Learning Curve…

MB0049 : List and explain the traits if a professional manager.

Posted on: October 21, 2011

 MB0049 : List and explain the traits if a professional manager.
Answer : The project manager is an important team member who often makes the difference between project success and failure. A project manager should have the skills to unite diverse individuals and have them function as one cohesive team. There are certain traits that enable a manager to be effective in his functioning. The top management will look for these in a person who they want to employ for project management. Let us discuss some of these traits in detail.

a) Leadership: These managers lead by exhibiting the characteristics of leadership. They know what they should do, know why they are doing it, how to do it and have the courage and vision to execute it. They have the power of taking along others with them. They lead by making themselves as an example for the entire team. He is about to trust his team members and assign the right job to the right person.

b) People Relationships: Any leader without followers cannot be successful. They need to have excellent human relationship skills. The manager should:

  • build up his team based on the core values of sincerity, objectivity, dedication and ethics
  • ensure that his subordinates get opportunities for growth based on performance
  • make his subordinates a part of the decision making process, thus ensuring cooperation and commitment during implementation
  • delegate freely and support them and give enough room for expression of thoughts and also make things challenging for team members
  • keep aspirations of the team members into considerations

c) Integrity: Highest levels of trust, fairness and honesty are expected while dealing with people both within and outside the organisation. This includes the customers, shareholders, dealers, employees, the government and society at large. They ensure that functioning is clean. Their transactions will be transparent. Ethics is something they practice diligently.

d) Quality: The quality philosophy should not cover only the product quality, but every process that has gone into making it. Economy of words when instructions are given, acknowledging compliance, arriving on time, remembering the promises and above all a keen eye for details and patience to make others know what they want are components of quality.

e) Customer Orientation: It is now recognised that every organisation has two sets of customers – internal customers and external customers. Internal customers are people in the organisation – employees, directors and team members. External customers are clients and all members of society the company comes in contact in connection with the business.

f) Innovation and creativity: Professional managers think beyond the obvious. They exhibit a keenness to go behind a problem and attempt to find the root cause of the problem. They will draw from their experience from diverse fields, seek further information and consider all possible alternatives and come out with some new and unique solution. This happens when they have open minds.

g) Performance Management: The professional manager not only ensures that his performance is at peak all times, but motivates his entire team to perform the same. This comes by appreciation and encouragement. In case of shortfalls, he arranges training for them so that their performance improves. Thus the team members know that they are expected to perform, that they get help to do so and their effort is recognised and rewarded too. This is the simple path of performance management.

Managers can follow a seven step performance management model.

  • Set Objectives/Performance Standards
  • Communicate these to the employees
  • Review/monitor
  • Check actual performance Vs. Standards set
  • Identify gaps
  • Jointly decide on corrective action, if needed
  • Reset objectives for next period

h) Identification with the organisation: A sense of pride and belonging goes with the “ownership” of the job, the project, team members and organisation. This is brought about by the culture and communication system in the organisation. Information sharing brings in trust and promotes belongingness. The tendency seen is that most managers strongly identify with their own departments, units or divisions and they lack a sense of organisation.

i) Empowering employees: The professional manager should possess the ability to empower his employees down the line. Empowerment is the process by which employees are encouraged to take decisions pertaining to their area of work. This leads employees developing a sense of pride in their jobs. But managers often hesitate to empower their subordinates as they feel insecure and show a sense of uncertainty. The professional manager practices empowerment and encourages employees to grow and develop in their positions.

j) Coping with changes: There is a saying – ‘The only constant in this world is change’. A professional manager has the ability and capacity to cope with change. He accepts the fact that change is inevitable and is ready to implement change at the workplace.

To implement change successfully, it is essential that employees are involved in the implementation of change. Moreover, the positive and negative consequences of change need to be discussed and understood before implementation. Thus a professional manager has the attitude to accept change as a way of life and takes it in his stride.

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