Critically discuss how Human Resource professionals and line management work together to manage and lead people within your organisation or an organisation well known to you Assignment In order to critically discuss how HR professionals and line managers work together to lead and manage people within my organisation it is necessary to look at 4 different components. Firstly it is necessary to define the characteristics or role of a line manager, secondly what does it mean to manage, thirdly what it means to lead and finally why and how HR professionals assist line managers to manage and lead.
I shall then look at what the human resource department within my organisation does to facilitate line managers to lead and manage which I shall evaluate through examining academic research and case studies to analysis the merits of my organisations practices. The CIPD defines line manager’s as managers who have first line responsibility for a group of people, they are accountable to a higher level of management and their role will normally include management of people, operational costs, work allocations, processes, quality, customer/clients relations and providing technical expertise.
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LJ Mullins(“Management & Organisational Behaviour”) describes management as “getting work done through the efforts of other people” Drucker describes management as making things happen . Essentially a line manager is required to direct staff, resources and practices to align with an organisations or departments objectives, a line manager may be a supervisor or have a prefix of senior to the title e. g. Senior Administrator . Having established what is a line manager it is necessary to explore the difference between management and leadership.
Much has been written about the nature of management, Henri Fayol set out 14 basic principles of management which can be grouped under five different managerial activities; planning (how things are to be done and future changes) , organising (materials, tools, capital, staff) , command ( knowledge of staff, set a good example, aim at making unity prevail amongst staff) , co-ordination (harmonise all the activities of an organisation to ensure success) and control (conformity with the organisations overall strategic aim).
Drucker argues that the above definition of management is to narrow and that management consists of setting objectives , organising, motivating and communicating, measuring (performance and establishing targets) and developing people (directing, encouragement and training). From the above definitions, management can be seen to be functional, a form of control (Fayol), however leadership can be drawn out of Druckers definition of management, namely the skills necessary to, motivate and communicate with staff and develop people.
Jane Weightman, states, leadership “includes the ability to get people to do different things from that which they would have done otherwise and to do these different things with some degree of commitment and enthusiasm”. The importance of Leadership for the line manager was identified in research undertaken by Work and Employment Research Centre, which studied 18 organisations to explain the impact of people management on organisational performance.
Analysis of employees responses showed that it was an employees relationship with their immediate or frontline manager that was especially important and powerful in shaping an employees beliefs and attitudes towards organisational commitment and job satisfaction, or employee engagement.
The CIPD Annual Survey Report (2006) on employee engagement established engaged employees perform better that others and Alans Saks research in to the antecedent and consequences of employee engagement found that employee engagement mediated intentions to quit and organisational citizenship behaviour or discretionary behaviour, employees going that extra mile. There are many researchers who have claimed that employee engagement predicts organisational success and performance. Saks 2006), (Understanding the people & Performance link 2003). Often front line managers will have responsibility for people management which will involve the application of HR policies and procedure (e. g. development plans, performance management reviews and appraisals) and the way mangers are managed and developed will influence how the policies are applied.
Clearly it is in the interests of an organisation to ensures line managers have the necessary attributes to successfully manage and lead employees in order to ensure an organisations strategic plans are implemented and its goals are met, Valenti (quoted in Management & Organisational Behaviour – LJ Mullins 2007) suggest that there are 5 essential qualities a manager must attain to become a successful leader courage (to overcome obstacles and do what is right), confidence, concentration, passion (enthusiasm and commitment) and values (a strong ense of enduring standards of behaviour). Leadership skills differ from technical or organisational skills and are commonly called soft skills or a more apt description is emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman suggests that the possession of soft skills contributes me to individuals ultimate success or failure than technical skills or intelligence.
Although there are many theories of leadership there are some key skills, Bernis (quoted in Management & Organisational Behaviour – LJ Mullins 2007) Identifies the leaders of the future will need to be able to understand and practice the power of appreciation, remind people of what’s important, generate and sustain trust, be able to create intimate alliances.
