It is All About the Content

Every post from social media experts seems to boil down to those six words so apparently Content is King. This lesson needs to be learned by salespeople as well as social marketers.

Marketing studies indicate that 71% of customers that purchased automobiles said they bought because they liked their salesperson (Kershner, 2008). I believe that statistic to a point (my debate teacher always used the phrase, there are three kinds of lies, lies, damned lies, and statistics). I think the failure in that logic is the reason why the customer said they liked their salesperson.

Old guard sales trainers spent (and spend) hours and hours with new salespeople explaining how to find common ground with customers by asking questions about family, kids, work, etc… which is all good information and can be extremely useful during the sales process, but here comes the but. The fact that you found out what elementary school your customer attended is probably not the reason that they say they like you.

Customers like efficient, knowledgeable, competent salespeople, regardless of where they went to school or their background. We have now circled back to our point, Content is King. The question whether a customer liked their salesperson does not dive deep enough, the question could be turned around to say, did you tolerate your salesperson because they were knowledgeable and respected your time even though you were from different background?

All of those soft questions about background and family are great when worked in throughout the process but only after you have demonstrated to your customer that you are a professional salesperson that understands their needs and knows how your products will satisfy those needs.

My point, finally, is that salespeople need to concentrate more on having specific content in their presentation that will appeal to their customers. Spending time learning screen resolution or mounting options of televisions, horsepower or safety features of new cars, or features of whatever it is you sell is time well spent.

You want to make money, right? You want to consistently produce for your company and family, right? You will only be successful if you understand that content is king and spend the time to create specific and pertinent content for your customers.

Kershner, Jeff, 2008, https://www.dealerrefresh.com/dealer-showroom-floor-sales-statistics-and-percentages/

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Are you Ready to Sell?

Salespeople are typically an easy group to distract is a statement I debated about writing at all. The point of the post started out being that small things that you, as an owner or manager, never questioned were working with processes in place may be the reason you aren’t as successful as you want to be. 

That seems like a great place to start a post, especially after discovering that in our organization people that should be able to process credit cards can’t always because they don’t always have access to the terminal. Crazy, right? Wait, this is the crazy part and why I say salespeople are easily distracted. The way I discovered our logistical issue was by walking in and discovering a salesperson with a string tied to a broom handle trying to open the door to reach the credit card terminal. He had a sale and was not going to let a locked door stop him.

So when I say salespeople are easily distracted I say it to emphasize the importance of removing every obstacle between your people and the sale otherwise your sales team may spend there day with broom handles and strings. 

We Make It Harder: Your Company’s New Motto

Everyone says it, regardless of the industry, “we make things harder then they have to be.” In the automotive industry we feel like the process should be simple: buy cars, get customers, sell cars. In the restaurant business we map out the process: buy food, prepare food, get customers, sell food. Every industry has basic goals that can be boiled down to simple statements. So why do we produce so many documents and flowcharts, why do we write so many mission statements and revised organizational plans? The answer is as simple as business should be: people are involved.

I visited a restaurant last weekend, the name of which includes the word wings, as in chicken wings. I was there for that reason, it was time to enjoy wings. Guess what the wing restaurant had run out of? Yep, no wings to be had. I am quite sure that when the founder of this restaurant started out his plan was simple: buy wings, cook wings, get customers, sell wings. Do you think that he ever thought that anyone that bought one of his franchises would need to be told not to run out of wings? No, and in reality the franchisee probably understood the concept but the store manager or assistant manager did not. That may not be accurate, they may have understood the concept but because they were dealing with the minute by minute problems that come up when managing anything they just forgot or miscalculated; hard to know why but the lesson is there for us all.

Never make the process harder than it has to be. When the business begins to add employees and grows there have to be processes created to ensure the necessary functions are done. A process is a clearly defined, measurable, repeatable and written guide on how to do something. Once a process is in place it has to become ingrained into the culture of the organization and every employee involved must know, understand and follow the process.

When an owner or manager of a company says in exasperation, “Why do we make this so hard?” the answer is usually because someone does not know or is not following the process (assuming there is a process). What happens next may determine the fate of the business because if the exasperated owner or manager simply makes the statement and does not take the necessary steps to teach and enforce the process that manager or owner has failed. Every failure creates complications and soon creates a culture that may never be fixed.

