While this is a personal conflict for this manager, the skills a manager uses to deal with personal conflict must be transferable to the workplace environment involving other employees as well as superiors. If a manager knows that there are always several options in dealing with a situation, he will be more open to choosing one that will work for that unique conflict.
As mentioned earlier, consistency is an important part of an effective manager and can be applied to conflict as well. A good manager is consistent in executing rules and regulations with his employees. He will not let close relationships with employees cloud his judgment and rationale for making a decision. When conflict arises, the employees will know that each person will receive the same treatment regardless of who they are.
According to Robbins, "Consistency can relate to an individual's reliability, predictability, and good judgment in handling situations. Inconsistencies between words and actions decrease trust. Nothing is noticed more quickly... than a discrepancy between what executives preach and what they expect their associates to practice." People want to be able to "predict what you are going to do."19
In order for a manager to improve their effectiveness in a conflict situation they can also use "The Five A's of Improving Your Personal Effectiveness" Model from Kerns. The A's are assess, analyze, action plan, act, and adjust – then repeat.20 A good manager will always assess the situation in order to gather all of the details. Once he has all of the information, he will analyze it and develop an action plan. After implementation of the plan, he will be able to be flexible with that plan if something needs to be adjusted. Effective managers use the Five A's constantly without even realizing it. This helps a manager approach conflict with confidence knowing there is a steady process he can rely upon.
Flexibility and Creativity
"Managers exist in a state of steady uncertainly and their success rests upon constant exploration of uncharted waters."
President of Federated Development Company
Today changes in the business environment become more rapid and more complex and of course each manager must solve more problems in a limited period of time. As Dr. Abraham Zaleznik of Harvard University mentioned: "No matter how much you plan, when you get to the work place there are unanticipated problems: And the added constant challenge is that most of these problems cannot be solved effectively in old, familiar, or straightforward manners. Hence the quality most necessary for business and career success these days, and increasingly so in the future, is flexibility."21 But our group consider also creativity to be important today. These two aspects help manager not to be lost and not to lose in the modern business world and of course to be effective.
According to the dictionary flexibility is "the ability to change or to be changed easily to suit a different situation"22. What factors made this aspect so important? Thirst of all the growing volumes of information a manager should deal with. Second, environment and technologies which changed quicker and quicker every year and the third point will be internationalization. According to these three situations we can determine the following characteristics of the flexible manager:
A flexible manager is able "to stay loose and to choose and explore a wide variety of approaches to problems, without losing sight of the overall goal or purpose"23
Shows a resourcefulness in their ability to adapt himself quickly and easily to developing situation and changing environment
He "does not see the environment as something to which they should passively respond, but as something they should actively shape."24
Some authors also associated flexibility with personal openness of the manager25. They pointed out that if managers are open then they can be influenced by what is happening around them and as a result they react more flexible to all the changes around them. The one thing is obvious that flexibility is a key feature of personal growth and an indispensable condition for being an effective manager.
Let's now go back to the second aspect – creativity, and let's see what it means: "Creativity – producing or using new and effective ideas, results, etc"26. When we think about creativity, we imagine people who are gifted, talented, and different from others, whose ideas, decisions, and actions are situated out of the every day's life borders. In culture, creativity is associated with such a people like Bach, Van Gogh, and Einstein; in business with Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple Computers), Jack Welch (General Electric), and Anita Rodick (The Body Shop).27 Today creativity is a way of thinking, the way to integrate you visions and ideas into relationships and business. This process can be presented as following:
Figure 3: Critical thinking
Generate numerous possibilities
Free association, etc.
Source:Becoming a Master Manager, By:Robert E.Qiunn,Sue R.Faerman,Michel P. Thomson, Michael R. McGrath; USA,2003
The use of creativity in the decision making process or in problem solving allows manager to increase the effectiveness and encourage creative thinking among employees. An effective manager will use creativity as a tool of motivation. When employees are encouraged to use creativity in their problem solving and in everyday work, they are more likely to feel unique, valued and important for their organization28. In this way a manager can not only develop effectiveness but also create a group of like-minded employees.
For an effective manager of the future creativity or creative thinking should become the natural way to think. But to reach this ideal situation each manager should avoid the following barriers:
"A negative value of fantasy and reflection as a waste of time, a sign of laziness, or even a bit crazy"29
the ideas that only children may play and fantasise but adults must be serious
the idea that problem solving is a very serious an responsible process and you must forget about creativity and humour
a negative image of feeling and intuition, which are regarded as illogical an impractical
Although it is very difficult sometimes to change the society's cultural barriers and to change the image of creativity, each manager should try to overcome pragmatic influences and think individually.
Developing of managerial knowledge and manager's teaching role
Every manager must be sure that he or she will develop the competence and knowledge of those they supervise. Every employee has a potential for personal and professional development, and a good manager should discover and develop this potential. We will start with the idea that each person wants to know more. When a young employee comes to the company he has a lot of theoretical knowledge, personal ideas and visions. He has read a lot of books and articles, but he is still asking himself a lot of different questions. In that moment he needs someone to teach him how to become successful.
When you are a small child your parents teach you how to walk, and when you make your first steps in your career you also need a "parent" to teach, to give support, to empower and whatever else necessary. The effective manager is always ready to become such a "parent". He is always open to his employees and colleagues, he shares his knowledge, and he inspires others with his own experience and example. During the process of teaching he always remains patient and supports everyone in every step of the way. And of course leaders take the time to thank employees for a job well done.
But teaching doesn't mean only sharing manager's knowledge with someone; it also means that the manager takes a role of mentor. The term "mentor" has been used quite often in recent years. Jacqueline D. Heads, academic advisor for the Rutgers University College of Pharmacy in New Jersey defines this term as the following "A true mentor motivates you and impels you to move to the next level, mobilizes you by advising you on how to get there, and finally, like a guide, a mentor informally monitors your progress to make sure you are moving in the right direction,"30