Most of the organizations have a management hierarchy. Most of the core departments are headed by managers. A manager is someone who has other people reporting to her/him (Young, 2009). In the recent past, it has been found that a manager has subordinates and does not just work for him or herself. It is because he or she is the face of the organization. They control various activities that occur in the organization. Various managers often possess different traits thereby imposing their rulings and operations differently. An interview with an operations manager yielded the following report.
I contacted Oliver Williamson through the e-mail [email protected] and made an appointment for an interview. He is the operations manager of Partner Holdings. The firm deals with production of household items. Williamson oversees the day-to-day activities of the firm. As an operations manager, he oversees that the production process, thus playing leading role in the management of raw material and personnel. The core activity is oversight of the inventory and purchasing, as well as supplies.
A typical educational background for operations managers is a master’s degree in business administration or any other related field (Stevenson & Hojati, 2011). The next educational requirement for the position of director of operations at Partners Holdings is a bachelor’s degree in business or any other related field. The students are required to take courses in organizational culture because an organization should have distinguishable values and beliefs, in addition to its global covering implying that it has employees from various nationalities. Knowledge of organizational behavior would assist in creating an inclusive working environment. The other requirement is a considerable work related experience. In this regard, Williamson has worked as an operations manager in small and medium-sized companies for about 7 years before landing in his current job at Partners Holdings. The job well paying because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations managers had an average income of $115,200 in 2016. The managerial position is demanding based on its remuneration.
Proceeding further, better pay comes with increased responsibilities. As a result, the subordinates expect the operations manager to play a major role in the cost management, budgeting, and keeping the organization financially sound. He cited the use of business forecasts and sales reports to maximize output. An operations manager also sets the goals for different departments in the firm. The subordinates also require the operations managers to not only have good communication skills, but also interpersonal skills that would aid the various parts of the firm work collaboratively. They need to create a positive culture where everyone enjoys work being done. He also asserted that the subordinates require him to be honest, fair by holding every employee accountable, trustworthy, dependable, and collaborative by being part of the team and even contributing to ideas floated by the employees
In the same perspective, according to Young (2009), an operations manager should be genuine, behave in a responsive way, create a worker friendly environment, and recognize verbally the achievements of subordinates in a rewarding manner. Williamson also argued that a manager is supposed to appreciate employees in front their colleagues and acknowledge their hard work. Lastly, one should be charming by speaking meticulously to other people, getting people to say yes without even asking questions, and speaking only when it is appropriate.
There are various challenges associated with the job. He trains the firm’s employees on how they will handle the problems in future. However, it needs considerable investment of time and resources. Another challenge is globalization. The firm faces competition from other international firms (Tulgan, 2014). Also, having knowledge of all the business operations occurring in the firm is also a challenge. Operations managers need to comprehend the entire business flow, technologies, and customers’ needs. Lastly, he also cited worker engagement to problem solving as a challenge. It is often difficult to make all employees arrive a common understanding who come from varied social and cultural backgrounds.
As a result of the challenges he faces at the workplaces, there are some things such as trying to maintain high productivity levels in a competitive business environment makes Williamson to dislike the operations management job. Some workers may work in dishonesty in order to attain the departmental targets set for them. This culture erodes the trust between the staff and management. Finally, the long working hours makes one to feel tired after a day’s work
However, one thing that makes Williamson to extremely love his job is the creative skills and determination that he possesses, which are very crucial in today’s highly competitive business environment making him to feel confident and comfortable in his role. The job is also well-paying which motivates other employees to work hard in order to be promoted, which makes Oliver to feel challenged to work harder. He loves his job because he knows what is expected of him always.
On one hand, average managers are contended with good performance. On the other hand, top managers would not settle anything less than exceptional results (Williams, 2008). Average managers quickly give in when faced with setbacks, but top managers would continue to find fight until they are able to rise out of the problem because they view challenges as a learning experience. Average managers would hire for the sake of replacing the departed employee, while a top manager would train and mentor a person from the team to replace the departed employee. An average manager provides subjective feedback and only waits for the yearly performance reviews to give the feedback, while top managers give constant feedback to his team members (Murray, 2010). Top managers are team players. As a result, they organize for team building events that would motivate the employees. Contrarily, average managers prefer to work alone and rarely involve the employees in their decision making. Lastly, a top manager understands he has weaknesses and works towards improving on them, while an average manager often thinks he has no shortcomings (Wilson, Hill, & Glazer, 2013).
As a manager, one of the skills you require to be effective in your job is good communication skills that allow the manager to establish rapport with employees. It creates a good working environment and reduces workers’ frustration and stress in the workplace. One should also be critical thinker, intuitive, and reflective when making informed decisions. They should have good time management skills and operate on a schedule, and treat others with ultimate respect. Williamson often listened carefully to his staff and assisted them to deal with stress together with conflicting personalities. It needs empathy and a certain level of sensitivity that is hard for particular managers to attain. Also, as the head of operations he keeps employees motivated and organize suitable training. He works with senior management to get the best performance from the employees as well as ensuring that the firm operates within its mission statement. The other skills one requires to be effective operations managers are good feedback skills and listening skills including active listening. Most of these skills he learned from his colleagues and attended managerial conferences to perfect them.
We can do it today.
Everyone makes mistakes especially when they enter a new job. Williamson’s biggest mistake was automating bad processes, enterprise management system with the hope that it would lead to improvement when he was first promoted as an assistant operations manager at Discovery Communications. The system was costly and time-consuming to implement and maintain. The best solution at that time was to do away with the system because an automated bad process remains a bad process.
However, my proudest moment was when our company was ranked among the 100-best emerging companies globally. This not only showed that we are working in the right direction, but motivates the employees that their efforts are being recognized internationally. It shows I applied my skills and I was successful in them.
From Williamson’s perspective managers are supposed to plan, control, organize, lead, and deal employees’ related issues. Integrity is also crucial in management by ensuring that both the manager and employees are honest (Wilson, Hill, & Glazer, 2013). Managers also ensure that its unique values and behaviors contribute towards the firm’s productivity. As the operations manager, Williamson influences the company’s culture by being connected with employees, rewarding best performing staff, allocating adequate resources to various departments, and engaging in team building activities.
From the interview, what I found helpful is that a manager should be attentive, responsive, clear, knowledgeable on conflicts, supportive, focused, open-minded, provide information easily, humorous, appreciative, reassuring, and allow for intrapersonal communication.
- Murray, A. (2010). The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management: Lasting Lessons from the Best Leadership Minds of Our Time. New York: Harper Collins.
- Stevenson, W. J., & Hojati, M. (2011). Production/Operations/Management. Whitby: McGraw Hill.
- Tulgan, B. (2014). The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
- Williams, C. (2008). Management. New York: Cengage Learning.
- Wilson, R., Hill, A. V., & Glazer, H. (2013). Tools and Tactics for Operations Managers. New York: FT Press.
- Young, S. (2009). Essentials of Operations Management. New York: Sage Publications.