My first discussion topic was on the span of control.
Span of Control means the number of employees that can be managed efficiently and effectively by a manager. There are two types of span of control:
- Narrow span of control: In a narrow span of control, a single manager or supervisor oversees only a few employees. This normally results in a tall organization – and organization with many levels of authority.
- Wide span of control: In a wide span of control, a single manager oversees a large number of employees. This normally results in a flat organizational structure – one with very few levels of authority.
We had to answer three questions.
- You are a manager who works directly with employees that are new to the company. Do you want to have a narrow span of control or a wide span of control? Why?
- You are an experienced employee who has worked for a company for many years. Do you want to report to a manager who has a wide span of control or a narrow span of control? Why?
- You manage a team of employees. The owner of your company has asked you to report how many sales were generated by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You have no time to do the report - one of your employees must do it. Tell us how you would use the delegation steps to decide which employee should create the report for your owner
This was my first post:
Being an employee isn't any different than being a manager although I would prefer that the manager could walk away and let me do my thing without standing over me every single minute. So I guess I would want the span to be wide. I am a good worker. If my boss has given me a specific assignment and deadline, I can get the job done and will ask if I need assistance. Just as I would not want an employee to fear me, I do not fear my boss.
There are many people who have facebook accounts, however, not all users are wise. I would choose someone on my team who has used the social media wisely and who is most resourceful and tell him/her that I have a deadline to meet and I need him/her to get the word out and will see that he/she gets full credit for the work which has been done. We all have talents and can utilize each talent for the benefit of the company. We must pull our resources together and work as a team just as the elements, string and tail each plays a vital role in kite flying.
My assignment for that week was on Organizational Structure. The subject was on a company I had never heard of before: One Smooth Stone, which is a theater business and sounds like a good company to work for. They are performers who entertain at sells conventions and motivational meetings and so forth. My attitude toward the subject of attending said convention or seminar is briefly mentioned here.
I received full credit for my assignment. I did not do so well at the assessment. That first week had convinced me that I'd be doomed in the class as I expected that each week would be harder for me with this less than wonderful attitude I have. But I'm happy to say that I showed improvement by the second week.
The second week my post needed to be on the functions of management. I posted the following:
I believe my weakest function is with controlling - following up to see if everyone else has followed through. I think that because I have done my part, everyone else has, which is not always the case. I don't know that I've had great examples to follow within the workplace. But I do have a great example of management at home - only it's my husband who does the follow-up to find that our sons have not cleaned their rooms, or finished with their duties in the kitchen or what have you. I need to become more observant. I think I'm pretty good at planning, however.
I really can't think of any outstanding managers that I have worked under. Two of my "managers" were let go, probably because they lacked in management skills. One quit because of confrontations which I don't understand. I remember telling one of my "replacement" managers that I thought it was really important for us to have a meeting in order for us to communicate and all be on the same page. She did have her meeting, but I wasn't invited. I didn't see that her management skills were any better than the one she replaced. Morale had actually gone done, as I recall.
This video (Hartzell, 2013) also points out that we don't see half of the functions that our managers do. Planning and Organizing take place behind closed doors - or in small groups. I used management skills in church groups and in the community functions. For example, I will be involved in a meeting on Thursday night in which ideas will be discussed and reviews will be made for saving the libraries in this area from closing.
Our assignment was on the difference between management and leadership. Our topic was on the CEO of Southwest airlines, Gary Kelly, which I briefly mentioned here.
Our third week (this week) was on managerial decision making process:
I have checked into more videos and research by typing in "the six steps of decision making" although the steps are not always introduced in the same manner, I think it's the same principle, but the emphasis seems to be made more about one step or break into more steps or combine into fewer steps; I've also noticed a different order.
Brian Perryman (2014) for example, gives eight steps with evaluation at number 6. Carrie Olson (2015) gives us six steps. Her evaluation also appears as number six, while easy presentation 1 (2012) also includes eight steps places evaluation at number 4.
Regardless of what order or how many steps, decision making needs to be thought out. Identify the problem or situation at hand, gather information and establish criteria (Olson 2015). A good manager will analyze and choose options. Unfortunately, it is not a step I see too often. I don't think "ultimatums" are good choice options.
I have had managers that haven't even been able to identify the problem. I often wondered how they had been put in the position of manager, to begin with.
There will be some instances when a manager will have to make what appears to be an "instant decision" but just as the "four functions of management" that we discussed last week, we don't always see what goes on behind closed doors. A good manager has already observed and analyzed situations and environment of employees are working. Thus what may appear instantaneous to the employees involved had already gone through a procedure of steps by the manager.
Allow me to give an example from my own work situation. There was an employee who wasn't pulling his share of the work. He was a bit crude with his language and did not show respect to his co-workers but the customers loved him. He evidently had some kind of charisma that only they could see. He wasn't the top seller, but always in the top two or three. Management had taken that all into consideration. It had been weighing on her mind for a couple of months. She had actually taken the employee aside - I don't know what words were said, but I know he was let go after a while. Though it appeared to some that her decision had been abrupt, it really wasn't.
Active listening requires listening from both management and employee (Denton, 1992). This employee just wasn't willing to listen.
And here is a comment made in response to a class member's post about:
I agree with you that managers don't always follow the six step process. I have had a few managers who did not even identify or evaluate the problem - unfortunately not every manager gets to have the training that we will be learning in various classes.
I've also been in situations where the manager (I'll call her Ruth) had interviewed for a position opening at a retail store. She had called to tell me that I had been chosen, only to call me one hour later to rag on the owner (I'll call him Mac) of the store. Mac had given Ruth explicit instructions to interview candidates and then decided to hire someone that hadn't even gone through the same procedures as those that had been interviewed. Ruth was actually more upset about the events that took place than I was.
I wouldn't have had a problem working for or with Ruth. I did have a problem with Mac and his interference. Ruth had used the steps of management assigned. I don't think Mac took any steps and was oblivious to the problem. I don't know what became of Ruth, as I did not get the job nor was in a position in which I could just pop in and ask. I think it's important that an employee has respect for his or her manager. Equally, I think it's just as important, maybe even more for a manager (or owner) to respect employees. I think that taking the time to take the proper steps in decision making makes a huge difference in showing respect.
To avoid an even longer (and possibly boring) post, I will finish up on Monday. My final thought shouldn't be posted to this blog before I post it to my discussion wall. Both say roughly the same thing, though what I have saved for my blog gives a bit more detail than what I will post to my discussion. And at last . . . including a topic that I'm actually passionate about. Yeah!