Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who should be a manager? Part I - Self Evaluation for Managers

In 'Managing in a Time of Great Change (1995)' Peter Drucker said that "I would hope that American managers--indeed, managers worldwide--continue to appreciate what I have been saying almost from day one: that management is so much more than exercising rank and privilege, that it is much more than "making deals." Management affects people and their lives".

But how far we are able to digest this fact? In today's world, where everyone is running for an MBA degree - no matter what their natural voice says them to do - are we able to concentrate on what management actually means? Are we able to look in to this field without using financial number theory? Do we really understood the importance and value of human capital and growth, outside the thoretical world?

For the sake of saying companies may have 'a-z' ISO and other certificates from 'n' number of institutes all over the world. But how far Indian companies are able to understand and grasp the importance of human capital?

Lets look at the story of CK Prahalad, the management guru, "Only 19 at the time, Prahalad turned the factory sideways. One day, after noticing that many temporary workers were using old or torn gloves (managers doled out new gloves according to seniority), Prahalad had a thought: Why not distribute new gloves to the workers who handled the most dangerous stuff instead? Impressed, Prahalad's boss decided to mentor the young upstart, often bringing him management books to read and quizzing him about them later. Prahalad calls his Union Carbide experience a major inflection point in his life, and he still cherishes the gold chain that his workers bought for him when he left -- four years later. "I learned about the extraordinary wisdom of ordinary people," he says."

How far today's managers are able to communicate and consult with the people who are reporting to them - apart from the occassional chit-chat and the usual Q & A sessions after power point presentations? How often they are engaged in the personal development of people serving under them? Why they are remaining in the comfort zone of managers and not moving forward to the level of mentors? 

In 'Managing for the Future: The 1990's and Beyond (1992)' Peter Drucker says that "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."

Successful managers embrace discomfort. "If you do precisely what you're supposed to do," Prahalad says, "and you're boxed in, then you're going to do that very well." But if pressed to do things that aren't in your normal job description, he says, the challenge can push you to a new level of achievement.

But how far managers are ready to leave the comfort zone and step in to the intellectual development and performance improvement of individuals?

Peter Drucker saays that "An employer has no business with a man's personality. Employment is a specific contract calling for a specific performance... Any attempt to go beyond that is usurpation. It is immoral as well as an illegal intrusion of privacy. It is abuse of power. An employee owes no "loyalty," he owes no "love" and no "attitudes"--he owes performance and nothing else. .... The task is not to change personality, but to enable a person to achieve and to perform."

If Managers are not ready to look in to the management of human capital and developing a second tier of leadership under them, which can step in at any moment and lead the company with out much shakes, the company's foundation will become more and more weaker and after the initial heroism, the entity will slowly start moving to the dark corners of history as an irrelevent commodity.


Dont forget to read the next section, which will publish soon.

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