite all of this change, some aspects of managing people are fundamental. Certain truths about motivation, group behaviour, and organisation are valid to day as they were 20 years ago. If anything, the increasing pressures of today’s more competitive environment make these basics even more necessary to master. Effective management requires not only dealing with state of the art issues but also handling the essential daily realities of motivating people, solving performance problems, and managing groups efficiently. (Gabarro, 1972-1992)

We concur with Gabarro’s debate that the mangers and leaders of tomorrow (i.e. MBA students) have to address two sets of needs: the need for fundamental concepts as well as newer concepts that address today’s immerging imperatives. Here we have to ask ourselves what constitutes effective management and leadership and whether these two processes are different from each other.

To recognize the concept of effective management one must first have a basic understanding of Managing and Leading People in an organisational context, and the factors affecting it. Our interpretation of W.Bloisi (Bloisi et al, 2003) has led us to a four pillar conjecture:

* The Organisational Environment and People

* The Individual level (Managing People)

* Group level (Managing behaviour between people)

* Organisational level (Organisational and HR systems and processes)

The first pillar looks at the relationship between managers and the organisation and what managers need to do to guide the people to achieve the organisations goals.

It also looks at developing strategic thought patterns with the aim of were is the organisation going to be in the future, planning on how to get there and the implementation of control systems to measure the gap and to improve.

The second pillar of managing people looks at understanding perception, learning and personality. Perception is how different people see and react to different situations. Learning is a continuous process that is affected by what is happening around us. Every person has a different personality that is pre-determined by our values and attitudes and understanding these can predict employee behaviour.

Motivation is also a key principle of this pillar and here we look at what is it that motivates people and how this can be enhanced to get the most out of people. Managers have many tools at their disposal to motivate the behaviour of employees including cash, better working conditions, lifestyle improvements etc.

We also look at managing of careers and the “silent killer”, stress. This is a self management responsibility and all employees must aim for a satisfactory work-life balance.

The third pillar focuses probably on the biggest reason for conflict in the workplace and that is effective communication. It is vital that employees are informed about what needs to be done so that results can be achieved.

We should also focus on creating productive interpersonal relationships which is the ability of managers to deal with different cultures. Being aware of individual and group emotions has become a necessity in order to interact with others in a productive way, in what Bloisi described as emotional intelligence.

This pillar also looks at the building groups into teams and making them successful.

Conflict which is a natural occurrence in the workplace due to the collection of different groups of people with different personalities and values needs to be managed effectively to ensure that people can work together to achieve results.

The organisational level which is the fourth pillar is divided in three categories:

Leadership practices looks at problem solving and decision making which follows a process of identifying, understanding, analyzing and deciding on a solution and implementing it. (W.Bloisi et al, 2003)

Organisational change ensures that organisational structure and systems are designed to support strategies by providing the architecture for assigning responsibilities, making decisions, and integrating work flows.

Creating and changing organisational culture is a key as culture is important to organisations as it lays the foundation for strategy implementation, but also because it promotes consistent behaviour and helps socialize newcomers in the ways of the organisation.

Organisational change, development and innovation looks and the phases of change, 1) recognize a need, 2)diagnose and plan, 3) consider contingencies, 4) take action and measure results, 5) manage the transition. (W.Bloisi et al, 2003) Organisational development involves the application of behavioural science knowledge designed to improve organisational effectiveness, people satisfaction and quality of work life, innovation on the other hand is a special form of change that can be either sustainable or disruptive.

The third category is Human resource systems and processes and relevant legislation. Here we look at HR planning, Job descriptions, Remuneration, Health and safety, the recruitment process, training and development, performance management and labours relations/ legislations.

In an organisational context, managing and leading people would generally assess the criteria for, as well as characteristics of successful organisational structures. The strategic and business-related benefits gained from these structures can also be analysed and possibly quantified. Managing and Leading People also seeks to critically evaluate human behaviour and seeks possible ways in which the performance and commitment of people in organisations can be optimised by using various human resource management tools such as performance management techniques. Managing and Leading People should also take into account the changing environments for organisations such as globalisation and technology.

More important, however, are the work ethics and the values upheld by an individual, which are, in most cases influenced by the society around them. These need to be managed effectively as they have a direct impact on the way the organisation functions and could possibly influence shareholders and stakeholders.

“Leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action. Each has its own function and characteristic activities. Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment…strong leadership with weak management is no better, and is sometimes actually worse, than the reverse. The real challenge is to combine strong leadership and strong management and use each to balance the other.” (Kotter, 1979)

Care must be taken in distinguishing between the two concepts. The main aim of a manger is to maximize the output of the organisation through administrative implementation.

To achieve this, managers must undertake the following functions:

– Organisation

– planning

– staffing

– directing

– controlling

Mangers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically, “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing” Peter Drucker. This means that managers do things by the book and follow company policy, while leaders follow their own intuition, which may in turn be of more benefit to the company. A leader is more emotional than a manger.

A leader is someone who people naturally follow through their own choice, whereas a manger must be obeyed. A manger may only have obtained his position of authority through time and loyalty given to the company, not as a result of his leadership qualities. A leader may have no organisational skills; but his vision unites people behind him.

Management usually consists of people who are experienced in their field, and who have worked their way up the company. A manager knows how each layer of the system works and may also possess a technical knowledge.

Managing and leading people are two different ways of organizing people; Nelson Mandela is one excellent example of a brilliant leader but could never have been thought of as the country’s manager.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love the work; it’s the people I don’t like”? Or, “If I didn’t have to put up with all those difficult people, this would be the perfect job”? That’s because managing people is difficult–and often it’s not why you signed on to your job.

So what makes managing people so difficult?

They can be unpredictable, different, and a one-size-fits-all management style doesn’t work, their needs change, they tend to carry emotions and drive emotional responses, they need motivation and inspiration. People desire and respond to different management styles, not everyone is gifted with the same strengths, skills, and talents.

Not to mention the fact that managing people requires that you put trust in others’ competence and character, and that you might encounter a negative, high-maintenance person.

Peter Drucker (Drucker, 1979) describes the majority of today’s labour force as knowledge workers. Expanding levels of education, training, and income create a labour force much different from our industrial past. The emphasis on participation, balanced lives, and personal fulfilment elevates the role of leadership in organisations. Leading people and managing processes is the central theme of this era.

The modern age manager/leader seeks to understand the factors necessary for him to create an organisation that is more “efficient” or “successful” than its competitors by tackling issues like human resource planning, recruitment, selection, orientation, training, performance appraisal, compensation and safety.

Many different factors involving knowledge, skills, motives, traits, values, diversity, motivation and a whole lot of other characteristics can affects a person’s job performance within the organisation which is why we must address the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behaviour within organisations .

There have been significant advances in the fields of organisational behaviour and management in the last decade. The manager’s role, that is, what effective manager’s really do compared with what theorists have said they should do. Moreover developments in human resource management, such as high commitment work systems and employee involvement, have gone substantially beyond the classic personnel issues of selection, development, and compensation.

If the state of both knowledge and practice has grown substantially then so have the challenges, however; if managers have better tools at their disposal today than a decade ago, they also face challenges that are far more demanding.

The common element is people and if managed effectively by ensuring adequate development and motivation, the concepts of managing and leading people can be explored even further.

The ultimate goal is to make our task simple as it is much easier to manage and lead a group of individuals that are comfortable and happy in the environment which they operate, therefore by understanding how people feel and behave in a situation or job environment a manager can ensure that right person is employed in the right position at the right time and at the right pay.

You might be tempted to ignore “people problems” in the name of business, thinking it’s not important, that you’ll just focus on the business itself and the people issues will go away. Think again.

Employees are the key to growth and execution of your business.

Success in business is often determined by how effective an organisation manages cultural change. Success is not achieved by an executive’s skills alone, or by the visible features – the strategy, structure and reward system – of the organisation.

To understand the soul of the organisation and the cultural change required necessitates us probing the underground world of people’s feelings, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, behaviours, only then can the corporate culture be defined and cultural change initiatives are identified.

Many organisations however simply do not recognize the need for cultural change. Most members seem apathetic or depressed about their jobs and no longer pressure one another to do well. Even cultural change pronouncements by top managers that they will improve the situation fall on the deaf ears of employees who have heard these promises before. Consequently, without cultural change being itself part of the culture, the soul of the organisation slowly dies.

Without a cultural change program to manage the cultural change gap the organisation gradually sinks into a culture rut – a habitual, unquestioning way of behaving. Sadly often there is no adaptation or cultural change, only routine motions, despite the fact that the company is unsuccessful. A cultural rut can go on for years, even though morale and performance suffer. Bad habits die hard. A cultural change shock occurs when the sleeping organisation awakes and finds that it has lost touch with its original mission.

