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Managing Situations

Management is a key component of leadership and is what brings about change. Learn about the four essential skills that all managers must master to be successful.

Presenter: Dr. D. Christopher Kayes, Professor of Management, George Washington University


Video Transcript

[TEXT: LEADERSHIP: Managing Situations]
[TEXT: Learning Objectives

1. Distinguish between leadership and management.
2. Understand the importance of management in problem solving.
3. Identify the four skills required for effective management.]

[TEXT: Dr. D. Christopher Kayes, Professor of Management, George Washington University]

This session is about management.

Learning objectives include: one, distinguish between leadership and management. Two, understand the importance of management in problem solving. Three, identify the four skills of planning, putting the plan into action, influencing and deciding — required for effective management.

It’s common for people to confuse the words leadership and management. Leadership is about change, creating a vision for the future, and bringing people together to create the change.

Management on the other hand, is about the process that the leader uses to create the change and solve the problem. Leaders motivate and inspire, where managers focus on getting the job done.

Effective problem solving requires both leadership and management, but I want to concentrate on the importance of management because I’ve seen too many leaders in too many situations fail to achieve the change they desire because they have failed to properly manage their project.

Leadership requires a vision for the future, but the vision will never be realized if the leader cannot successfully see the vision implemented to the end. Effective management requires many different skills including planning, organizing, influencing, and deciding, with the objective of achieving an organization’s goals.

These skills can be learned and practiced by people not yet in formal management positions.

The first skill, planning, involves taking a step-by-step approach and requires making a fair estimate of what is required to accomplish a goal. Even though plans will likely change throughout the process, putting a plan together helps the manager identify possible challenges and provides a way to explain to others the nature of the project or change that they hope to bring about. For Network members, you can practice this skill by designing a plan to achieve something that is important to you. This plan can involve creating daily goals, “to do” lists of activities, and weekly assessment of what went well and what did not go well.

Next, putting your plans into action involves bringing together the right people and resources to accomplish goals. This might also include designing jobs and roles appropriately, and implementing change in order to accomplish these goals. Network members can practice change management in small ways. For example, a member can decide on a small change, and seek out those people to help accomplish this change.

The third skill, influencing, requires the manager to get individuals to participate in the project. It also, more broadly, means getting people to work together in the interests of the organization. This skill is also related to teamwork. Network members can practice their teamwork skills by building a shared purpose among people from different backgrounds with different ideas.

Finally, deciding involves assessing resources and determining which courses of action to take. In any project, a manager faces multiple choices — who should be involved in the project, what resources are needed, and how will the different aspects of a project be paid for. Network members can practice this skill by purposefully selecting a course of action after considering a variety of alternatives. This means that rather than making a decision quickly, a member can practice assigning different alternatives, and methodically weighing the alternatives, before selecting an action. Some steps include recognizing a situation that requires a decision, then identifying alternatives, evaluating those alternatives, selecting the best alternative, implementing that alternative, and finally following up to evaluate whether the decision was effective.

Of the four management processes — planning, putting your plan into action, influencing and deciding — which are your strongest management skills?

Now that you have completed the course please visit YLAI.STATE.GOV to take the quiz. This will help you test your knowledge and earn credit towards a special certificate.


Discussion Guide [PDF, 138.87 KB]