Business may not be quite as simple as buy wings, cook wings, get customers, sell wings but with simple processes strictly enforced it is possible to have a business that feels as simple as it should.

Subcontractor or Employee?

Employment of a commissioned salesperson is often viewed as a subcontractor relationship because many employers only pay if sales are made, however based on the laws that cover labor relations in most cases salespeople are employees.  There are many reasons that a company might prefer to use subcontractors instead of hiring full time employees.  There are many laws that define how workers are classified.  It is important for a company to properly define its sales staff for several reasons.

Salespeople are typically employees rather than sub-contractors.  Is it better for a company that needs sales representatives to hire employees or to contract with subcontractors?  What are the benefits of using subcontractors?  Why could using employees be a good idea for a company?

Examples of Subcontractor Salespeople

There are several examples of salespeople that are usually legitimately classified as subcontractors.  Supplemental health insurance is an industry that is known for having salespeople that are classified as independent contractors or independent subcontractors.  The best known of the providers of supplemental insurance is the American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, Ohio, popularly known as AFLAC.  AFLAC is a company that hires salespeople to represent it but only as independent agents.  The website is clear about how agents are hired, using the freedom of being an independent agent as a draw for working for AFLAC by asking, “Work or family? You don’t have to choose with Aflac. As an Aflac independent insurance agent, you’re the boss, so balancing work and play is easier than ever before since you make your own work schedule. As an independent insurance agent representing Aflac, you get the support of a Fortune 500 company and industry leader, along with the ability to own your own business and enjoy a flexible work schedule” (American Family Life Assurance Company, 2012).

Although the independent agent is a subcontractor there is still some control the company exercises over its agents.  AFLAC requires a new agent undergo training and be familiar with the products offered by the company.  The company requires agents to attend sales meetings and although the schedule can be flexible there are certain requirements about the number of calls an agent should make each week.

Examples of Employee Salespeople

Most salespeople are actually classified as employees.  Automotive dealerships usually classify their salespeople as employees.  The reason that automotive dealerships typically use employees as salespeople is because most dealerships have salespeople report to the same location on a set schedule every week.

A typical advertisement for a employee salesperson reads, “Previous auto sales experience is NOT REQUIRED for this position. Those with experience in customer service, account executive, financial services, mortgage and restaurant industries have proven to be very successful when switching careers to Auto Sales. Qualified applicants should have a professional appearance, a high school degree (or equivalent) and a valid driver’s license with an acceptable driving record. Drug screening and background checks will be performed. High-energy, positive, out-going individuals with strong verbal communication skills WILL succeed at Nissan Infiniti Mazda of Elk Grove” (Automotive Retail Sales Careers , 2013).

Benefits of Classifying Salespeople as Subcontractors

There are numerous benefits to classifying salespeople as subcontractors for a company.  The first advantage comes when a company needs salespeople on a temporary or seasonal basis since hiring subcontractors allows a company to avoid paying an employee when they are not needed.  Subcontractors only expect to be paid for the time they actually work instead of an employee that expects to be paid “for hours that they are not necessarily needed and this can increase your costs if not managed well (Newman, 2011, p. 48).

Subcontractors do not typically qualify for benefits so a second benefit to hiring subcontractor salespeople is the reduced cost of benefits.  Benefits such as health care, unemployment insurance, tuition assistance, and others can cost an employer tens of thousands of dollars per year for each employee that can be avoided by the use of subcontractors.

Benefits of Classifying Salespeople as Employees

There are several major benefits to hiring employees to make up a company’s sales staff.  One major benefit is that employees are totally under the control of the company which mean that the company can choose to do background checks and determine who is hired as well as when and where they work (Atkinson, 2012, p. 24).

A large benefit to hiring employees as salespeople is that it is often the most compliant legal solution.  In many cases because of the nature of the business involved in a company can only have employees as salespeople because of the strict definition of a subcontractor.

