When management is an art and the manager… a creator!

Although I do not like the typical rhetorical opening questions that are often asked in the article, it is certain that – with or without them – the question must be determined from the beginning for reasons of research consistency and clarity. Definitions and answers for management have been given many times and from different angles. However, I believe that in order to approach the issue with some certainty and then to analyze it, it is first necessary to present the 6 or -or correct I think- 5 + 1 functions of management (functions of management).

Planning – as the first function – concerns the decision-making, ie the choice of goals and actions between various alternatives, such that at least it is considered possible to achieve. Of course, there are many types of designs. But there is no real plan until the decision is made to allocate/commit resources (people, money, materials, etc.) to it. Until this time we can not talk about a real plan, only about analysis, study, or proposal. Next, organizing is what defines structure in the way people work. This means that the work to be done and the executives who will undertake it are determined. Here it is necessary to point out that – as in planning, so in an organization – the above two functions do not exist essentially, if (apart from the assignment of tasks to employees) they are not given the appropriate authority, the appropriate tools, and the appropriate information so that they can carry out the task assigned to them. The goal of the organization is to create a working environment that will offer the maximum in the performance of employees, which makes the organization a means and not an end. Staffing is the next function we need to address. It is related to finding the right people – who should be particularly emphasized – who will staff the positions of the company. Of course, finding the right people does not complete the job of staffing. Its operation (HR) also includes issues such as promotions, evaluation, training, etc.

Leadership (which I consider very important and I have dealt with it often) is the function that refers to the ways of influencing people in order to maximize their contribution to the goals of the company. Its object is the interpersonal relationships between the manager/management in general and the employees and it obviously includes means such as motivation and communication. In order to check, if the business plan is followed consistently, there is control. This function evaluates the performance of employees according to plans and goals and -if necessary- corrective interventions are made. At this point, finally, it is necessary to clarify why we initially talked about 6 or 5 + 1 management functions. Coordination is considered by many as the sixth function of management. However, practice in conjunction with modern scientific conception “introduces” a new perspective on this function. They treat coordination as the essence of management and for each of the other five functions, they reserve roles that contribute to coordination.

However, any analysis of the aforementioned functions is now obvious that it is not enough to cure the biggest problem of the majority of Greek companies. It has been proven over time that in reality, this is not so much the finding of financial resources or significant human resources, but the correct/systematic application of management principles. And this, of course, does not mean that they are unknown because they have matured scientifically and there are many who study them in various ways. However, there are also many who still treat them disparagingly as “theories”. It would be interesting, then, to roughly sketch the portrait of the Greek manager, utilizing elements of our Greek experience, which sometimes – as much as this is business risky – reach the limits of humor.

If we adopt the assumption that management means that “everything must be done better and faster together or through other people”, the dominant concepts concerning the manager are organization, control, and coordination. On the contrary, the manager we often meet keeps spreading that there is a downturn, the company is about to shrink, the market is moving downwards and at the same time, the competition is threatening. In this way he pressures the employees emphasizing their low performance in relation to others and at the same time ignores the peculiarity of different conditions. Sometimes, by psychologically pressuring the staff with voices and/or insults, he considers that he succeeds in increasing the efficiency and reducing the mistakes. Eventually, with pressure or even promises, each employee reaches the limits of his or her performance. When it can no longer perform as before, the exact same practice is removed and applied to the next one. At the same time, a major mistake many managers make is to think that the company’s often -successful survival time to date confirms their proper handling. It does not seem to be understood that in the meantime market conditions have changed radically. The manager who likes charts, numbers, and scientific analysis is another case in point. The secretaries take care of everything, he never has time, he wants to see everyone, but he almost never gets it.

Vague or confusing instructions are another problem. Many managers do not understand the need or are indifferent to clear instructions, forget the instructions they have given and usually postpone dealing with the problems that arise. The concept of time is violated or ignored. This procrastination is accompanied by phrasal formulations that indicate fear or aversion to new ideas and at the same time a preference for the fixed, the tried, or -at least- the undefined “process”. The absent manager is also a typical type, although not very common, without this meaning – as it seemed – that the presence accompanies the activity. A usually empty office and the assignment of everything to others constitute its invisible power. We must not forget the endless meetings, which are constantly held in the name of the organization. The manager insists and everyone naturally agrees on the “imperative need for an organization”, but unfortunately this potential process is repeated for months. Finally, a very common type of manager is one who wants to see, hear and approve everything. He believes that he must control everything because only his personal intervention ensures quality. For the same reason, after all, he gathers as much information as possible for everyone, he does not share it with anyone and in discussions, it is enough to nod his head in the affirmative without taking a clear position most of the time.

We must definitely make it clear here that this article is by no means a libel against managers. It would, after all, be an absurd and unacceptable generalization, because there are several notable executives. On the contrary, due to both timeless and -mainly- conjectural factors, it is necessary to present the so-called “innovative management” or the need to implement innovative management practices, which need to be understood and followed by the Greek reality we know. Businesses today must first adopt a new business culture, which does not accept anything as of right just because it is done so far. The orthodox practice so far considered in a business does not necessarily mean that it is the right practice. A prerequisite for the implementation of innovative management is the control of the practices used based on the new data and their abolition if they do not meet the modern requirements. Particularly instructive are also the examples of so-called “positively divergent” companies, which should be used by those concerned to redefine their management policy. They need to consider what can be borrowed from those companies, especially the pioneers, who try new things, even if they seem strange to them. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, new ideas must always be welcomed in a positive way, strange as it may sound, failure should not be punished and the work environment should be heterogeneous and democratic. It has been proven that modern knowledge workers can not perform to the maximum in hostile work environments that treat them simply as mechanical parts of a money-cutting machine. Modern management will inevitably arise through mutations, differentiations, and -why not? – mistakes. Among these differences, special reference should be made to those practices that involve employee motivation.

The question has often been asked whether incitement is a difficult process. The study of motivation is related, in essence, to identifying the reasons for the specific behavior of people. We know that people have a multitude of needs and expectations that they try to satisfy in different ways. Depending on, then, the stimulus may be exogenous or endogenous. The exogenous refers to the salary, the insurance, the various benefits, the promotions, the working climate, while the endogenous touches on the psychological dimension of the employee and includes the opportunity to highlight his abilities, the recognition/reward of his work, and the treatment of as a human being. On this issue, Taylor initially argued that what employees need more than anything else to perform to their full potential is high wages. Later, however, the “school of human relations thinking” overturned Taylor’s oversimplified vision. With new data, he showed that people work not only for the monetary reward but also to satisfy many more – mainly social – their needs. The fact that the company is interested in the conditions in the workplace or exchanges views with employees about the changes that need to be made in it, is (according to the research) a very important reason for increasing productivity.

Management, of course, is not an impersonal process. Of course, it is implemented by the managers, to whom of course all the above concerned. In order for the modern manager to respond in the most successful way to the needs and expectations of the employee, he is called upon to undertake a series of dynamic and daring initiatives, such as providing training in the job subject, providing development prospects, the right planning and in general the right organization. , setting fair rules and practices, recognizing the employee’s efforts and rewarding them materially and ethically, as well as the manager’s effort to see things from the employee’s point of view.

At the end of this approach, I think it does not make sense to simply answer what is the most important driving force of the employee. Many answers that it is money, some say that it is not. It is certain that money is without a doubt a strong motivator for the employee. Its power, however, like the other means of stimulation, is related not only to each employee but also to each manager and -of course- to the way he handles and utilizes these means. This, after all, the ability to perceive and apply innovative management practices will hopefully define the new era of creative management.

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