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This section contains information on Managerial Information. As with the other sections it is in no particular order.

Q. The most effective leaders:

A. Lead by encouraging others to feel they accomplish tasks themselves.

In the Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Attila advises us: 'Seldom are self-centred, conceited and self-admiring chieftains great leaders, but they are great admirers of themselves.'

Entrepreneurs quite like to accept responsibility and to see themselves as hero or heroine. There is a certain satisfaction in pulling the rabbit out of the hat. However, in proving his own worth by solving crises, the leader is playing a losing game. Every time he pulls the rabbit out of the hat, he creates more dependency. That is the trap in becoming a hero. The essence of leadership is the activity of orchestrating the resources of others towards solving problems - not in being the hero oneself.

An ancient Chinese proverb, claims: 'When the best leader's work is done the people say - we did it ourselves.' The idea of leader as hero has been replaced by the concept of leader as conductor of his orchestra of players.

Q. Employees are best motivated by:

A. Paying around the market rate whilst praising frequently and appraising constructively.

Management is the art and science of getting people to do what you want them to do, because they want to do it.

This is easier said than done. Many managers believe that their staff work for money and their key staff work for more money. Pay them enough and they'll jump through any hoop.

This view is not born out by most of the research, which ranks pay as third or even fourth in the reasons why people come to work.

Understanding why people work is the key to successful motivation. The "theory" of motivation and management is contained in the following classic concepts.

Theory "X" and theory "Y".

These theories were developed by Douglass McGregor, an American social psychologist, to try to explain the assumptions about human behaviour which underlies management action.

Theory "X" makes the following assumptions:

The average person has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if possible. So management needs to put emphasis on productivity, incentive schemes and the idea of a "fair day's work".

Because of this dislike of work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to achieve the company’s goals.

People prefer to be directed, want to avoid responsibility, have little ambition and really want a secure life above all.

Despite being the antithesis of everything that "enterprise" and "growth" stands for this view still persists amongst many owner managers.

But, whilst theory "X" does explain some human behaviour, it does not provide a framework for understanding behaviour in the best businesses. McGregor, and others, have proposed an alternative.

Theory "Y" has as its basis the belief that:

Physical or mental effort at work is as natural as either rest or play. Under the right conditions hard work can be source of great satisfaction. Under the wrong conditions it can be a drudge, which will inspire little effort and less thought, from those forced to participate. Once committed to a goal most people at work are capable of a high degree of self management.

Job satisfaction and personal recognition are the highest "rewards" that can be given, and will result in the greatest level of commitment to the task in hand.

Under the right conditions most people will accept responsibility and even welcome more of it.

Few people in business are being "used" to anything like their capacity. Neither are they contributing creatively towards solving problems.

Q. When introducing any changes into your organisation that effect employees ideally you should:

A. Tell those involved the business reason for the change and involve them in the process

Change management is a business process, like many other processes in business. Following a tried and proven procedure can improve your chances of getting it right more often.

These rules show how you can break down change management into its elements. The rules work just as effectively outside of your organisation as in it.

Rule 1
Tell them why or better still help them to find out for themselves. The first rule in managing change is to explain to your staff the business case for change. For example, if a new competitor with a lower cost base has entered the market, making you appear uncompetitive, you may want to change working practices to help restore the balance. Explaining the background to the changes you want to make will help people see the changes as an opportunity to be competitive rather than a threat to existing work practices.

Better than just explaining, is to encourage staff to look outside the business for themselves and identify potential problems and suggest their own solutions. Not only might they have great ideas for change, perhaps better than yours, they will be more willing to accept them and take responsibility for making the changes succeed. The benefits of change are not always obvious. So spell them out in much the same way as you would explain the benefits of your product or service to a prospective customer.

Rule 2
Make it manageable. Even when people are dissatisfied with the present position and know exactly what needs to be done to improve things, the change may still not happen. The change may just be too big for anyone to handle. But if you break it down into manageable bits it can be made to happen.

Individual resistance to change is a normal reaction. By understanding why people are resisting it will be possible to help them see the problem as manageable.

Rule 3
Take a shared approach. Involve people early on. If you ask them to join you in managing change only at the implementation stage, it will be too late to get their full co-operation. Give your key participants some say in shaping the change right from the start. This will mean that nobody feels the change is being imposed and more brains will be brought to bear on the problem.

Whist open communication is vital, it is risky to announce intended changes until you have some committed participants alongside you.

Rule 4
Reinforce individual and team identity. People are more willing to accept change and to move from the known to the unknown, if they have confidence in themselves and their boss. Confidence is most likely to exist where people have a high degree of self esteem. Building up self esteem involves laying stress on the positive rather than the negative aspects of each persons contribution. Exhortations such as "you guys have had it too easy for too long", are unlikely to do much for people, when you are faced with major competitive pressure.

The importance to the change project of each person, both as an individual and where appropriate as a team member, needs to be emphasised.

To survive a positive, confident climate for change need lots of reinforcement, such as:

  • Rewards for achieving new goals, and as quickly as possible.
  • Highlight success stories and create as many winners as possible.
  • Have social events.
  • Pay personal attention to those most affected by the change.

Rule 5
Change takes longer than you think. Most major changes make things worse before they make them better. More often than not the immediate impact of change is a decrease in productivity as people struggle to cope with new ways of working, whilst they move up their own learning curve. The doubters will gloat and even the change champions may waver. But the greatest danger now is pulling the plug on the plan and either adopting a new plan or reverting to the status quo. To prevent this "disappointment" it is vital to both set realistic goals for the change period, and to anticipate the time lag between change and results.

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