Management with “Heart"

18117874_s Is management an art or a science? Can good management skills be learned or must there be innate personality factors? Are there essential constants from one company to another? Business schools and colleges teach management as a science. Management approaches, processes, procedures and even theories abound – some successful in one environment and total failures in a different workplace. One manager acquires wealth with an iron hand while another excels through employee empowerment. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason from one company to another. Additionally, today’s rapidly changing workplace offers little time for trial and error. The facts are in. The number of employees with management experience and proven skills (Dr. Ira Wolfe, SPS, Lancaster PA) will fall 27 percent short this year. The days of churning and burning employees to “keep wages low” and improve profitability are long since gone. Even the fast food industry knows it costs thousands to train an unskilled laborer. The average upper-level manager is a minimum six-figure investment before getting started. Now multiple generations proliferate the workforce providing serious challenges we have never faced before. Each generation has its own expectations and responds differently to whatever theory or approach is in place. The workforce shortage further complicates the picture. The next twenty years will be painful for numerous industries that have already begun to feel the pinch. In 1998, according to the USA Today, 69 percent of America’s corporations had unfilled positions. 1999 saw further increases and the trend continued in 2000. Supervision and management have the largest single impact on employee retention. And employee retention will be one of the single biggest factors to corporate success for many companies in the next few years – especially the IT, services, construction and transportation industries. How does a company of any size meet this challenge? In the past several decades, with the help of technology, tremendous productivity and efficiency increases have been achieved. That success has been based on continuous quality and process improvement (TQM, reengineering, etc.). While there will be continued efficiencies in quality and processes there will be a lack of loyal people to meet the needs of many companies. The task is still important, but the approach to the task must change. New generations remember the layoffs, downsizing, etc., and feel no loyalties to companies the way older generations did. They desire a more balanced lifestyle and want to have radio station WIIFM playing 24/7. Management must develop a people-orientation to supplement excellence in task-orientation or today’s employees will find new opportunities. Management with a “heart” will become an essential element in tomorrow’s workplace. The skills necessary to develop corporate synergy must include training approaches that include the human factors. People skills appear to be woefully lacking in many organizations. This has had a profound effect on employee as well as customer satisfaction. Media has already begun to identify and promote companies that provide a positive work environment. Magazines such as Fast Company have developed a large audience because it provides a superior approach to people concepts. The WSJ provides the traditional corporate information and data. People skills must be introduced early in the management development process for a company to have any chance at turnover reduction and employee satisfaction. Corporate training must change from traditional skills-based to a behavior base for any reasonable chance of success. Training programs can no longer rely on skills dissemination and forget the behavior of the employee being trained to execute the skill. Statistics illustrate resounding failure with the present approach.(USA Today) A recent program at Harvard provided the design for the following concepts of management development: 1. Corporate culture – Mission, vision and values statements are an important part of any company’s development. However, these concepts cannot be passed on to each employee the same way. They must be communicated in a way that is understandable to the behavior- not just the position. Different learning and behavior styles interpret the message from diverse perspectives, which dilutes the message and neutralizes effectiveness. 2. Specific position – Skill and industry-related competencies provide the basis for over 90 percent of the hiring decisions made yet are only 14 percent effective (UM, USI studies.) Competencies must be reconsidered from a behavioral perspective rather than purely by skills. Studies illustrate that 65 percent of people hate their job because they are not behaviorally suited for the position, causing the individual stress and little job satisfaction. 3. Individual – Behavior is the largest single factor affecting an individual’s success in his or her position. How he or she relates to other employees has a profound effect on their job satisfaction. Without the training and ability to communicate with other behaviors, especially interdepartmentally, the chance of job satisfaction and personal growth are drastically reduced. Individual growth must include the ability to communicate in the hearer’s language. That language must have universal roots for all employees from the CEO to the janitor. Future management success and employee development must include “heart.” That heart is the basis for successful people skills. A manager, supervisor or the CEO needs the ability to communicate in multiple behavioral languages or his subordinates will never “hear” him or her. This can only be achieved with something other than skills, task and process-orientated training. Small companies are finding the greatest success in model-based communication training for performance and productivity enhancement because it provides the basis for growth and individual development. Once the model is in place, each employee finds a greater degree of personal and professional success as well as gratification in their ability to promote their work as it relates to the company’s overall success.