Managers and leaders are the foundational pillars of any organization. The quality of leadership and management usually predetermines the quality of all organizational decisions. The goal of this paper is to describe a personal approach to the most important organizational issues, namely workplace stressors, teamwork, leadership and interpersonal conflict management. The paper is written from a manager’s standpoint. The paper includes recommendations to reduce workplace stressors, build perfect teams and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
Effective management is the foundational pillar of organizational development and growth. A good manager possesses both managerial and leadership qualities and has sufficient experience and authority to motivate employees to achieve the organization’s strategic goals. Managers are faced with numerous responsibilities and a multitude of tasks that demand attention and patience. These issues include but are not limited to employee workplace stressors, interpersonal conflicts, as well as team building and leadership. However, for a person who considers himself to be at the helm of a company, there is no issue that cannot be resolved. All managers need to do is to weigh available alternatives and develop strategies that will enable them and their subordinates to meet their goals quickly and effectively.
The changing nature of organizational environments imposes new demands on employees. As a result, the number of stressors affecting employees constantly increases. I believe that, in my company, workloads and the lack of work-family balance will become the most serious employee stressors. A consensus is growing that heavy workloads increase workplace stresses and reduce workplace efficiency (Glaser et al., 1999). The relationship between workloads and employee stresses has been abundantly established. The issue of excessive workloads is directly related to the issue of work-family conflict, which is defined as “a form of interrole conflict in which role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect” (McFarland, 2004). Reasons why work-family conflicts occur are numerous. More often than not, a conflict between family and workplace obligations occurs when employees have their time consumed by workplace obligations, with little to no time left for family issues (McFarland, 2004).
How to reduce these tensions and raise employee satisfaction? How to make sure that employees cope with their obligations and have enough time for family issues? Being at the helm of my company, I will focus on time management and optimization of work and family management. The former has proved to be extremely effective in reducing workloads. My task is to make sure that employees can control their time and, consequentially, reduce the perceived amount of workplace obligations and tasks (Jex & Elacqua, 1999). Certainly, time management alone cannot suffice to let all employees cope with their workplace tasks. Optimization will enable employees to choose and prioritize their professional goals, develop persistence to focus on these goals, and seek social and resource support to compensate for the lack of time (McFarland, 2004). To achieve these time management and optimization goals, HR managers in my company will organize training sessions, to teach employees how to manage their obligations and time. The skills and experiences gained during these sessions will further contribute to the creation and operation of effective organizational teams.
I am confident that teamwork is one of the foundational ingredients of effective performance in organizations. Effective teams are defined by a set of interrelated norms and expectations that facilitate adaptive, coordinated performance (Baker, Day & Salas, 2006). To work effectively, members of one team must know their own and other members’ roles and responsibilities, possess specific skills and experiences, and have a positive orientation/ disposition in their relations with the teammates (Baker et al., 2006). In my company, the best teams will be made up of employees that (a) know their obligations and tasks and possess an excellent grasp of new capabilities and skills, (b) actively and constructively participate in team discussions and are proactive in problem resolution, and (c) are open, supportive and action-oriented (LaFasto & Larson, 2001). All teams in my company will rely on participative decision-making, and team development will reflect the primary concern for organizational goals, objectives, and performance outcomes. Of particular importance are the implications of leadership for role clarification and distribution within teams. One of my principal tasks is to develop team member role awareness and provide regular feedback. Timely feedback will help team members to judge whether their behaviors should be continued or terminated (Prati et al., 2003).
Organizations and leaders create a unique synergy. In my company, a combination of transformational and servant leadership practices will lay the groundwork for sustained organizational development and growth. Despite the existing differences among servant and transformational leadership frameworks, both are sensitive to the needs of followers. This is what makes them positively distinct from the rest of the existing and emerging leadership theories. Being at the helm of my company, I will be fully accountable to myself and my employees for everything I do in the organization (Wong & Davey, 2007). By extending my hand to the followers, aligning their interests with those of the organization, and listening to others with empathy and openness, I will try to produce idealized influence on employees and become a role model for them (Stone, Russell & Patterson, 2003). This is how I will integrate the best practices of transformational and servant leadership into a coherent leadership framework that will govern the decisions and actions in my company, especially in situations involving interpersonal conflicts.
Interpersonal conflicts in organizations are not uncommon. Reasons why interpersonal conflicts occur vary across organizations. In many instances, personality clashes are the core sources of conflicts in organizations and teams (Singh, 2009). “Interpersonal conflicts also result when there is a lack of clarity in terms of understanding one’s role in a given situation with respect to another person” (Singh, 2009, p.304). Whatever the reason, managing interpersonal conflicts will become one of my top priorities. I understand that interpersonal conflicts are inevitable where two or more persons work cooperatively to achieve a common goal. This is why there is no sense trying to eliminate conflicts; it is more important to have effective conflict resolution techniques and systems in place. I expect that role conflicts will become the major source of interpersonal conflicts in my company, and collaboration will become the principal instrument of interpersonal conflict management in the organization. As a role model and a person who seeks to serve the needs of employees, I will avoid prescriptive approaches to conflict resolution but will use descriptive models and recommendations to achieve a compromise (Wall & Callister, 1995). Collaboration and compromise will become the main prerequisites for resolving even the most challenging interpersonal conflicts.
I understand that not all conflicts can be easily detected. Contemporary organizations are becoming more diverse, and my company is not secured from these influences. Diversity sets the stage for the emergence of conflicts among individuals with different goals, values, perceptions and commitments (Wall & Callister, 1995). Simultaneously, the growing interdependence of organizational actors pressures employees and managers to resolve their conflicts immediately, and simply avoiding conflicts is neither productive nor possible (Wall & Callister, 1995). One of my main tasks is to turn interpersonal conflicts into a productive source of experiences and truths, by teaching employees not to lose their organizational commitments during even the most challenging crises.
Managers are inseparable from their organizations. Without professional management, organizations lose their heart, mind, and a chance to survive the competition. It comes as no surprise that managers are often regarded as the main source of motivation, vision and inspiration for employees. Being at the helm of a company requires being extremely attentive to employee stressors, interpersonal conflicts and their causes, teambuilding and teamwork, as well as employee qualities and needs. The best features of servant and transformational leadership can create a unique synergy that drives sustained organizational growth and meets employee interests and needs. Training and organizational support will enable employees to develop unique time management skills and improve their work-family balance. Management will become the main factor that does not let employees lose their organizational commitments even at times of serious crises.