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.
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