The importance of effective management

by The Times 100 on Monday 14th February, 2011

It appears that the British workforce is dressing less formally these days. A recent poll found that only one tenth of employees wear a suit every day and more than a third choose to wear jeans. The introduction of 'dress down Fridays' over the past few decades has led to a much more casual approach to work dress. Wearing a suit is often no longer thought necessary in order to be smart. Professor Cooper of Lancaster University Management School suggests that there is likely to be a positive correlation between greater productivity and a more casual dress code. However, the editor of Esquire magazine, Alex Bilmes, says that 'some professions like waiters, policemen and lawyers still understand the value of looking the part. If you put on a tailored suit and pressed shirt you are putting on a suit of armour. You will walk a bit straighter and taller and people will take you more seriously.' (BBC, 11th February 2011)

Although there is no definitive research to prove any relationship between the style of work dress and productivity, there is substantial research to show that poor leadership can result in reduced productivity. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the professional body in the UK that is dedicated to management and leadership. The purpose of the organisation is to promote the highest levels of management and leadership skills in individuals and organisations. Managers are the biggest occupational group in the UK, yet only one in every five is professionally qualified. The CMI provides support and training to help managers develop the skills they need to inspire their workers and encourage creative thinking.

To ensure the best response from workers, managers must learn to adapt their leadership style to reflect the needs of different situations. Some styles are more appropriate in certain situations than others. For example, an autocratic style is necessary in a crisis or for issues affecting health and safety. Whilst our choice of work clothes may affect personal performance, developing a motivated and productive workforce goes far beyond what managers wear.

Questions
1.Using the CMI case study, List the key functions of managers according to Henri Fayol.
2.Explain four different management styles.
3.Analyse the different factors affecting the productivity of a workforce.

Answers

1.Using the CMI case study, list the key functions of managers according to Henri Fayol.

Fayol said that the key functions of managers are to:

  • Plan and make forecasts
  • Organise work
  • Command and give instructions to those in their span of control
  • Co-ordinate available resources efficiently
  • Control and monitor performance

2.Explain four different management styles.

  • Autocratic: the manager maintains full control and makes all the decisions without consultation with subordinates. Instructions are issued and workers are expected to obey.
  • Paternalistic: similar to an autocratic style but managers make decisions that take into account the best interests of their subordinates
  • Democratic: managers consult with employees and encourage participation. They share more information with their subordinates.
  • Laissez-faire: managers relinquish control for decision making to the subordinates. Most useful with creative, motivated and highly skilled workers.

3.Analyse the different factors affecting the productivity of a workforce.

Possible answers might include:

  • Leadership style adopted by managers
  • Training provided to workers
  • Reward schemes and recognition (may be included in appraisal schemes)
  • The effectiveness of recruitment and selection processes
  • Level of investment in technology where appropriate
  • Relationships within the workplace e.g. social element of work, employee/employer relations
  • The amount of participation expected of workers within decision making.

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