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Management Skills: for Todays Manager

Written by: Arpita Mandal Why do I need management skills in my profession even though I am a manager by designation? What competencies are required and how they can be acquired? This article will cover similar questions running across different minds and will also give a par view on management functions. The occupation of a manager is as important as the captain of a rudderless ship, and hence of paramount significance. But to handle it all, a manager has to have certain competencies. In effect, a manager leads by instance and his/her team reflects the work ethics and standards set by him/her. But with efficient work, the manager wins the respect and trust of the colleagues and the biggest recognition comes from the company which takes his/her career far. In todays rat-race, it is important to get work done and at the same time, be cordial and liked. The principles of management have long been characterized into the four major functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (the P-O-L-C framework) to facilitate managers respond to the challenge of creative problem solving. The four functions, summarized in the P-O-L-C figure, are actually highly integrated when carried out in the day-to-day realities of running an organization.

1. 2. 3. Vision & Mission Strategizing Goals & Objectives

1. 2. 3. Organizational Design Culture Social Networks 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Leadership Decision Making Communications Groups/Teams Motivation 1. 2.

Systems/Processes Strategic Human Resources

Figure 1. The P-O-L-C Framework Consequently manager acquires management functions as their management skills which are robust competencies in the hands of the manager. Despite the company we work for or the size of the team that we supervise, these skills make us succeed as a manager. A manager's four essential competencies are: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. Planning is an ample element of business management skills and an initial phase of P-O-L-C dimension. A manager who can plan is one who has the competence to accomplish tasks. Planning entails setting up activities, probing, analyzing, setting goals and objectives, distributing resources, shaping strategies and timelines. As a manager we need to ensure that each goal translates into an activity and that each activity helps meet that organizational goal. Planning can be categorized into Strategic, Tactical and Operational Planning. Organizing is the element of management that involves embryonic an organizational structure and allocating human resources to ensure the accomplishment of objectives.

To accomplish goals and to trace performance, a manager compiles and coordinates the resources and such as human, monetary and other tangible and non-tangible assets. Later, it entails assigning and delegating tasks to various team members to complete certain tasks and make things happen. Many jobs are now designed based on such principles as empowerment, job enrichment and teamwork. For example, it has been mentioned in HUIs website that HUI Manufacturing, a custom sheet metal fabricator, has done away with traditional departments to focus on listening and responding to customer needs. From company-wide meetings to team huddles, HUI employees know and understand their customers and how HUI might service them best . Leading is considered to be the third phase of P-O-L-C dimension. If managers are effective leaders, their subordinates will be enthusiastic about exerting effort to attain organizational objectives. To become effective at leading, managers must first understand their subordinates expectations, personalities, values, attitudes, and emotions. Leading means Inspiring; a manager should strive to become an inspiration to the rest of the followers. It is a key to effective communication and successfully contributes more to the bottom line. Controlling is the fourth phase of P-O-L-C dimension. In this a manager must be able to provide managerial control, technology and innovation, build and manage change. It ensures that performance does not diverge from standards. Controlling consists of four steps, which include (1) establishing performance standards, (2) measuring performance (3) comparing actual performance against standards, and (4) taking corrective action when necessary. It also ensures that work-plans are being implemented and goals are achieved by overseeing and estimating performance. Moreover a manager will be able to decide whether some remedial and preventive methods need to be taken.

Other valuable business management skills:

Recent days companies are in need of managers who show a broad collection of competencies on top of their specialized, hard skills. Soft skills are very important to our thriving performance as managers. Good work ethics, positive attitude, cultural sensitivity, keenness to gain continuous knowledge, exceptional business conduct and principles have massive impact on employees, organizational surroundings and stakeholders. Mutual aid within the organization as well as a healthy, transparent work atmosphere is based on pleasing attitudes and soft-skills.

Learning Objectives:
1. To understand the functions of the planning-organizing-leading-controlling (P-O-L-C) framework. 2. To provide constructive guidance into what the ideal job of a manager should look like.