In the modern workplace, filled with distractions and illusions of grandeur, it can be an
overwhelming task to maintain motivation, and drive a workforce to deliver productivity. To
achieve this, 21st century managers should focus on two elements; getting people to work,
and making work for people.
American automobile executive Lee Iacocca once said; “Start with good people, lay out the
rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those
things effectively, you can’t miss.”
Mark Orpen, Chief Executive Officer at The Institute of People Development (IPD), agrees, but
has a few in-depth pointers to add. “Getting people to work entails managing their
performance, skilling the talent within the organisation, managing management effectively,
and assigning the correct position to the right employee,” says Orpen. “Making work for
people requires delegation skills, and a dedication to both entrepreneurship and
Managing performance requires the ability to have difficult discussions, while training for
skills and not for budget. “Managing others takes finesse, and various soft skills must form
part of their management training. While it may appear a rewarding position, any manager
will face challenges,” adds Orpen.
Skilling talent requires a professional skills gap analysis, with a view to creating a Personal
Development Plan (PDP). With this structured approach, real Return on Investment can be
achieved – in financial and non-financial terms. “The gap analysis begins with an evaluation
of strengths and weaknesses, while the PDP requires the prioritisation of the development of
needs. Once the training has taken place, it is essential to review the results and adjust the
PDP going forward, as necessary.”
Managing management requires the development of management skills and tools – which
means that organisations must recognise the need to continue to develop managers.
“Learning should never end and, even at management level, there is always a new skill to
learn or one to hone to perfection. Technical expertise does not, after all, equate to
management expertise.”
To ensure the right people to do the right work, succession planning is also crucial. “This will
ensure that the employees with the requisite skills and potential are channelled into the
correct management positions to drive the organisation forward. Skills audits should be held
annually, and ownership of performance criteria is crucial to garner an effective, up-skilled,
and productive workforce.”
With a productive workforce, management must focus on making work for people. “Through
effective delegation, the workload (and responsibility) is shared. By adopting an
entrepreneurial approach, employment can be created. By encouraging intrapreneurship, a
person is identified as the captain of a project, taking direct responsibility and accountability
for turning an idea into a profitable finished product,” concludes Orpen. “In all three
scenarios, work is created, and effective leaders can be developed – through careful
management, targeted training, and expert guidance.”

  • ENDS –

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