Laws Concerning Classification of Salespeople

The laws surrounding employee classification are diverse because each industry and job has unique requirements.  Most laws concerning classification of employees are centered around the tax implications of such classifications. A recent decision in the classification of subcontractor versus employee admits that “although there is no “bright line” test for worker classification, there are certain recurring themes. The most prevalent factor emphasized by various regulatory agencies and the courts is one’s “right to control” the detail of the individual’s work performance. (Franklin, Kota, & Milane, 2012, p. 64).

The Internal Revenue Service takes the classification of employees very seriously because the classification changes the way taxes are paid.  The position of the IRS is very clear but the line continues to be blurred by employers.  According to the rules the IRS takes the “position as outlined in IRS Publication 15A is that: Anyone who performs a service for you is your employee “if you can control what will be done and how it will be done.” The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom special the services are performed, have the right to control direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result. Areas that government will determine the appropriate classification of employee or subcontractor is based upon are financial control, behavioral control, and the type of relationship of the parties. Remember, the government wants to know if you are calling them a subcontractor instead of an employee for the sole purpose of avoiding paying employee-related taxes” (Atkinson, 2012, p. 25).

Discussion Based on Article

A dealership that was involved in selling used cars classified its salespeople as independent contractors and then was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and eventually went to court regarding how their salespeople were classified.

The dealership lost the case in District Court and was instructed to classify salespeople as employees but on appeal The Court of Appeals overturned the decision and upheld the dealership’s right to classify salespeople as independent contractors.

The case was based on Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978.

Fiore, N. J. (1996). Independent dealership’s used car salesmen were independent contractors under “significant segment” industry practice. The Tax Adviser, 27(10), 650-650. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/194136845?accountid=32521

Conclusion

There are benefits to having employees as salespeople for a company and there are benefits to using subcontractors as well.  Employee salespeople are under the direct control of the company so that the schedule and method they use to sell the company’s product are approved and directed by the company.  Having employees allows a company to completely control the sales process.

Having subcontractors serve as the sales staff of a company can have great benefits for the company.  Since subcontractors are usually only paid when they produce the company is not required to pay for downtime as they would have to for employees.  Because subcontractors do not qualify for benefits from the company there is no impact on group health insurance or other benefits that usually cost the company thousands of dollars.

It is apparent that each type of salesperson, employee or subcontractor, has benefits that will appeal to companies in unique situations.  It is important that each company analyze the benefits of each type of salesperson and decide which is best for them.

 

References

American Family Life Assurance Company. (2012). Become an agent. Retrieved April 19, 2013, from AFLAC Web site: http://www.aflac.com/agents/flexibility/default.aspx

Atkinson, W. (2012). Employees VS Subs. Qualified Remodeler , pp. 24-26.

Automotive Retail Sales Careers . (2013, Aprril). Automotive Retail Sales Careers. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://automotiveretailsalescareers.com/jobs/

Fiore, N. J. (1996). Independent dealership’s used car salesmen were independent contractors under “significant segment” industry practice. The Tax Adviser, 27(10), 650-650. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/194136845?accountid=32521

Franklin, R. T., Kota, M., & Milane, R. M. (2012, March). Independent contractor or employee. GP Solo , pp. 64-65.

Newman, P. (2011, June). Are You Hiring a Subcontractor or an Employee? Pavement , p. 48.

 

Business Survival is Based on Progressive Employee Training

All companies have developed some form of employee training.  In some companies training may consist of a formal regimen of prescribed classes that are handled by training specialists with clear objectives.  Training in many companies is informally conducted only when needed by managers, owners or tenured employees without any set curriculum, while in other companies training is completely ignored.  Companies that have training programs that are unorganized, unproductive and that fail to focus on employee growth can be successful; however, companies that sponsor progressive training programs that encourage individual as well as corporate growth have greater immunity to economic downturns.

There are numerous examples of ineffective and unproductive training programs in companies, industries and governments.  Faced with rising costs and unproductive training programs many companies simply reduce or eliminate training completely.  For example a 2010 article in the restaurant industry journal, Nation’s Restaurant News, explained that many restaurants have reduced training:

Our industry collectively trained less in the past year. Unit managers received an average of 12 hours of ongoing job-related training between September 2008 and August 2009, which was down 20 percent from 2007. QSR [quick service restaurant] hourly team members received an average of six hours of post-orientation training, which was down 30 percent. Multiunit managers received an average of 2.5 hours of job-specific training, down more than 40 percent from 2007 numbers (Sullivan, 2010).