This is of particular importance in all organisations, large or small, public, private or the third sector’s strategic futures, as Prentice Hall states “…the pace of change is accelerating and all organisations must be prepared to respond to and even anticipate change” with this in mind having a line managers that are being developed and supported to gain strong leadership skill is intrinsic to managing organisational success and is one of the key ways HR adds value to an organisation by providing a management development programme not only in the understanding of policies and procedures but in developing the soft skills or emotional intelligence that is necessary to facilitate good leadership skills. To quote J. Adair “It is wrong to give a person a leadership role without some form of training – wrong for them and those who work with them” .
It should also be noted that the ability of managers to lead and manage staff links in to a number of areas as well as organisational strategy, this includes the psychological contract, managing change, work life balance and stress, career development, motivation and influence. Therefore it is necessary for HR to develop a relationship with managers that is based in cooperation and consultation. A good relationship with HR is also necessary to facilitate line managers consulting HR in an advisory role when situations become complicated or it is necessary. I currently work in a unitary local authority that provides public services including education, social care, waste collection and housing to the local population of approximately 250,000 residents.
Along with most public bodies is in a constant state of change from a number of different sources, central government obligations, changes in leadership, administration, financial and funding targets and sources, benchmarking, key performance indicators and best value obligations as well as increasing numbers of service users. Line managers operate in two environments either in frontline services such as housing or social services or backroom services such as legal or IT. Frontline managers tend to have performance targets whilst back services have best value targets that translate in to budgetary savings, both types of line managers will be responsible for and reliant on staff who are key to their performance and therefore good line managers are vital to the service. the organisation have just re-launched its learning and Development programme for 2008 – 2009.
There is a specific Management Development programme which is linked to it’a Manager and Leader Standards which outline what is expected of managers, the standards relate to a managers ability to manage themselves, their team and resources. The programmes include Team building and Building High Performing Teams, Manager as Coach, Managing and Motivating, Managing a Diverse Work force, Manager as Skilled Communicator, Manager as Change Agent, Managing Individual Performance, Business and Team planning, Health and Safety for Managers. In total there are twenty specific training programmes for managers and as highlighted there are a number of programmes aimed at the development of leadership skills. However none of these programmes are compulsory a manager can be appointed and undergo none of these development programmes.
There are three programmes that are strongly recommended for new managers including Managing Individual Performance and Managing a Diverse Workforce (the third programme relates to what the managing and leading standards are). The new programme was based on a number of problems withinthe organisations relating to recruitment and retention, dignity at work issues, performance and target failures both financial and services. the organisation commissioned a report from an independent consultant on the learning and development needs of its managers. The report was based on questionnaire and interviews with over 80 managers. The report found that managers identified a need for them to be able to offer stronger leadership and to develop the ability to recognise achievement, engaging their teams and implementing performance development plans.
One key finding was that Managers identified a need for an opportunity to develop themselves. Whilst the programmes contents are designed to develop good leadership skills including the emotional intelligence/soft skills, the programme’s effectiveness is likely to be sporadic. LJ Mullins states that in order for a programme to be successful and effective there must be a planned and systematic approach to the effective management of training in particular there must be a clear commitment to training throughout all levels of the organisations, including top management setting the scene by actively supporting and giving encouragement along with a defined policy for training and review and evaluation of the training.
HR had argued for the programme to be made compulsory for all Managers, this is supported by the consultants report but this was refused on the grounds of organisational reasons and insufficient funding has been provided to roll out the programme. This has a more serious implication particularly in relation to retention and diversity issues. In the last 3 years the organisationhas failed to meet its diversity key performance indicator targets and there is a continuous retention issue. Most telling is that the independent consultants report identified a lack of managers development regarding equalities and diversity issues, this spills out in to the dignity at work issues and psychological contracts. Line management performance is therefore dependent on the culture within a department, which is set by the senior level.
