Sunday, April 29, 2007

Management Development Programme: Phase 4 - Day 2 & Day 3

On Second dan Third Day of the 4th MDP, Mr. Chan covered the remaining topics of his module which are topics on Decision Making, Managing Conflict and Gaining Power/Influence.

Just to recap from day one, Mr Chan asked again on what are the things that a boss should give his subordinate to get the job done. The answer is we have to give our subordinates KASH, K=knowledge, A=Aptitude, S= Skill and H= Habit to motivate and inspire them to deliver thier jobs. Many people including me sometimes, demand a lot from our subordinates but at the same time being unfair to them. The thing is, to expect people to deliver, we must deliver first and this is in terms of giving appropriate training and resources to them.

Decision making is a set of eight steps that includes identifying a problem, selecting a solution, and evaluating the effectiveness of the solution. In the class, Mr Chan uses an example of making a decision to buy a car . We were also asked to play management game on decision making process, individual decision and group decision. The role-playing game for the decision making modules were the desert survival games. Styles of making decision can be best categorised as directive style, analytic style, conceptual style and behavioral style and in the class Mr Chan discussed in length about these using his own experiences and wisdoms.

On managing conflict, John D. Rockefeller used to say "I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other quality in a manager", stressing the point that conflict has to be managed properly. Of all challenges managers are least equipped with, interpersonal, intra-office conflicts top the list. Managers often lack the objectivity when conflicts arise because they lack the skills to transcend the tension. If not managed properly, conflict can lead to hostility, lack of cooperation, violence, destroyed relationships and company failure. If managed properly, conflict can stimulate creativity, innovation and change. Conflicts are often due to communication problems, structural design and personal differences. Most important things to do when addressing conflicts are to treat the other person with respect, to listen and restate to the other's satisfaction and briefly state our views, needs and feelings. They are five styles in handling conflict which consist of avoidance, accomodation, competing, compromise and collaboration. In class, we were given case studies and asked to explain the type of conflict handling method to use in different situations.

On gaining power and influence, Mr. Chan elaborated on the concept of power. Power is the ability of a person or group to change the attitudes or behaviour of others. They are two faces of power, personal and institutional. Personal Power is related to personal gain and is derived and characterised from expertise, attraction, effort and legitimacy. Institutional power is used to create motivation and to accomplish group goals. To illustrate the concept of power in the class, another role playing game was introduced to us by Mr Chan and this time it is a management role playing game called Dr. Rose Vs. Dr. Buckley.

The last day of Mr Chan modules covers the topic of motivating others, creating high performance teams and developing self awareness. Essentially, we need to ask ourselves on what do people actually want from thier Job?.

We must know how to motivate people to join and stay in the organization. We must also know how to provide incentives that motivate people to perform, to diagnose sources of performance problems and to apply appropriate methods to motivate employees to perform better.

Speaking on motivating people to stay in the company, one of our participants has already tendered out his resignation letter to the company. I spoke with him in length about his decision to resign and my conclusion is that he is just frustrated with the company and also the prospect that the company can give him in the future. Maybe, the money promised on the other side is better but whatever it is, I feel the company is losing a very good engineer that can contribute a lot to the company if given the chance. Sincerely speaking, I also don't quite agree with the company policy of renewing or extending contracts to the people who are supposed to retire. To me, if the company really wants to extend anybody, it should only be on the advisory or consultative capacity rather than occupying the same position. Nobody is indispensible and if we are 'forced' to retain people that are supposed to retire, that only shows our failure to trust the existing personel and also shows our failure to implement a successful succession planning program.

I leave it to Allah on the future of my career in the company knowing that I will give my best on whatever trials and tribulations that I will face along the way. People can come and go and those who wins is not necessarily the one in power but those with power who uses them with dignity and respect of others.

There is a lot of wastage in a low morale and demotivated workforce and it's our responsibility to avoid such things to happen. The key is perseverence and the road to success is always a hard one...

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