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Sunday, 19 November 2017 21:25

Are They Motivated To Manage?

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Managers meeting Managers meeting

Many years ago I conducted an exercise with seventeen managers and gave them a special test that I used to assess how motivated they were towards a management career as opposed to continuing to specialise in operations.
Significantly, the seventeen people on this course were already managers and this was a special management development program oriented towards strategic planning.  I had been asked to do some revision on the general principles of management and management commitment as an introduction to the main theme of the conference, which was strategic planning and budgets.

It was fascinating that the testing process revealed that only two of the seventeen managers had any real interest in management.  Further investigation in a seminar/discussion session revealed that fifteen managers had taken on management roles simply because it was the only way they could get a promotion and hence more money.  In this highly technical company, they all had a technical background and far preferred to do their technical work rather than the much more onerous work of managing people.

Very recently, I struck an identical situation where people in management positions did not have the skills to be there and did not want to be there.  In this case, the senior management had not taken account of the motivation of the individuals to a management career.  Unfortunately, the situation from the original example still applied and going into management forthese people was the only way to get a promotion and hence more money.

So what can be done about this dilemma?  Certainly, the overall health of the business would be much better served by identifying people who wanted to be managers, providing them with the skills and finding a way to compensate those who were good at and wanted to stay with technical careers.

Unfortunately, western society has an obsession with the goal of being a manager.  This does not seem to be changing as more and more business management courses are created.  One person even mentioned to me recently about a one day Master of Business Administration course that could be done by video.

Where does it all end?  This is a decision to be made by senior managers in organisations.  They need to take rapid action to ensure that management study is not undertaken by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.  Also, when people present with management qualifications but without the skills or motivation to be managers,  they should ensure that these people are counselled to continue their career in a technical area.

The process of counselling people away from a management career that will not suit them is not easy.  Also, many managers who should be doing the counselling are the people who have moved into management without the right skills or motivation so the problem is a constantly compounding one.  Also, business management schools are now totally sales oriented and can be expected to accept and encourage any person with the time and money to do their courses.

Hopefully, the market forces of sound management will drive the quest for the recognition of the people who want to be managers for the right reasons. Only in this way will there be any improvement in overall long term business quality.

This article was written by Dr Karel deLaat. http://www.kareldelaat.com/

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Read 527 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 December 2017 14:52

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