There is no universal standard within the organisation and even though Manger /Leader Standards of the organisation sets out what is required of a manager, they are not feed in to appraisals, performance development plans or feedback, which means there can be no effective evaluation of the programmes effectiveness and managers can effectively ignore the strategic directional goals of an organisation as long as there is financial performance, which in the long run is a costly hindrance, particularly as the public sector are moving closer and closer to private business markets such as shared services driven by funding and financial target changes. The HR department has only recently been given a place on the Management team who make strategic decisions about the organisations objectives and goals, at the moment HR has difficulty in showings its value to the organisation.
The management board has failed to make the connection between achieving its goals and objectives and the need for the necessary tools, skills, processes and procedures (including leadership skills) to be in place to facilitate their achievement. The CIPD commissioned the Development Dimensions International to examine the implications and challenges facing HR professional and individuals who are promoted to leadership roles The report was based on the results from an online survey off approximately 600 managers from a range of levels. The report found that managers likened the stress of moving in to leadership or transitioning in to higher management as similar to the stress suffered during a divorce but that newly promoted leaders are unlikely to admit that the move in to a more senior role is causing them anxiety or they may not be consciously aware of it.
Development programmes that give leaders insights in to their concerns can mean managers approach their roles with confidence and focus which then feeds in to their development of leadership skills allowing them to be more effective managers . The report identified that a fundamental HR contribution to an organisation is to design and deliver programmes that identify performance expectations at all levels and allow leaders to understand their changing accountabilities and that the impact of their actions can impede employee engagement and progress including their own. Although the content of the management development programme aims to cover these issues by not having a programme that is compulsory for managers it is ineffective at addressing the underlying issues relating to its frontline management.
Karp and Helgo (The Future of Leadership) suggest that the future of leadership is future will focus on the emergence of identity and relationships and therefore leaders (managers) need to focus on the action of gaining the necessary trust, credibility and respect to perform as a leader. The 2006 CIPD Report on employee engagement found that a third of people are dissatisfied with the way they are managed, there is a lack of communication, a lack of training and development . The report also found that staff with positive views about their managers and senior managers are most engaged in their work perform better and are less likely to leave.
On a final note Rosemary Harrison raised two key points that must be intrinsic to any Management Development Programme, such programmes must look at the long term development of the knowledge and values the organisation requires and that the support for changes in the ways of managing and behaving requires the support of senior management. “There must be a real willingness in the organisation to accept the challenges that can result from [implementing] a powerful Management Development programme or the investment will not realise its potential value” References Marchington, M. & Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work. 3rd Edition. London. Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Mullins, L. J. (2007) Management and Organisational Behaviour. th Edition. Essex. Pearson Education Limited Harrison, R. (2003) Employee Development – People and Organisations. 2nd Edition. London. Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Watson, G. & Gallagher K. (2005) Managing for Results. 2nd Edition. London. Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Weightman, J. (2004) Managing People – People and Organisations. 2nd Edition. London. Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Torrington, D. & Hall, L. (2005) Human Resource Management. 6th Edition. Essex. Pearson Education Limited Harrison, R. (2005) Learning and Development. 4th Edition. London. Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. CIPD. 2008) Managing Conflict at Work – A guide for line managers. Online. http://www. cipd. co. uk/subjects/empreltns/general/_mngcnflcwk. htm. (Accessed: 9 April 2008) Purcell, J. & Hutchinson, S. (2007)Change Agenda, Rewarding Work – The Vital role of Line Managers. Online. http://www. cipd. co. uk/subjects/pay/general/_rwrdngwrk. htm. (Accessed: 9 April 2008) CIPD (2008) Bringing Policies to Life: The Vital Role of Front Line Managers in People Management (Summary of Executive Briefing). Online. http://www. cipd. co. uk/research/_bringpolstolife. htm. (Accessed: 9 April 2008) DDI UK (2007) Leadership Transitions – Maximising HR’s Contribution.
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