The role of manager has undergone huge changes in the past few years. Gone is the stereotypical manager of the past who supervised from a distance, controlled through statistics and related to people through the rulebook. In has come a person who works for others, who is master communicator, who can relate positively to individuals and teams and who can turn conflict into win-win solutions. In short, the modern manager has become an assertive manager.
1. New Ways Of Relating. The issues that face managers in the modern workplace are no different from those of the past: how to relate to others; how to use power; how to get things done; how to make the most of people; how to meet people's needs. Traditional forms of management, based on models from the Industrial Revolution, have given way to Assertive forms of management, based on new ways of relating to people. They include the following seven changes...
1. co-operation, not confrontation
2. fair treatment for everyone, not favouritism
3. power to do, not power to impress
4. openness, not secrecy
5. empowerment, not control
6. using conflict to build, not destroy
7. integrity, not manipulation.
2. New Role Of Management. The Assertive Manager is characterised as someone who...
* sees the employment relationship as a win-win one rather than a win-lose or lose-win one. This means that all dealings with others are essentially co-operative rather than confrontational.
* recognises that their role is to communicate effectively with the team rather than to criticise and condemn the team
* knows that, in the absence of close and honest communication, people become defensive, evasive and play competitive games, all of which lead to wasted energy
* is flexible enough in their approach to managing to use a range of styles to help people do their jobs better
* doesn't flinch from taking decisions and is fair, firm and direct when needed.
3. New Values. In the conforming-competing organisations of the past, work was often seen as either "coffee-morning substitute" or as a "power arena". Work as coffee-morning substitute meant seeing work as predominantly social. This encouraged people to fit in, be nice, please others, conform, be part of the club, follow the norms of those in charge. At the other extreme, work as power arena meant seeing it as a means for personal advancement, status-seeking and power accumulation. In the more realistic business world of the 21st century, these models will no longer be relevant, and will be replaced with models where it matters far less who people are and far more what value they add.
4. Outdated Models. In organisations whose management style is based on the models of the Industrial Revolution...
* technology comes first, people come second
* the organisation resembles a machine which is controlled by management and only occasionally needs maintained
* people have fixed needs that can be manipulated by offering or withdrawing money
* managers are machine controllers
* power is hierarchical and concentrated at the top
* relationships are laid down by edict from the top and described on an organisation chart
* people do what they're told because managers have the power to make them.
5. New Models. In organisations whose management style is based on the models of the Information Revolution...
* people come first; technology exists to serve people
* the organisation resembles a community of people like a large village
* people cannot be controlled without a price to pay
* people's value lies in what they know and how this knowledge can be used for the benefit of the customer
* everyone involved in the organisation is an equal stakeholder
* managers are leaders who create the conditions for growth
* power is anarchic because everyone has knowledge and so everyone has power
* relationships are determined by personal and interpersonal skills such as assertiveness.
If you are still managing in a dictatorial, heavy-handed way, you have to change and change fast. But it will be well worth the effort. Not only will your own life be easier, so will your relationships and your results.
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(c) Eric Garner, ManageTrainLearn.com.
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