Management the opportunity
Having reviewed the material from interviews with BSSB employees and managers we have made recommendations and detailed implementation plans for the successful integration of a motivation, communication, and leadership initiatives. Leadership One of the hurdles of being a manager is not simply managing your staff, but you must lead your team. Leadership is something completely different – and most managers never make the leap and become leaders. “Leadership occurs when particular individuals exert influence on the goal achievement of others in an organizational context” (Johns p. 272).
While the role of managers or supervisors implies leadership, it does not guarantee it. If they fail to exert any influence on others, they will be ineffective leaders, furthermore, unsuccessful managers. This will undoubtedly affect the performance of the underlying staff and in the end fall on the manager’s shoulders. “Thus, leadership involves going beyond formal role requirements to influence others” (Johns p. 273). “Leaders must have visions of what they want their organization to be, but these visions must be communicated to those in the organization who will make visions realities.
Leaders make decisions, but they must communicate with others to get information, select the best decision alternative, and implement the decision. Leaders plan, decide, handle conflict, and motivate- to name just a few of their functions. All of these actions require participation in the process of communication and indeed, leadership is to a great extent a communication process” (Witherspoon p. X). In order to implement a new leadership type approach for managers, they have to take it upon themselves to direct their respective teams towards a superior work environment.
Managers “must consider the responsibilities of leadership that depend on communicating values and ideals. They must understand the importance of not only having a vision, but communicating it to their followers” (Witherspoon p. 3). In organizations, change is continual and a significant factor in daily operations, and, people should not always be troubled by it. Many of us are afraid of it, or at least uncomfortable with, change in our personal lives and at our places of work.
Within organizations, change to some individuals may mean changes in duties, or the elimination of a job. Change may cause uncertainty, and therefore anxiety, within organizations. “Effective leaders understand this phenomenon and marshal ongoing attempts at renewal with attention to communicating continuously to followers the reasons, strategies, and desired results or renewal’ (Witherspoon p. 3). In other words, leaders will have to persuade their followers that a decision of any sort is the right one.
What this all comes down to is that leadership is a process of “getting people to work together toward common goals, and though it involves vision, purpose, and mobilization of people and resources, it is ultimately a relationship or a chemistry between leaders and their associates” (Witherspoon p. 4). Furthermore, a leader helps organizational members make sense out of what is going on in the environment by explaining the myriad of factors, influences, and events affecting their workplace in terms that are understandable to them.
“A leader acting as a good medium will: (1) exhibit a variety of communication functions; (2) avoid simplifying information; (3) be adaptive when dealing with sources of information that differ; and (4) be able to handle the complexity that is created as one communicates with different followers at different times and on different topics” (Witherspoon p. 7). Together, leaders and followers enact visions, solve problems, make decisions, and reach goals by talking in a language they both understand.
For example, in sports, a hockey team has a strategy laid out by the coach and explained to the players. If the players cannot understand the system, they will be unsuccessful in achieving their goals; the same principles apply to an organization. “The language in any type of an organization must constantly be renewed through continual communication between superiors and subordinates. Just as organizations are continually changing, so does the language of leading and following, through an interdependent communication process” (Witherspoon p.7).
Anything that affects the organization should be explained to followers, and the leader must interpret the information at a surface level and give meaning to that information to make it of use to organizational members. To understand organizational leadership is to understand the actions that individuals take to move persons, groups, and/or organizations toward their goal. Such actions are examples of leadership behaviors and most, if not all, depend on leader-follower interaction if they are to be successful.
In today’s business world, motivation of employees is one of the major issues for many companies. For any industry, whether private or public sector, it is essential that the organization know how to motivate subordinates and to retain them because in the end human capital (i. e. intelligence) is the greatest asset a company could have. Although motivating employees is no small task, taking the time and effort to do so will not only make them more productive, it will make them happier and healthier as well. Motivation is the extent to which a persistent effort is directed toward a goal (Johns & Saks, 2001).
