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Where a range of acceptable styles exist factors other than those in the “dimensions” need to be included

Where a range of acceptable styles exist factors other than those in the “dimensions” need to be included.

The Need to be Flexible

The situational approach to analyzing decisions highlights the inherent weakness in the rigid adoption of one particular decision style. There is no single decision style that is appropriate for all types of decision.

It would seem therefore that rather than let long term issues of style override the needs of a particular decision, the more effective approach is to:

(1)      Determine the type of decision being faced by considering the four dimensions of “Quality”, Information”, “Commitment” and “Capability”.

(2)      Isolate the range of acceptable styles by excluding those which are unacceptable in the circumstances.

(3)      If there is more than one acceptable style, choose the one which fits in with long term aims or alternatively choose the style which is likely to get the decision made most quickly.

 Problems in the Situational Approach

An approach which bases decision style on the demands of the situation poses a number of problems.

Many factors can combine to produce such rigidity, including:

–          Past experience of success and failures.

–          Comfort and familiarity with a particular style

–          Encouragement in using a particular style by senior management, or by

–          The prevailing organizational climate

–          Current, trends, for example, towards participation and democracy in decision

            making

–          A being of that getting help from other is “weak management”

–          A lack of skill in diagnosing different problems

–          A lack of skill in operating a wide range of different styles

THE EFFECTIVE DECISION GROUP

The personal skill of the manager is of considerable importance in organizational decision making, but it is a necessary rather than a sufficient condition for effective decision making.

“Content” needs    Essentially concerned with “what” it is that the group or team are doing.

“Process” needs    Essentially concerned with “how” the team actually operates. Group members need skills in working together and in “living” together as a group.

Task Process Activities

(1)      Initiating  – putting new ideas forward or starting up new activities.

(2)      Asking – getting information or views, actively searching out facts and ideas.

(3)      Clarifying – helping in understanding, re-starting defining terms, asking for explanation.

(4)      Summarizing bringing ideas together.

(5)      Testing for agreement – checking if the group is ready to make a decision.

Maintenance Process Activities

(1)      Harmonizing – bringing others together, exploring and recording disagreements.

(2)      Gate keeping – bringing others into the discussion, allowing everyone to participate.

(3)      Encouraging – agreeing, responding positively to others, building and supporting.

(4)      Listening – showing that ideas are heard, showing understanding.

(5)      Standard setting – stating feelings and beliefs, brining things out into open discussion.

The Flexible Role Structure

The particular balance between the need for content understanding and expertise, and that for task and maintenance process skills, is likely of course, to vary from one situation to another.

Organizing for an Effective Team

In the same way that managers cannot be expected to be effective leaders without the necessary skills and experience, work team members cannot be expected to work together effectively without processing an adequate level of skills and understanding of what in required.

Development of Content Capability

As we have said, individuals are usually recruited into work teams on the basis of their content experience.

Task Process Skills

Skills in this area are gained both through training and through experience. The manager can help group members to gain skills by using regular group tasks as learning vehicles.

In order to increase task process skill then, the manager can:

(1)      ensure that team members are trained in problem solving strategies

(2)      ensure that the team look regularly at its own performance and effectiveness in problem solving and task completion.

Maintenance Process Skills

There is no doubt that, however strong in content capability and task process skills a group’s performance can be severely affected by a poor maintenance process.

Such group training situations are designed to help individuals to (1) explore and understand more about their own values, motivation and behavior; (2) observe and investigate the way their own behavior impacts on others; and (3) learn about the interpersonal processes that help and hinder the way groups operate and make decisions.

Dessler suggests the following guidelines to be used in conducting T-group training:

–          T-group should only be used where an open, flexible style is appropriate for organizational needs.

–          Attendance on a T-group should be voluntary.

–          Participants should be carefully screened before going on T-group.

–          The trainee should be an experienced professional.

–          Mechanisms must be built in or transferring learning back into the work organisation.

–          Trainees should know beforehand what kind of experience they are getting into.

The Characteristic of an Effective Team

The next stage, after organizing and preparing the ground for effective teamwork, is to check out how successful these efforts have been.

Recruiting for the Decision Making Group

For most managers, the main strategy for improving team effectiveness is, as described previously, one of training and development of existing team members.

Personality Characteristics as Key Variables

Over a period of seven years, Belbin and his colleagues were able to observe and investigate the performance of a considerable number of teams undertaking the same competitive task.

The four traits which appeared to be most significant were:

– Intelligence, – Dominance, – Extroversion/Introversion, – Stability / Anxiety

I`m guessing this has happened to you

I`m guessing this has happened to you.

Someone – could be a spouse, co-worker, friend, anyone – tells you of his/her new plan or goal. He`s going to lose 30 pounds. She`s going to learn to play the piano. The chronically late employee says she`ll always be on time. The person who dominates meetings resolves to change.

When you hear these statements, you may be happy for them; but, I would be in nearly every situation you at least momentarily wonder if it`s a real goal or just a wish.

Sometimes you will even come out and ask them . . .

Are you serious?

This is a question we ask others as a test of their resolve, determination and commitment.

We know deep down that their level of seriousness will have a significant impact on their success. After all, it is rare that a casual attempt at anything will lead to notable (even minimal) or sustained success.

Success in most things in life requires some amount of seriousness.

And while my opening example was thinking about the seriousness of others, now I want you to look in the mirror, and ask yourself:

Are YOU serious?

