Raj's Lab

Strategy and Entrepreneurship


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A Message for Managers

Every person who runs a company or is given the responsibility to complete a task using a group of people is forced to learn to handle individuals. In today’s world as the transition happens from Gen X to Gen Y, collaboration is the key word. In number of institutions we now have young people leading teams with senior members often twice their age on their teams. In all situations we find the complexity of human handling constantly tending to the north. We have truly made the transition from Frederick Taylor’s world to that of Peter Drucker’s.

In Frederick Taylor’s world employees were managed for efficiency and productivity, while in that of Drucker’s it was more of effectiveness and results – and both were right in their own worlds. As more and more work is getting knowledge based focus on how much more can one churn out in a particular span of time is becoming less important than the quality of output.

While the need to manage or the need for a manager has not changed, the approach that one needs to consider in managing has definitely undergone and continues to undergo drastic change. Not acknowledging this major but slow transformation is beginning to manifest itself in the form of unhappy subordinates, whining bosses, increased attrition, interpersonal conflicts and publicly displayed inappropriate behavior. All this is leading to social degradation at a high level and is hence necessitating an urgent need for all playing the role of manager to start moving from efficiency based management techniques to effectiveness based managing.

While one could have studied and improved the work output of an employee on the shop floor by giving appropriate directions and improved work environment, it may be difficult to force the best advertorial or an innovative design or unique concept by adopting this scientific method of managing (direction oriented). Productivity based incentive, a management technique which worked earlier may also not elicit the desired level of response from the employee. So what works or rather what will make your employee work. This is where the seminal work of Peter Drucker comes to our rescue. He has identified four things that every manager should do:

  • Set Objectives (not give directions)
  • Organizes (makes available relevant work environment and tools)
  • Motivates and Communicates ( this has got renewed emphasis in the knowledge worker community)
  • Measure

In short the focus of the manager today should be more on making his team capable of delivering more, rather than what is their best output. This shift in thinking can make all the difference to the work output of the team and to the success of a manager!

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