Even companies that continue with training programs find it difficult to have meaningful and cost effective results.  The issue is rarely a company not understanding the importance of having a cohesive plan in place to train employees “to boost employee productivity and morale, strengthen customer relationships and hone a competitive edge. But a new survey finds that many training programs underperform for distinctly mundane reasons: time constraints, lack of employee availability and cost” (Citrix, 2010).

The failure of training programs is not limited to a single industry either, in all businesses there are numerous examples of failure.  The industry journal Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News reported “four reasons HVAC industry training often fails and how you may actually play a role: 1. looking at training as a cost, 2. not training for the right reasons, 3. viewing training as an event, not a process, and 4. lack of follow-up or reinforcement of training” (Vannoy, 2010).

In the automotive industry the lack of training for salespeople and sales managers has long been an acknowledged fact.  During the economic recession starting in 2008 the lack of training was a contributing factor in the collapse of hundreds of automotive dealerships across the country.  One dealership that failed during the downturn was a multi franchise dealership in New Mexico.  The dealership was founded in 2001 and followed the standard training program for new sales people: showing new employees their desk, where the break room was located and explaining the basic requirements that were expected.  Continuing education at the dealership consisted of the sales manager conducting the weekly sales meeting with very little planning and no input by anyone with a human resource, adult education, or corporate training background.

The lack of training was explained in part by a former sales manager at the franchise “We were told often to train our employees on the sales process.  The reality of the situation was however that any time spent training took the manager off the sales floor because there was no one else assigned to do the sessions.  We were so busy there was no time to have the training sessions, especially since there was no pressure to train, only perform” (Personal interview, 2010).  He continued to point out that what was really important in the company was not training but as he stated “at the end of the day all that mattered was numbers.”  The automotive industry’s explosive growth created such a torrid pace dealerships could prosper without implementing a formal training program.  When the sales pace slowed to normal levels there were few properly trained sales people and sales managers to deal with the economic change.

During the years that the economy was expanding and demand for vehicles was very high the lack of training was overshadowed by the high demand.  Once demand vanished and sales fell from two hundred units per month to fifty units per month and revenue fell to the point of bankruptcy the lack of training became evident.

The decline in sales seen during the close of 2008 was not limited to just a single dealership.  “U.S. auto sales overall dropped 18% in 2008 to 13.24 million vehicles, with Chrysler down 30%, General Motors Corp. down 23%, Ford Motor Co. down 21% and Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. sales down 15%, according to figures compiled by Autodata Corp” (Riedman, 2009).  Automotive dealerships of all kinds succumbed to the economic disaster of 2008 but those that had been focused on a consistent training program survived in much greater numbers.  One example of such a dealership was a Ford franchise in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Starting with the hiring process, which focused on aptitude testing for sales positions, they focused on having all sales people certified by Ford Motor Company as well as having weekly sales meetings conducted by a senior manager.  Although sales dropped dramatically during the economic recession the foundation of training has allowed the dealership to survive.

Progressive and productive training programs are only successful if the entire organization is committed to their success.  This means that management understands that training is not something to be looked at as an expense that can be eliminated as if it were some frivolous employee perk.  Frontline managers and employees must be just as committed to the success of company sponsored training programs.

The second feature that all successful training programs share is that the training is well planned and consistent.   By creating a curriculum that everyone is aware of and then by almost fanatically impressing the need to complete it, companies breed success.  An article in the magazine Executive Excellence listed ten traits of great organizations including training:

Fanatical training and development. The leader is a believer in the capacity of people to grow, change, and adapt. The high-performance culture invests in people. It is bullish on training. This is not the first activity cut in times of financial stress, but rather it is increased to help pull the enterprise out of a slump! Absolutely no one is immune. There is unrelenting practice with key skills and activities. New training technologies and techniques are aggressively sought, analyzed, and applied. (Cebrowski, 1995)

The third key to establishing a successful training program is choosing the proper trainer for the material.  The trainer involved in successful programs keeps the training material fresh by using current examples and material as well as making application to the specific audience of the training.  A great trainer needs to display the same qualities that any great teacher needs to have including “fluency with a range of techniques, including elaboration, evaluation, clarification, amplification, explication, imagination, and collaboration” (Fuss, 2009).  Keeping the class on schedule and topic is another responsibility of the trainer which is one reason that the most effective sessions are often run by trainers not from the same department or even the same company.  Outside companies that run training sessions for other companies are often very successful because they have no personal bonds with the participants.