Here are six questions to help you gauge your answer to this very important question:

What are your goals? Without goals how can you possibly be very serious? Goals provide the direction for your efforts and proof of your progress. Goals are critical to reach anywhere near to your potential. If your answer to this question is fuzzy or if you don`t have any goals at all, start here. Set a goal, or goals, to define the results you desire.

Why do you want to achieve those goals? Oft overlooked but actually more important than the goal itself is the “why.” When a goal has rich meaning in your life; when achieving will bring you benefits that really matter to you (and not necessarily to others), you will be more committed to achievement and more accountable for your actions.

Where is your focus? You can focus inside of what is in your control and influence, or you can look outside these two important circles. The more you can remain focused on what is in your control, on what you can do something about, the more serious you will be about your future. When you maintain an internal focus, you give yourself the best chance of success.

What questions do you ask yourself? Do you think about what you could do, what worked and what you could do better? The more “I” (or in a team situation “we”) questions you ask, the more serious you are – and the better results you will achieve. “I” questions are the manifestations of an internal focus on your actions and successes.

What explanations do you use to explain your world? How often do your explanations focus on others? Do you explain your results based on the economy? Do you look to others for your results? Do you blame others for your failures or shortcomings? As long as your explanations lead to denial and/or blame, you cannot become your best self. Serious people explain their circumstances in terms of their past and future actions and decisions.

Are you having any fun? Don`t lose sight of this important question. Yes, you can have high standards for yourself; and yes, when you choose to be more serious you will grow more, achieve more and create more. Yet for all the serious work and focus that is so important, you must also have fun in your life. If you are having no fun, perhaps your goals could be adjusted. Fun and enjoyment are required to refresh your spirit and recharge your batteries. Seriously, for your sake, please don`t ignore the answer to this final question.

The answers to these six questions will help you personally unravel your level of seriousness, commitment and accountability to your own success and to creating the results you profess to want.

Your answers are completely your choice, and can`t be determined by anyone else (see question #5). Make the correct choices and your results will show it, in both the long and short term.

Webster says that leadership is “the position or function of a leader; the ability to lead; an act or instance of leading, guidance, direction

Webster says that leadership is “the position or function of a leader; the ability to lead; an act or instance of leading, guidance, direction.” Do you enjoy leading, guiding or directing? Do you look forward to making decisions that impact the lives of others? Would you rather give the responsibility for making choices to someone else? Most of us have been in a position of authority and all of us have met someone who possesses the qualities of an effective leader.

Being a leader is a difficult task especially if you are given responsibilities that you are not familiar with. If you accept this position, you are going to be scrutinized by how you act, the way you look and the way you talk. It is important to be conscious of your actions because the goal is to project an image of influence. Good leaders possess certain characteristics that can help them gain the respect and recognition of others.

Be A Good Example

The first concept is to lead by example. You need to work harder than those who surround you in order to gain their respect. Demonstrate your dedication by being early and staying late. Distinguish yourself through character and integrity when situations are difficult or they are not going your way. Go the extra mile for those who are in your circle of influence.

Be A Good Listener

The second quality of an effective leader is the ability to listen more and talk less. It is more important to listen to the issues that are being raised instead of expressing your opinion about them. Some individuals have the misconception that a good leader talks as much as possible. Effective leaders realize that listening provides them with a deeper understanding of the needs of those that surround them. It also gives them a greater insight into the issues that must be addressed.

Be Concerned

The third concept for effective leadership is the ability to ask the appropriate questions. Analyzing information provides the opportunity to probe the concerns and issues that confront those around you. Express sincerity and as you examine the regards of others. Asking penetrating questions provides the possibility to discover the root causes of problems so that they can be addressed.

Be Decisive

The fourth quality of an effective leader is the ability to make decisions. Make a choice and stick to the plan. A conscientious leader will have options if the original solution is not working. With leadership comes the responsibility for making selections that affect the lives of others. If one has taken the input of those who surround them before making a decision, other considerations can be developed. It is important to examine all of the options thoroughly to avoid unnecessary mistakes and failures.

Not everyone wants to lead. If you are the owner of your home business, the head of your family or the director of a social group you are wearing the hat of a leader. Effective leadership is not necessarily an inherent quality. It can be learned and applied to the different areas of your life. Consider these four qualities as a foundation for developing your leadership skills.

“People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.”

Expectations

I. Expectations

People need to know what is expected of them. There needs to be agreement as to their responsibilities and outputs. From a motivational angle the question is how do we expect people to get fired up if they don’t know where they are heading. Their goals must be compatible and in synchronization with the Vision and Strategic Business Plan of the unit they are working in.

II. Authority

People want to know, and are entitled to know, what authority they have in the organization. That is, what control over which resources they are entitled to. To achieve the things that are expected of them. Put another way, we can’t expect people to take on responsibility if they don’t have the authority to go hand in hand with it.

III. Support

People want to know who they can get to help and support them when they need it. Delegation isn’t abdication. There must be some built in controls as to how it is all going – people don’t want to be left out on a limb.

IV. Standards

People want to know what the specific requirements or standards of performance of their position are. They want to know what criteria are being used to judge their performance.

V. Feedback

A person wants to know if he or she is doing well, or not so well. In a word – feedback. There is no doubt that from a motivation angle feedback is the food of champions. It is only when people get feedback that they can move towards taking repetitive or corrective action. Without feedback people will not stay motivated for long. Giving feedback is often the most neglected of all the human relations aspects of a business.

VI Training

People expect and are entitled to get training and guidance to improve their performance. They want to work in an environment where they know their manager is concerned about them as individuals and is committed to their success. The manager can do this by respecting and using their input and ideas.

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