Management is a creative process as it involves integrating, the use of resources to accomplish predetermined objectives. So every manager is concerned with ideas, things and people. They provide the vital inputs which are transformed as output in tune with predetermined objectives.
Management of ideas implies the use of conceptual skills. This has three connotations. First it refers to the need for practical philosophy of management by considering management as a distinct and scientific process. Secondly, management of ideas means the planning phase of management.
Finally, management of ideas refers to creativity and innovation. Creativity means generation of new ideas and innovation refers to transforming ideas into visible realities and utilities. In short, a manager must be imaginative to plan ahead and to create new ideas.
In every organisation managers play a crucial and creative role as an analyst, planner, resource linker, problem solver, communicator, facilitator and coordinator. To be successful a manager has to perform these activities efficiently and effectively. In management literature Harry Mintzberg conducted one of the first comprehensive studies regarding the nature of managerial work.
Harry Mintzberg identified three basic roles performed by managers. They are: (1) Inter-personal roles (2) Informational roles (3) Decisional roles.
These roles describe what managers actually perform.
(1) Interpersonal Roles:
According to Mintzberg interpersonal roles concentrate on the following points:
(a) A manager is a figure head. As a figure head he has to sign certain documents required by law and officially receives visitors.
(b) A manager serves as a leader by performing the jobs of hiring, training, evaluating the performance and merit rating of employees. He also fixes the remuneration to employees.
(c) A manager serves as a liaison between outsiders like the community it serves, suppliers and others in the organisation.
(2) Informational Roles:
Mintzberg has identified the following informational roles played by the manager:
(a) As monitors, managers gather information in order to be well informed.
(b) As disseminators of information flowing from both external and internal sources, managers provide the vital link between the superior and the subordinates by appraising higher up with the problems of subordinates and inform the subordinates the decisions taken by the higher ups.
(3) Decisional Roles:
The decisional roles of managers discussed by Mintzberg are:
(a) As entrepreneurs they act as initiators, innovators, problem identifiers and design improved projects for effective performance.
(b) As problem solvers they handle contingencies with effortless ease.
(c) He acts as an effective resource allocator.
(d) They act as effective negotiators for and on behalf of the organisation.
The classification attempted by Mintzberg has thrown sufficient light on the effective role played by managers.
Still they can be discussed elaborately under the following heads for better understanding:
a. Managers Act as Analyst:
Managers are considered as an analytical thinker. As an analyst he breaks a problem into components, analyse the components and then come up with a feasible solution.
b. Managers as Planners:
Planning is the predetermination of future course of events. Every organisation will have its own objectives and it is the duty of managers to link the objectives to the prevailing scenario in the business environment. Based on the conditions that exist in the environment the performance is to be correlated to achieve its objectives.
So to be effective and purposeful the managers are to co-relate the performance of the organisation to its plan and environment. He must be shrewd to decide a plan and make necessary amends to the plan as and when necessary. He must be a good planner and navigator of plans.
c. Resource Linker:
Every organisation has two important resources known as men and material. The human resources are responsible for converting material resources into desired output. The availability of material, men and money must be adequate, proper and at the required time. The combination of the three produces the desired results.
This is facilitated by the managers at the right time in required quantity. As a good analyst he knows the requirement of adequate resources and provides them in the proper form and mix. This enables the organisation to render effective performance.
d. Problem Solver:
Every manager must be a good problem shooter. Business is always in a constant state of flux. Every organisation identifies the prevailing business environment and prepares their blueprint for performance. But the conditions change quite frequently and they cannot proceed in the predetermined course.
So this creates lot of problems and normal functioning is affected. So it becomes necessary for the manager to identify the problems, their root causes and suggest ways and means of attacking the problems correctly. So he must be a good analyst of problems and an effective problem shooter.
e. Managers as Communicators:
Every manager must be a good communicator. Because communication always promotes a better understanding and it motivates performance. At all levels managers are to communicate with higher ups, subordinates and outsiders wherever necessary. The higher ups take decisions to be carried out. These are to be understood first and they are to be informed to the subordinates for effective performance. As and when performance takes place the subordinate may face problems.
The manager must be capable of solving at his level and wherever this is not possible he has to bring these problems to the knowledge of higher ups. He should know how to convey the decisions to the subordinates and how to represent genuine problems to the higher authorities.
There may be situations in which he has to interact with outsiders and he has to perform carefully. So a manager can be successful and play an effective role only when he is a good communicator in all situations. At times he may be placed in tight corners but still he has to handle the situation with mental equanimity.
f. Manager as a Facilitator and Coordinator:
The main job of a manager is to facilitate the smooth and steady performance of employees at various levels. This is possible only when he plays an effective role of a facilitator. He has to provide the continuous flow of men and material at the right time. Then only he can be regarded as an effective manager.
The term co-ordination means a continuous process for achieving unity of purpose in the organisation. It includes all deliberate efforts of the management to synchronize the functioning of various departments to accomplish organisational objectives. It results in blending the activities of various departments with a view to achieve organisational objectives.
Its features are:
(a) It is an essential managerial activity. It is performed at all levels of the organisation.
(b) It involves an orderly management of group efforts.
(c) It is a continuous process.
(d) Its purpose is to secure unity of action towards common objectives.
(e) Its objectives are – Total accomplishment, achieving economy and efficiency, Good Personal relations and reconciliation of goals.
A bird’s eye view of coordination attempted above makes us understand that co-ordination is attempted by managers at various levels. So every manager acts not only as a facilitator of performance but also a coordinator of activities.
The detailed discussion on the role played by the manager makes us to conclude as follows:
(1) They are held responsible for arranging their work and they are also responsible for the performance of the subordinates.
(2) Managers strike the right balance between competing goals and set priorities by the analytical skill.
(3) They provide adequate resources at the proper time.
(4) They act as good mediators.
(5) They are good and effective communicators.
(6) They are effective decision makers.
(7) Finally they are good at in the art of getting things done through and with people.