The final ingredient in a successful training program is emphasizing the higher purpose of the training.  A training program that does not focus on personal growth of the participants misses the mark but a training that does not include the overall growth of the organization involved misses an opportunity.  Great companies do not miss the big picture possibility of training programs as shown by Addus Home Health Corporation.  In a 2010 article in Smart Business Chicago Addus president Mark Heaney was quoted on training programs “Regardless of the topic, there’s always an opportunity to emphasize the bigger picture.  ‘There are two important purposes for the Addus Learning Program,’ he [Heaney] says. ‘One is to develop personnel. But the second – and, frankly, maybe the more important thing – is to create a vehicle for communicating the culture and values of the organization’” (Bates).

As the evidence shows employee training in any form is much preferable to not having training in a company.  Some companies view training as an expense that can be eliminated from the budget when economic times are hard while other companies view training as the key to surviving such difficult times.  Successful training programs have a clear curriculum, dedicated participants and great trainers.  The examples clearly show that companies that are committed to progressive employee training are more likely to have the knowledge and skills to survive economic upheavals.

References

Bates, Brooke.  (2010, February). Living values. Smart Business Chicago, 7(4), 12.  Retrieved April 16, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Dateline. (Document ID: 1973022401).

Cebrowski, John W.  (1995, May). Ten traits of high performance. Executive Excellence, 12(5), 18.  Retrieved April 18, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 5366693).

Citrix Online; Corporate Training is Impeded by Scarce Time and High Travel Costs, Citrix Online Survey Finds. (2010, March). Technology & Business Journal,92.  Retrieved April 2, 2010, from Career and Technical Education. (Document ID: 1970548301).

Fuss, D.. (2009). Teaching Theory. Minnesota Review,(71/72), 180-188,325.  Retrieved April 18, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1678682511).

McKenna, Terry.  (2002, April). The loyalty quotient. NPN, National Petroleum News, 94(4), 16.  Retrieved April 2, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 116121532).

Riedman, P.. (2009, January). Auto fleet sales run aground. B to B, 94(1), 3,28.  Retrieved April 16, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1635817441).

Sullivan, J.. (2009, October). Tough economy has MUMs working harder, so train smarter. Nation’s Restaurant News, 43(37), 16,69.  Retrieved April 2, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1886587441).

Traits and Roles of Effective Management

Traits and Roles of Effective Management

Effective managers all share similar traits and fulfill similar responsibilities in their organizations.  Managers in diverse industries and cultures can be compared in order to obtain a basic description of the functions and traits of effective managers.  In order to gain the most usable information basic goals and traits should be accepted as the baselines of comparisons.  The role of a manager in any organization is to be the person ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a department, group, team, or entire organization.  Managers should be extroverts, conscientious, and agreeable in order to effectively complete the four functions of management which are planning, organization, leading, and controlling.

The role of a manager in any organization is to be the person most responsible for its success or failure.  A manager can be assigned to be responsible for a small portion of the organization or can be responsible for the entire organization.  Regardless of how large or small the area of responsibility the manager is the person “responsible for supervising and making the most of an organization’s human and other resources to achieve its goals” (Jones & George, 2011, p. 4).  Most organizations would fail without the manager in place to be accountable for ensuring the direction members are taking.

The type of organization determines to some effect the specific roles that a manager must be prepared to conquer to be effective.  Customer facing front line managers have to be proficient at equipping themselves and the organization members they manage to deal with customer concerns.  A typical front line manager in all organizations has to display an aptitude for training new employees how to deliver customer service, be an excellent communicator in all customer and employee interactions, and be decisive when dealing with customer requests and complaints.  Additionally, a manager may be required to be a product expert and sales closer if the organization is a sales organization or be a mechanical expert on production equipment if managing a production organization.