In another words, motivation occurs when individuals put effort into achieving specific goals that are personal or business oriented. As we noticed with the BSSB, employee’s lack of effort is evident in their daily work and their attitudes towards work in general. A major contributing factor for employee’s behavior stems from the fact that the content of the job is dull and unchallenging, while the most interesting work is subcontracted to private firms. There are two types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation is applied upon a person by providing means of motivation such as rewards or threat of punishment. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation stems from within an individual; the employee wants to do the work and puts forth an effort to accomplish something. In his ‘Two factor theory’ Frederick Herzberg points out the importance of one’s own internal motivation (Herzberg et al. , 1959). Employees that are intrinsically motivated tend to be more enthusiastic about their work and are more eager to succeed since they are already motivated prior to undertaking the task. At BSSB, this is not the case.
The extrinsic factors influencing employee behavior are the job security of being employed by the federal government and the benefits received in the form of salary, vacation, and medical coverage. The employees are lacking the intrinsic motivation factors. The way to increase employees’ motivation is to go to the source of the problem itself. The reason that sub-contracting has become widely used by the BSSB and the departments within Environment Canada is that management feels that the employees are lacking in technical skills and knowledge related to new technologies and development techniques.
The managers need to focus their attention on employees’ personal and professional development. Managers need to offer or provide assistance for the necessary training (technical classes) to aide their employees in acquiring the required skills. By providing employees with the necessary skills, managers will be enhancing employees’ intrinsic motivation; they will want to do the job and to do it well. The next step to providing intrinsic motivation will be to stress the importance of the projects done by the employees.
The managers have to ensure that the employees feel connected to the relevance of what they do “so that when they hear the company chairman holding fort, or their own leader, they can relate it to their own work and put their contribution in context” (Pitts, p. 10, 1995). Employees need to see their role in the bigger picture of the organization. To help them see that role, and give them the sense of ownership in what they are doing, managers might even involve employees in the planning process for upcoming projects.
By involving employees in the planning and process of upcoming project, employees will see the significance of their contributions and realize that their job is to take initiative and solve problems, and not just do what they are told. They will see that management cares about them and values their ideas and suggestions. The recognition will also add to the employees feeling of self-worth, which in turn is intrinsically motivating. Delegating more responsibilities to the employees may increase employees’ satisfaction at work, thus motivating them even further.
By putting the employees in charge of their professional lives, they will feel like they are part of the organization and not just an instrument in achieving predetermined goals (Britt, 2003). Autonomy can allow people to attain their own objectives while still complying with the organizational goals. Delegating too much freedom and power to employees, however, might lead to some unfavorable results. Employees, thus, must still be somewhat accountable to management. Communication “The amount of evidence on which methods of communicating with employees are most appreciated and most effective is limited. ” (Maude, p.87)
However, it is essential at some period to have a personal, face-to-face explanation. Employees need someone who they can approach to receive information, discuss or debate. People who are able to communicate usually do a better job of working together. The firm should consider providing training in oral communications skills for managers, as speech is quite “a powerful agent of persuasion and control. ” (Maude, p. 88) Group sessions are an excellent method of improving upward communication. In order to allow even the most timid employees to feel comfortable and free to speak their mind, meetings should be as informal as possible.
During this period, it will allow management the opportunity “to explain plans and for employees to state how it should be carried out. ” (Maude, p. 101) Employees should be encouraged to make suggestions regarding company plans, policies and managerial methods. Also, matters and concerns such as work can be discussed, improvements suggested, and for misunderstandings to be resolved. The existence of upward communication channels can boost morale as employees have the opportunity to express ideas and feelings and receive feedback from top management.
These meetings should most likely be held during the last half-hour the workday as not to interfere with work schedules. The drawback of this is that employees may fear to speak about problems and failures because they believe it will tarnish their image or hinder promotion chances. Information does not naturally flow down to lower levels, but has to be piped and pumped down. A good flow of communication within an organization requires a continuous and prolonged effort from top management to be seen and heard. Therefore, each day, “employees get the information they need in order to do their jobs intelligently and effectively.