It seems that any organisation can find itself with an outdated culture if cultural change itself is not managed explicitly. Unattended, a company’s culture almost always becomes dysfunctional. Normal human fear, insecurity, over sensitivity, dependency and paranoia seem to take over unless there is a concerted effort to establish an adaptive cultural change programs. People cope with uncertainty and perceived threats by protecting themselves, by being cautious, by minimizing their risks, by going along with the culture that builds protective barriers around work units and around the whole organisation rather than question the status quo by seeking out cultural change initiatives, indeed cultural change itself is a threat.

A company’s culture sometimes supports self-defeating individual behaviour that persists in spite of its many disruptive effects on morale and performance: doing the minimum to get by: purposely resisting or even sabotaging innovation; and being very negative in general about the organisation’s capacity to manage cultural change. Worse, such behaviour may even include lying, intimidating, harassing and hurting others.

Leaders must start adopting a cultural change strategy to create an adaptive culture requires risk and trust; employees must actively support one another’s efforts to identify problems and sponsor cultural change initiatives. The challenge is to get out of the culture rut; this can only be accomplished by a very conscious, well-planned and united effort at managing cultural change, the secret to which is first establishing trust!

The effects of cultural change lead us to one of the greatest challenges facing the South African labour economy, employment equity. The process aimed at redressing imbalances created by the past and ensuring that none of the actions in the future result in the same situation. The Employment Equity Act has been promulgated which companies are expected to subscribe to.

Companies are faced with the following challenges when attempting to support the equity drive:

* There is a high level of poaching of skilled senior resources

* Training and educational institutes are not producing the right quality of graduates with the necessary skills

* Attractiveness of certain industries (pay and working hours)

* Low level of staff turnover especially in senior positions

* Job-hopping for bigger pay

Companies need to manage all these challenges as it is becoming more and more a requirement for companies in certain sectors to prescribe to a B.E.E scorecard that has as one of its measures a score for the company with regards to employment equity. These scorecards look at the percentage of “equity” candidates in middle management and senior management positions including directors and assign a rating.

It will and has already started to become a requirement for doing business between companies and especially with the government on what the companies’ employment equity rating is.

Companies are therefore facing a threat of continued existence if they do not do something about their “equity” numbers and a strategy needs to be developed with clear measurable goals and targets to ensure that the risk is mitigated as a result managers are sometimes cornered into hiring the wrong person for the right job which in turn affects the dynamics of people within the organisation, group performance decreases, animosities occur between individuals and teams within the organisation.

Stress is a dynamic condition a person faces when confronted with an opportunity, constraint or demand related to what he/she desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important (Robbins et al). A constraint prevents one from doing what he/she desires. Demands refer to the loss of something desired. For potential stress to become apparent there must be uncertainty over outcome and the outcome must be important.

Causes of stress are found in issues related to the organisation or in personal factors that evolve out of the employee’s private life. Some examples of causes off stress are: change, excessive workloads, job boredom, role conflict, and ambiguity over job expectations, broken unity of command, excessive rules and regulations, unresponsive and unsupportive boss, unpleasant working conditions, death of a family member, health difficulties, divorce and financial difficulties.

The two major causes of stress in South Africa are race relations issues such as racism and affirmative action and globalization which is bringing with it major changes and challenges to organisations. The consequences of stress are dysfunctional relationships. A lot of effort and time is spent on addressing the issues that relate to the causes of stress instead of spending the time productively.

The stress can be reduced by proactively controlling certain organisational factors. During employee selection, the managers need to make sure that an employee’s abilities match the job requirements. Use of management by objectives instead of micro- management techniques can be used to reduce the ambiguity over job expectations, etc. Minimization of the job related stress will result in a resilient organisation.

(Robbins et al, 2003)

In the end you only have one of two options. You can hire people, use them, lose them, and then hire more people to fix what you’ve messed up. Or you can hire people, train them (meaning, train them to do their jobs AND to be the workers you want to spend your time with), and you’ll retain them. It’s simple, really.


John J. Gabarro (Managing & leading people in the organisation, 1992)

W.Bloisi, C.W.Cook, P.L. Hunsaker (Management and Organisational Behavior,2003)

John P. Kotter and Leonard A. Schlesinger (Choosing Strategies for change, 1979) Harvard business review 57

Peter F. Drucker (Harvard business review on knowledge management, 1998)

Robbins S. P., Bergman R., Stagg I. and Coulter M., (Management, 2003).

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59