Themanager that I interviewed was in charge of an analytical soillaboratory. The laboratory did soil pathology for essential plant andanimal nutrients. They normally obtained the soil samples fromfarmers who lived nearby and some research scientists as well. On theday that I visited the laboratory, the manager was happy to see mesince my timing was perfect. It was the offseason and therefore, thelaboratory only had a few samples to analyze. He was happy to help meout on my research and even offered to show me around the facility. Ilearnt a lot from the excursion. The interview went as shown below.
Whatare some of the basic functions that you perform as a manager?
Mostof my basic functions revolve around supervising my laboratorytechnicians and ensuring that every analytical procedure is followedaccording to the set standards and procedures. I also offer trainingfor new employees that may not fully grasp laboratory functions.
Whatare some of the challenges that you face as a manager?
Sometimessome necessary chemicals or reagents may run out, and thus our workis slowed down until they can be replaced. Other times I may have tobe extra strict on my workers especially when I feel they areslacking or cutting corners.
Arethere any ethical challenges that you face as a manager?
Ofcourse, there are those moments. For example, the laboratory may havea lot of samples that need to be analyzed, and this may create a hugebacklog. Customers may be impatient to get their results back. Due tobeing sometimes fatigued I just consider faking the results and beingdone with the whole pressure of the job. Fortunately, I do not dothat.
Whodo you serve?
Imainly serve agricultural farmers and research scientists in thiscommunity.
Doyou feel that you have a responsibility to the people you directlyserve?
Yes.I do feel that I have a responsibility of offering them a goodservice that is per the standard set by the regulation board.
Doyou feel you have a responsibility to the people of your localcommunity?
Yes,I do. As one of the elders in this community, I feel that it is up tome to guide and counsel those younger than myself. I see myself as arole model for the students who study nearby and therefore, I have ahigh moral code to maintain.
Whatdoes the word diversity mean to you?
Forme, it means acceptance and respect for every individual.
Doesdiversity influence the way you manage if so how?
Ofcourse, it does. I have twelve technicians beneath me, and each isunique in his or her way. They vary in race, gender, religion andeven sexual orientation. As a good manager, I do not let any of thesefactors come into play when we are performing our tasks.
Whatplanning steps do you take to achieve goals?
Ibelieve in proper time and money management. I, therefore, stick to astrict timetable a financial budget. Hard work as well is vital forone to achieve their goals.
Doyou have to delegate tasks?
SometimesI do delegate tasks.
Ifyou are required to delegate, what steps do you take to delegateeffectively?
Thedifferent technicians have different skill sets or areas ofspecialization. So whenever I have a specific task that I feel one ofthem can do better than I, I pass it to them. Whenever I have to beaway from the laboratory mainly due to meetings or conferences, myimmediate assistant is left in charge as I feel he fits into thatrole quite easily (Murnane, et al. 1996).
Isit necessary for you to motivate the people you manage? If so how doyou motivate them and do they respond?
Sometimesit is necessary to motivate my workers especially when morale is low.I normally motivate them using retreats where we go hike, play gamesand forget laboratory work for a day or two.
Doyou also consider yourself a leader, if yes why, if no why not?
Ido see myself as a leader. This is because I do have to make most ofthe decisions in the laboratory while ensuring that everyone’swellbeing is catered for as well.
Areyou required to establish teams for the people you manage, if so whatis that like?
Sometimesto speed up the sample analysis, I do form two teams. This is usuallythe organic compounds team and the inorganic compounds team. This isbased on the technicians’ skills set.
Arethere any challenges that you`ve experienced with creating teams andmanaging teams?
No,I have not experienced any challenges.
Doesyour organization have a culture, if so how would you define it?
Iwould describe our culture as closely knit where everyone works sideby side like a family. Through thick and thin we have each other’sbacks.
Iscreativity necessary among your employees, if so how do you encourageit?
Ideem creativity necessary to my employees. I encourage it by havingopen forums where anyone can speak their mind. I am also a goodlistener and always willing to hear new suggestions and ideas.
Themanager of the laboratory was able to answer fully all the questionshe was asked in a clear and precise manner. What I learnt about himwas that he took upon management as a form of mentorship. He sawhimself as the go-to guy whenever any of his employees hadjob-related or even personal issues. This form of management isusually ideal in creating a very conducive working environment.However, one should know where to draw the line. There are times thattough decisions have to be made and being overly friendly with theemployees can make it rather difficult for one to go through withsuch decisions. His input on duty delegation of duties is alsoempowering. He fully understands the skills of each employee of hisand ensures that he gives them responsibilities that accord theirtalents (Whetten, 2005).
Onthe issue of diversity, the manager gave a very good answer. Hebelieved in individuality and the uniqueness that is associated withthat. He did not allow any form of biased to arise in his workplace.Every employee was only to be judged according to their performanceand not a difference in race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.This on his part said a lot about his character. He sees himself as amoral pillar of the community and many people look up to him. Thisshows that when one is this principled, the community eventuallygrows to view you as a role model (Yusuf, 1995).
Thismanagement type in my opinion has to be a really good format. All theemployees in the facility looked cheerful and easygoing. Suchbehavior usually leads to highly productive working environments. Noemployee feels discriminated or mistreated by the employer. Thismanager has fully achieved in earning the employees love and respect.The facilitates were clean and well-kept thus showing the results ofgood management skills (Hisrich, et al. 1984).
Themanagement skills that can be picked from the interview will be vitalfor any entrepreneurial student. These skills would be very helpfulfor a professional career in a manager position. By being able toentrust my employees with some duties, I would increase the amount ofwork we can cover. This process would also boost the esteem of theemployees as well as increase their confidence. Another lesson learntis that to be a good manager, communication is very important(Ghoshal, 2005). Communication in the sense that I too as the managerI should be willing to lend an ear to my employees. I should be readyto hear suggestions and to seriously consider them. I should be ableto create time for the employees if the need arises and they need totalk to me. I should also encourage and recognize creativity throughvarious incentives that can create a friendly competition within theworkplace. Team building exercises, as well as work retreats, shouldbe present to keep motivating the employees and to boostproductivity. As the employee, I should not be too strict until theemployees fear me. When all these teachings learnt during thisresearch are applied, they will be extremely useful for a businessstudent and future professional entrepreneurs.
Ghoshal,S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good managementpractices. Academyof Management learning & education,4(1),75-91.
Hisrich,R. D., & Brush, C. (1984). The woman entrepreneur: Managementskills and business problems. Journalof Small Business Management,22(1),30-37.
Murnane,R. J., & Levy, F. (1996). Teachingthe New Basic Skills. Principles for Educating Children to Thrive ina Changing Economy.Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
Whetten,D. A. (2005). Developingmanagement skills.Pearson Education India.
Yusuf,A. (1995). Critical success factors for small business: perceptionsof South Pacific entrepreneurs. Journalof Small Business Management,33,2-68.