It is quite clear that effective management is a crucial part of any business’ organisational strategy and effective managers are the ones create an effective management system. The argument about “good managers are made or born” is continuing for decades since and the role of managers is concerned. But the idea is changing through time. Nowadays, technology and management skills have continued to develop; managers are required to be consistently followed up and updated themselves to fit in. With this perspective, I strongly believe that managers are well-trained through experience and training processes to really become “good” ones. That is why organisations spend millions of dollar on leadership training processes to create a good management system for their business. The purpose of this report is to support the idea that “good managers are made”, sale manager in here is used as a model to support my argument.
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To discuss further more about “born” or “made”, we should have a brief idea what are characteristics of a good manager. There are two points of view about an effective sale manager’s characteristics, one is from sale managers and one is from sale representatives. In a research of Deeter-Schmelz, Goebel, and Kennedy (2008), they found that nine over eleven attributes of an effective manager are agreed by both points of view: communication and listening skills, human relations skills, organisation and time management skills, knowledge possession, coaching skills, motivational skills, honest and ethical tendencies, selling skills, leadership skills, willingness to empower, and adaptability (Deeter-Schmelz, Goebel, and Kennedy, 2008). Those skills listed above are all required an amount of time to learn, to train and to adapt them. Good managers are not born with all those characteristics, they are the one who are able to improve themselves, who are able to change every day to “make” themselves better and better. It is suggested that managers should have their own training programs to really learning and developing their own skills (Vazzana and Jordan, 2012).
For a long time, organisations only focus on training the front line employees and ignore managers’ learning processes. Managers have been through a lot of trainings of their team members but themselves are suffering on correcting and learning skills of a true leader (Vazzana and Jordan, 2012). That is why from managers’ perspective they believe that they are more participating in front line staff’s activities rather than being supportive as their members need them to be (Deeter-Schmelz, Goebel, and Kennedy, 2008). So why do we waste all the time and money to find new managers when we can train them to be more effective and more supportive. There are specific skills that different levels of managers have to learn. As lower-level managers, there should be more training programs about company knowledge, company policies or time management, etc. (Deeter-Schmelz, Goebel, and Kennedy, 2008). That is not enough for a manager, coaching and mentoring are also very important part to put in training programs. But they are less effective when managers are to learn in an inactive way, in which they listen and remember, not actually acting it. So another useful way is discovered.
Higher-level managers will share experiences and train the newer to develop skills. Managers will help their colleagues to improve and become better. With these interactions every day, every week, managers can see, learn and practice at the same time (Manikutty, 2005). This is a very effective way because those people interacts closely at work and they all have experience, it will enhance managers’ knowledge and skills quickly, and also enhance relationship among organisation. After learning all the values of the organisation and starting to adopt all the skills, managers can come to a higher position and learning more skills. In an organisation, there will be a higher-level leader/ manager that you admire and believe. That person will be the one who create a powerful atmosphere to people around them and also a very strong relief. That “charisma” mentioned above is very important for characteristics of a manager/ leader in the head office of an organisation. M. Alexander Kuhn (2012) believed that “charisma was not a gift or innate ability, but a skill to be developed and refined as part of a leader’s repertoire”. Charismatic leaders are different from others in three areas.
The first are is articulation. A great manager has to have a clear, understandable and powerful statement come together with a leader’s tone. Second is branding. Standing in the head office of an organisation, a high level manager has to create their own real reputation such as healthy lifestyle, consistent working attitude, etc. This will support manager’s statement to be more powerful and realistic that makes his staff to listen. Third area is affection. If a person is not really sure about what he believes, he cannot persuade other people to believe it like him. So a charismatic leader really has a strong belief in the organisation’s value, in the direction that they make up to encourage their staff working hard toward it. It is also about caring others’ opinions. A manager affects his employee but there will be the time that he stops and listening to others’ perspective. Balance between that will lead to a successful way of management (Kuhn, 2012).
A very practical example is Disney. In 2011, Walt Disney was ranked by CNN Money as the third most admired company in the world for people management. It is quite clear that the organisation had created a great base of effective managers to achieve that. The leaders must encourage their cast members (staff) to connect emotionally with customers whether they are on stage or back stage. Former Walt Disney CEO, Michael Eisner say that Walt Disney World is driven by an “emotional engine” rather than an “economic engine”. The current CEO, Bob Iger shared his opinion about being a leader “You’ve got to be an optimist. You can’t be a pessimist. When you come to work, you’ve got to show enthusiasm and spirit. You can’t let people see you brought down by the experience of failure. You don’t have that luxury. I believe in taking big risks creatively. If you fail, don’t do it with mediocrity—do it with something that was truly original, truly a risk”.
All the methodology that are listed above is to gradually create a “good” manager. A normal person still can become a manager but to become a “good” one, he needs to put a lot of effort to study and to learn day by day. Organisations nowadays spend a lot of money on developing programs for managers to help them improve their skills. That is why I strongly believe that good managers are made. They are made from their effort of learning effectively.
Ignatius, A & Iger, RA 2011, ‘Technology, tradition and the Mouse’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 89, no. 7, pp. 112-117.
Deeter-Schmelz, Goebel, Kennedy, 2008, ‘what are the characteristics of an effective sales manager? An exploratory study comparing salesperson and sales manager perspectives’, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management,
Vol.28, Issue 1, pp. 7-20.
Vazzana, Jordan, Jun2012, ‘your guide to developing sales managers: how to effectively maximise neglected talent’, Vol. 66, Issue 6, p34-43.
Manikutty, 2005, ‘manager as a trainer, a coach and a mentor’, vol.30, issue 2, p57-64.
Kuhn, 2012, ‘charismatic leaders’, vol.29, issue7, p20-20.