Along with a group of eight students, I interviewed two successful managers to understand what management is all about. The two managers were Steven Parker, Deputy Manager of USIS, a federal government contracting company and Richard D. Stacy, partner and co founder of R & K Consultants Inc. Since I had never been in such a situation before, I was completely in awe while conducting this interview. The thrill of doing something unique had filled me with great excitement. Nevertheless, I tried to conduct the interview as professionally as possible.
I had done some homework by preparing a set of questions. From Steven Parker I learnt that the key skills for being an effective manager are experience, knowledge, willingness to change and of course organizational capabilities. Change affects employees in multiple ways but in certain situations it does not affect the employees as the employees are the vehicles of change themselves. Parker said that while hiring, management prefers experience more than education. However, if there is a combination of both education and experience then there is nothing like it.
He said that an M. B. A degree adds lots of value to the job seekers. This is one degree which can lead an employer to overlook the experience of a candidate. He said that the hardest decision as a manager is to fire a person especially if he is a good performer and if the company funding is the only reason of firing. To make this experience less painful both for oneself and the person who is getting fired he said that the manager should recommend the fired employee to other companies so that he gets a job soon.
On asked what did he like most about being a manager, Parker replied that he loves managing and staffing i. e. finding right people for the different departments of his organization. He believes that one learns lots of things by experience. He said that providing training to new staff not only gives an opportunity to teach but also to learn new things from new interactions. He felt that in order to keep the employees involved, the management should always give bonus to the employees out of the company’s earnings. He practiced it himself and managed to make the employees feel special.
In order to keep the employees motivated it is always important to make them understand why they are doing certain jobs. This way they would understand the importance of their contributions. His final tip to aspiring managers like us was to always choose a job that provides scope to grow rather than the one that just offers money. Richard D. Stacy provided equally valuable inputs. He pointed out that some of the ways to manage stress at work is to understand ways in which one can keep his stress level at control and to promote a stress free environment.
Simple steps like walking around the office and speaking to colleagues can provide immense relief when one is stressed out. According to him it is important to know when to take time off, which is the hardest lesson that one should learn in management. Stacy pointed out that employees are the most important asset of the organization and management should not only deal nicely with them but pay attention to relationship management and coaching. The aim should be to build good interpersonal relationships and to foster growth of the employees.
His tip for aspiring managers was to have desire, passion as well as the knowledge of where to apply these vehicles of success. Stacy seemed to believe in proper communication and the knowledge of how much information dissemination is required. According to him change is a reality and it is not difficult to initiate change if people know how they are being managed. He pointed out that if a manager has a vision for future then all his actions right from hiring to execution of tasks would contribute in achievement of goals.
After this highly informative and interesting session my impressions on management are that management plays the most vital role in making a business run successfully. It is a guiding force for the entire workforce of an organization. Without it, an organization cannot exist. There are various management techniques which cannot be taught theoretically. There are certain insights that one can gain only through time and experience. My impression about the interview was that informational interactions like these are an excellent way of gaining practical knowledge.
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