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Management: The Toughest Job in Leadership

Introduction

Leadership is about influence and not position. Management can be defined as the act of coordinating efforts of people within an organization for the purpose of accomplishing certain goals and objectives by employing the use of existing resources competently and effectively. Managing people can be considered one of the most difficult jobs because a manager has to earn people’s trust in order to command the followship in any organization. Human resource managers have the tough responsibility of recruiting right people and supervising their work to ensure that those employees do not deviate from the vision and mission of the company. Managers face difficulty of formulating the fresh goals and objectives each day and distributing tasks to the right people to ensure that deadlines are met. Achievement of every manager is measured in terms of results in the line of planning, coordinating, controlling and directing. This paper shades light on management as the toughest job in any leadership position based on reflection, summary, and analysis of 3 articles retrieved from www.workforce.com.

Summaries of the Articles

“Leading Leadership to Better Results”

The article is an interview featuring Mary Lippitt, an author and a resourceful person on matters of leadership. Lippitt’s main view is that leadership lies in the eyes of the employee but can be broadly summarized as results. The interviewee reveals an exponential growth in challenges that leaders encounter on a daily basis. These complex risks and integrated opportunities require managers to learn to ask difficult questions apart from just being always in a position to provide the needed answers. Lippitt also reports about high CEO turnover, thus calling for those in managerial positions to expand their vision and accept readjustments. Continuing, Workforce’s managing editor asked about the ways through which corporate leaders can escape thwarting of their visions by boards and shareholders. In response, Lippitt encourages managers to offer realistic assessments of complexities and risks, show the value of investing in preparations, and recommend diversification for achievement of goals. Gender also plays an important role in leadership that is evidenced by the fact that female leaders tend to consider more options than male counterparts. Lippitt describes leadership as an acquired trait and challenges the mentors to seek development of analytical and strategic thinking. She concludes the interview by pointing out a quality of an ideal leader as demonstration of wisdom through vision, goal-setting and engaging subordinates to swiftly execute the goals.

“Stuck in the Middle”

In this article, Madeleine Homan-Blanchard (2015) delineates middle-level management position as the toughest job any leader can ever hold within an organization. He compares this occupation with an unending thankless marathon that a person has to endure. Middle-level managers are shown to have the difficult task of guiding employees in supporting organizational vision and strategies of which they make zero contribution to during formulation. Their jobs are depicted to exist in two faces, namely, leading their teams and managing affairs of the company; hence, they have to master act of leadership in multiple fronts to succeed. They also face complications stemming from leading multiple generations working in technical jobs in which they have no skill and expertise on. Consequently, middle-level managers are portrayed as individuals who are more focused and geared towards accomplishing daily tasks to the extent of overlooking how important it is to develop healthy relationships within the organization. The author notes that successful middle-level managers are the ones who accomplish much, but at the same time, know people since their success is limited to attitudes of the individuals they lead. The solution to handling what is considered ‘the toughest job in leadership’ is provided. The strategies include efficiency in receiving direct reports, caring about subordinates, and staying on supervisor’s radar. The the author concludes with encouraging middle-level managers to adapt to challenges and difficulties of the job and make the most of the middle.

“Why We Suck at Defining Employee Potential”

In this article, Kris Dunn (2015) focuses on relating employee potential to performance and how managers can exploit those behavioural characteristics in employees to enhance or derail their ability to bring success in an organization. The author introduces an approach to management of performances employed by many companies referred to as “9-box grid” (Dunn, 2015). He notes that the first way of measuring employee potential is using organizational values since they already exist within the company. The author reports that the challenge arising out of this issue is difficulty in evaluating these values such that it only becomes easy to note the problem once it is gone. In conjunction, the most appropriate way of measuring potentialities within the organization is embodied in identifying the qualities that are common among high performers. The concept of potential factors is brought up in the article. These are similar to competencies but cut across every job position in any organization. They provide guidelines on what it takes to be successful within a company. Dunn (2015) concludes the article by insisting on making measurement of employees’ potentials a reality. He notes that it would take the use of competencies to find a common language or create one if the needed competencies do not exist.

Importance of the Topic

Management is a relevant topic in this era where organizations face leadership crisis. As Mary Lippitt points out in the interview, the lifespan of CEOs grows shorter every year (Bell, 2015). This is due to failed leadership. Lippitt emphasizes that leadership is about results, and if managers in both executive and middle positions cannot take an organization they lead to new heights, their terms are often cut short (Bell, 2015). In conjunction, it is vital to discuss management in order to comprehend principal factors that can drive managers towards success. The topic also reveals challenges facing managers in contemporary society. For example, Bell (2015) asked Lippitt how corporate leaders can escape hindrances posed by greedy shareholders and ruthless boards to their visions. This issue means that managers continually experience opposition to their vision in the company and it is crucial to fathom various ways of overcoming such obstacles. Any organization is where it is to date because of leadership strategies employed by the management, thus making the concept the most important one as far as human resource is concerned. Therefore, the significance of the topic is evidenced by its ability to reveal issues that enhance and challenge contemporary leadership in any organization across the world.

The topic provides a platform of understanding employees as the most significant capital. Management is concerned about controlling and directing employees to work towards meeting the organizational goals and objectives. Dunn (2015) wrote about defining employee’s potential as a way of maximizing productivity. Staffing is a management function that requires managers to distribute duties and tasks to the most qualified employees. This circumstance implies that every middle-level manager must know the potential of each employee in order to assign him/her in the right area of duty. According to Homan-Blanchard (2015), middle-level managers often neglect relationships with subordinates. This tendency proves to be detrimental in light of delegation of duties because a manager may fail to match a duty with the most suitable/qualified employee.

Discussion on the topic also reveals key values an employee needs to posses to be a high performer. Such information is instrumental for managers as it provides the necessary guidelines and framework for delegation of duties and training the subordinates. Dunn (2015) illustrates that a manager must identify common qualities among high-achievers, such as integrity, honesty, diligence, and focus among others, in efforts to measure employee potential. Every company has its values and managers constantly have to determine whether employees posses and abide by those values which prevents them from deviating from vision and mission of the organization. Therefore, discussion of management is critical to human resource since it reveals factors that drive productivity among employees.

The topic highlights importance of a healthy relationship between a manager and employees. Human resources is entirely concerned about dealing with affairs of employees; hence, they must treat the workforce as the most important asset in any organization. Homan-Blanchard (2015) in his article notes that when management empowers employees, they would be more motivated to work rather than rebel and waste time,. Accordingly, productivity would be increased, and the company would definitely meet its objectives. Information about management provides insights on ways of making the employees feel the essence of the organization through healthy relationships with leaders.

Role of gender in management also surfaces in light of discussion on the topic. Gender affair is a big issue in the contemporary society. In past, males were always preferred in leadership positions over women as a result of cultural stereotypes. However, according to Lippitt, women mind employing variety of options in solving problems than men, hence can successfully navigate change without pitfalls (Bell, 2015). In short, management is a crucial subject in helping close gaps and disparities that exist around gender, especially representation of women in boards and executive positions of leadership.

Conclusion

This paper delineated the factors that make management the most challenging leadership position with evidence from 3 articles retrieved from a human resource based website. The distinction between management and leadership is crystal clear in this discussion. Management is based more on a position, while leadership relates to character and qualities. Managers are depicted to face numerous challenges that can be overcome when right measures are employed.

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