There are many traits that are required to be an effective manager and therefore most experts do not agree on the most important traits that a manager should exhibit.  Although there is not a total consensus there are certain traits that seem to be agreed on by most students of management.  In a study published by the Center for Creative Leadership the most important traits were “conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism have been found to be related to managerial effectiveness for managers in the United States, Canada, and Europe, with conscientiousness having the most consistent effect across the two meta-analytic studies” (Leslie, 2002, p. 24).  An investigation of the most important managerial traits will lead to a better understanding of how to find and develop manager that will be indispensable assets in any organization.

The first common trait found in most effective managers around the world is conscientiousness.  Conscientiousness is defined as “involving or taking great care; painstaking; diligent; governed by or done according to conscience” (Conscientiousness, 2011, n.p.).  The average manager is faced with hundreds of decisions each day and those decisions can cost the organization time, money, and human resources.  Decisions made in a conscientious, or diligent manner will be better than those made in haste or without any consideration of the results.  A manager that displays conscientiousness will have advantages while carrying out the four functions of management which are planning, organization, leading, and controlling.

Planning involves identifying and selecting “appropriate organizational goals and courses of action; they develop strategies for how to achieve high performance” (Jones & George, 2011, p. 8).  Being diligent and conscientious during the planning stage avoids hasty mistakes while charting the future plans of the organization.

Organizing is the second function of effective management and having a manager display conscientiousness makes organizing much easier.  Organizing is “structuring working relationships so organizational members interact and cooperate to achieve organizational goals” (Jones & George, 2011, p. 9).  .  Being diligent while laying out the organizational structure assists because thought is given to what will be the best form or structure of the organization.

The third function of effective management is leading.  Although being conscientious will assist a manager in carrying out the organizational vision it is not the most important trait of a manager while trying to lead.  Leading is actually motivating and energizing the organization and that is often not the strength of a conscientious manager.

Controlling is the fourth function of management.  Controlling involves managers evaluating “how well an organization has achieved its goals and to take any corrective actions needed to maintain or improve performance” (Jones & George, 2011, p. 10).  Effective managers take the time to study the output of the organization and devise methods to track the work being done by the organization.  Being conscientious is a huge advantage in a manager being able to devise and follow a strategy of goal setting and tracking the outcome of the organization’s work.

The second common trait that has been found to be shared by effective managers around the world is extraversion.  Extraversion is the personality trait that according to Costa and McCrae displays “warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking, positive emotions.  Extraverts are sociable. They like people, prefer large gatherings, and are assertive, active, and talkative. They like excitement and stimulation and tend to be energetic and optimistic” (Costa & McCrae, 1992, p. 22).

Planning involves setting the organization’s goals.  The strategies developed in the planning stage of an organization are the backbone of what the organization will become.  Having an extrovert as a manager during this phase would certainly help during the planning stage because the discussions about the possible courses of action would be lively and the debates would be more easily won by the extroverted manager.  The overall advantage of the extrovert is not very dominant however during the planning stage

Organizing is the second function of effective management and having a manager that is extraverted is a huge advantage while organizing.  Organizing involves making relationships in an organization work in a way that all the members interact with each other in a way that is productive.  Having a manager that is outgoing and assertive arrange the other members of the organization avoids possible conflicts and dissention by the other members.

The third function of effective management is leading.  Being extraverted is a huge advantage to the manager in leading.  Leading is based on motivating and energizing members of the organization and having the ability as a manager to interact with others and being the focal point of discussions and debates is invaluable.  The extrovert should shine in the leading function of management.

Controlling is the fourth function of management.  Controlling is based on measuring the quality and quantity of the organization’s output.  The extroverted personality trait is beneficial in controlling because the manager can be active in the correction part of controlling.  An extrovert may not be the best at following the rules or tracking in a way that has been instructed so there is a weakness in this function.

The third common trait that has been found to be shared by effective managers around the world is agreeableness.  Agreeableness is displayed by a manager that is “altruistic, sympathetic to others and eager to help them, and trusting and cooperative rather than competitive” (Costa & McCrae, 1992, p. 22).

Planning involves setting the organization’s goals.  A manager that is agreeable during the planning stage will listen to suggestions from others as well as setting goals that are in the best interest of all involved.  This is a strong function of the manager that is agreeable.