” (Maude, p. 67) When a firm fails to present job performance feedback to employees, this may cause uncertainty and resentment. Also, when feedback is not provided, it deprives employees of any information regarding weak aspects that need to be rectified and the strong areas, which need to be maintained and developed. Performance feedback can be more useful if employees are given the opportunity to air their thoughts about their superiors. Train managers to listen actively. “Active listening means having and expressing a willingness to listen to entire message before coming to conclusions.
Restating the message to make sure it has been received accurately. Asking questions to make sure the message is understood. Reflecting on the message before providing a response” (McWhirter, p. 46). Managers and employees must be educated about how to handle constructive criticism. The disadvantage is that it is quite difficult to accept criticism. Most individuals have learned so many negative things about giving and receiving criticism that it may take some time to implement. Arrange training programs so managers can learn the techniques of gathering, editing and transmitting information to employees.
“Managers have to be shown how to extract the meat from the mass of data and put the basic message across simply and clearly” (Maude, p. 68). This means that managers must be able to break down information and extract what is needed in order to communicate with employees. Provide a suggestion box and a “speak up” administrator for employees who are afraid to voice the opinions. In doing so, employees are able to ask questions, comment and receive a response without ever having to reveal his/her identity to their superiors. Responses will be sent to the employee when it arrives from management by the “speak up” administrator.
Without the proper information and open line of communication, employees are not sure what the firm or department should be trying to achieve. Consequently, employees begin to pursue individual rather than corporate goals. Management must constantly stress teamwork as an important factor for success. Top management should arrange an attitude survey to improve employee information. “If it is quite clear that certain individuals or groups are under-informed, then the problem can be rectified by increasing the volume of information directed at them. ” (Maude, p.65)
“The reality is that for participation and empowerment to really take hold in any organization, people have to be put into teams, even if only nominally” (McWhirter, p. 59); make everything a team effort. Activities that employees generally view as individual efforts can be made into team efforts. If a firm wants to put emphasis on teamwork, it must promote and reward those who are team players, rather than the individual. As a team, members should be able to speak their minds, such as expressing opinions, state facts, presenting ideas and ask questions.
The inability to do so does not make for effective teams. Advantages of teamwork are: division of labor, more resources available, brainstorming, encourage diversity, allows members to learn new and different skills, different perspectives, and easier to implement solutions. Disadvantages of teamwork are: disagreements, scheduling problems, unfair distribution, conflict, indecision, time restraints, diffusion of responsibility, difficult personalities, non-productive, communication. Educate both management and subordinates on how to handle constructive criticism.
Next, create and organizing proper teams. Outline team authority, as teams need to understand what they are responsible for. Each member should be informed of what responsibilities they may have and what kind of authority they have, to meet these responsibilities. Turn supervisors into coaches. “Coaches teach people to achieve performance goals. They may give orders, but more often they give advice to the team” (McWhirter, p. 62). Make everything a team effort. Properly deal with non-team players. Lastly, Provide support for teams.
However, there is one drawback. Mainly, rewarding a team effort, rather than the individual, may prove quite difficult for firms. If an employee works extremely hard and is not rewarded because the team failed to meet its objectives, this may reduce morale and motivation, particularly in the case where the employee/s are used to individual rewards. Conclusion After thoroughly examining the problems at the BSSB branch of Environment Canada, we have provided them with an implementation plan to help turnaround their operation into a more enjoyable work experience.
This includes changes in the leadership, motivation, and communication aspects. Managers will have to be more proactive, more forthcoming with information to their subordinates. Leaders must have a vision, and they must project it clearly, so that it is easily understandable by their followers. Communication is defined as the process of exchanging information between the sender and receiver. Managers spend a considerable amount of time communicating. They must ensure effective communication. Meaning, getting the proper information to the right individuals in a timely fashion.