Organizing is the second function of effective management and having a manager that is agreeable can be a slight disadvantage during this stage.  Organizing how the organization’s work flows involves arranging people in the most effective way possible which may not be the most popular.  A manager that is agreeable may not make the best decisions because of trying to listen to too many suggestions.

The third function of effective management is leading.  Have a manager that displays agreeableness is an asset in this function of management.  People tend to like managers that listen to suggestions and seem to be interested in the well being of others ahead of themselves.  In an organization those managers that have the support of their subordinates often can inspire positive production from them.  Agreeableness in a manager can also cause issues to arise however from a manager not exerting sufficient influence and direction by enforcing the rules and procedures put in place by the organization.

Controlling is the fourth function of management.  Controlling is based on measuring the quality and quantity of the organization’s output.  The manager that exhibits agreeableness often has a weakness in trying to control the work of the organization.  The agreeable manager excels at arranging the tracking of the work due to the collaborative nature of their management style; however when it becomes time to correct those members that are not producing the agreeable manager could face hardship.

There is not a single definition of the perfect manager.  Each manager brings personality traits and life experiences that make them unique.  There are certain traits that are found in most effective managers; all seem to share similar traits and fulfill similar responsibilities in their organizations.  Managers in diverse industries and cultures can be compared in order to obtain a basic description of the functions and traits of effective managers.  Based on the investigation of successful managers it is clear that managers should be extroverts, conscientious, and agreeable in order to effectively complete the four functions of management which are planning, organization, leading, and controlling.

 

 

References

Conscientious. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved June 26, 2011, from Dictionary.com website:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conscientious

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO FiveFactor Inventory (NEO-FFI) Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: PAR.

Jones, G. R., & George, J. M. (2011). Essentials of contemporary management
(4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Leslie, Jean Brittain; Center for Creative Leadership (Contributor); Dalton, Maxine A.. Managerial Effectiveness in a Global Context. Greensboro, NC, USA: Center for Creative Leadership, 2002. p 22. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ashford/Doc?id=10185427&ppg=33

Employee Motivation

Employee Motivation

Modern management theory advances the thought that motivation of employees is a key task of managers.  The reason that managers are so concerned with motivating employees is that “an organization will be effective only if its members are motivated to perform at a high level” (Jones & George, 2011, p. 296).  Employees and managers that are driven to succeed are huge assets to a company because it is the desire to succeed that motivation seeks to impart.  The basis of anyone’s motivation comes specifically from their life experience and background but there are some basic human motivators that are shared regardless of background.  Basic needs that address physical requirements for life are shared among all humans, needs for food, water, and shelter are common motivating factors and must be addressed for any motivational technique to be effective.

Some management experts contend that motivation is not something that can be taught or exerted by a manager.  The common theory being that, “You cannot motivate anyone except yourself. Motivation is very personal and comes from within. There may be external factors but the driver comes from within. Now what you can do is inspire others. Inspiration precedes motivation”  (Norris, 2011, np.).

There are many contrasting theories that managers are able to use in an effort to motivate employees.  A very popular and seemingly effective theory is known as goal setting theory.  Goal setting theory is effective because it uses specific and difficult to reach goals to motivate employees (Jones & George, 2011, p. 311).  An effective use of goal setting theory is to set goals that are specific and can be divided into monthly, weekly, or even daily goals that are measurable and require effort to reach.  A sales manager would therefore set goals for the sales team that are definable such as a certain unit of sales each month and also that set activity goals such as making thirty phone calls a day in order to prospect for customers.

One of the simplest and most direct motivational theory is known as need theory.  Need theory simply says that people that operate at a high level of performance should be able to satisfy different needs (Jones & George, 2011, p. 316).  This simple motivation is used by companies that allow salespeople to sell products and get paid based on the number of products sold or on the profit made.

Motivation is based on a organization’s overall needs as well as each member’s needs and wants.  Managers must learn to use every type of motivation available to them and be flexible in how they attempt to motivate their organizations.

References

Jones, G. R., & George, J. M. (2011). Essentials of contemporary management
(4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Norris, R. (2011). How to motivate anyone for success – especially yourself – with seven minutes and a cup of coffee. Training & Management Development Methods, 25(2), June 11, 2011.