There are many arguments, many quotes, many incidents that have been in history in this ever-lasting argument about who has more power between managers and employees. Traditionally, under the context of the old school of thought regarding organizational structure and hierarchy, there was no concept of relationship between employees and managers. The manager was considered to be the absolute authority, and the employees were given minimum control.
But under the new school of thought of management, it was understood that productivity will be raised only when employees are motivated to work, and this depends on the employment relationship they have. With time, employees are considering their job not as only work, but a part of life. In the employment relationship, managers and employees both play an important role, not only for one another’s job satisfaction, but also for the growth of themselves and the organization at large.
Although we can safely assume that both managers and employees are crucial players in the employment relationship, yet it is the manager who has to play the lead role in the situation. Even under the new definition of job responsibilities of mangers, ultimately he’s the one responsible for the proper productivity of the employees. The manager has to decide on the level of relationship with employees, the interaction level and the level of intimacy and friendliness. The manager has to choose the appropriate manner and personality to deal with the employees, depending on the situation, from traditionalist to modern standard style.
It is the duty of the manager to evaluate the personality of the employees and then adopts a style that will be best suited to them. If the mangers fail to do so it could lead to disastrous consequences for the whole organization. Consider the example occurred in the production of Air Bus A380. In the control of middle level managers the turbines cost was going higher than expected, but when the CEO deciphered the problem to be one concerning the management department, the CEO took the charge in his own hand, with the result that the turbines were built within the projected costs.
Still with any relationship style, it should be clear to the employees that ultimately it is the manager who will be making the decisions, and the employees should consent to them. They can discuss the decisions or even present alternate ones, but the final deciding power rests with the managers. When this characteristic is forgotten, it creates a loss of direction in the organization and leads to employees working in different directions instead of as a team. Only a manager can lead the team a he has the authority and the status to do so, as led by the example of New York mayor Giuliani after 9/11.
When an employee starts to make the decisions for the department, this creates confusion regarding the authority he or she has. Some employees follow the decisions while others tend to make their own, which creates chaos. A manager only has the right tools to mould the behavior of the employees. For the increased productivity of the workforce, the behavior of the manager is crucial, as he or she sets the example for the employees. In this sense the role of the manager is crucial as he or she sets the trend for the whole organization and its employees.
As Dr. Johnson (2008) says in his article, that employees are extremely sensitive to the behavior of their managers. So the behavior of the management can have a significant impact on the work environment and the overall culture of the organization. A manager has to become the individual that not only orders the employees, but also directs the way for them through his actions. He is the one who the employees look toward for guidance. This is done by both verbal instructions as well as through actions.
Do as I say and not as I do is one of the old-school commands that doesn’t comply with the business environment that exists today, as managers need to lead by example. This shows the strong role that managers could play for the employees and the organization as well. Another critical factor of organizational success that is rendered by the manager is to infuse trust and faith in the employees. In order to develop good relationships of employees with one another and with the organization, the manager should create respect and trust among the employees.
This is done through the affection and respect shown by the managers towards them, which becomes a symbol of affection of top management towards the employees, which is vital for their job satisfaction. As Johnson (2008) believes that it is essential for the managers to realize that it is they who have to take an initiative, and try to build a relationship of trust with their sub-ordinates, as the employees won’t start trusting their boss, until the boss starts to trust them back. The same applies with respect. It’s commonly heard that ‘Respect is earned’.
This indeed is true as employees will only respect you if you respect them first. Another job aspect of a manager is to be a leader for his/her employees. The manager has to be the one leading the team in all times. The manager has to lead the team via his commands and actions. This includes taking responsibility for all the employees and making the right decisions for them. The manager has to display the character that enforces the employees to follow him/her at all times with complete compliance. Effective leaders would be those who can understand this rule or criteria very clearly.
According to Johnson (2008), leaders of this century should be willing to work on their own personal leadership models and their practice of effective team building and decision making. They should realize the fact that their demonstration of good leadership skills defines the cultural norm of their organization. A manager also has to perform the critical role of hiring and firing the employees. Although employees are allowed today to have their say in many aspects of the job, yet this is one factor where the manager has the full authority and full responsibility.
Where employees might make the wrong decision in order to save a fellow employee or to get a friend a job, managers have to make the right decision for the whole organization. As said by Bill Gates in his article that organizations should hire very carefully, as this impacts their performance directly. An inefficient employee will only turn out to be a liability for the organization explains Gates (2008). He also urges companies to be staunch when making decisions to fire people.
He doesn’t believe in mediocrity, as he says that mediocre team will end up giving you mediocre results regardless of how well managed they are. Lastly, one of the key qualities that a manager displays in employment relationship is to be the helping hand, the teacher and the encourager. He/she not only has to transfer the skills for proper working to the employee, but also let the employee grow with time and experience by giving them more responsibility. This even sometimes creates threat for the managers as some employees try to take the job from them.
But Gates (2008) believes that in order to make the organization grow, the manager has to be the bigger person and let the employees have more of their share, while giving them the time to explore new avenue for the organization. Now we shall consider the effects of giving the employees more power in the employment relationship, as is shown by some organizations today. There has been a paradigm shift in contemporary management and the change in manager employee relationship has been the most apparent. The power of employees has increased over time up to the point that in some extreme cases they have challenged the top management.
There are several reasons for this change. According to Robbins (2004), today employees are being included in the decision making procedure and the traditional bureaucratic system of management is being discouraged. Employees now have more say in the running of an organization and they are taken into confidence by the top management before any major decision is taken. Though this has changed management for the better but there have been instances where employees have exploited this responsibility for their own gain.
An article ‘Employee is planning to over-throw me’ cites an example reflecting a situation in which the manager was quite powerless to do anything against the employee even though he was tarnishing his reputation. Now a very important point arises from here that why employees have become bold enough to challenge the top management at times. It is because before the revolution in management employees were treated more or less like robots. There were expected to obey every order unquestioningly and often there working conditions were deplorable.
Furthermore the manager could fire the employee whenever he wished. Against this backdrop most governments passed some labor laws which gave the employees some power and labor unions were created to protect the rights of the employees. LABOUR UNIONS A labor union is an organization of employees who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages, hours, and working conditions. Though this has quite a lot of advantages but there have been certain instances in which employees have exploited the power of these unions to achieve their own ends.
I will give a personal example to further elaborate this point. In every organization today steps are being taken today to develop a conducive environment for working and rules are now more employee-centric rather than manager centric. Managers are of the view that if employees are treated well they will work well which will increase the productivity of the organization. Essentially this is an effective strategy but often there are some bad employees who create problems for no reason.
Nowadays such employees can intimidate their own managers by telling lies, turning other employees against the managers or ruining the reputation of their superiors. This has become quite a problem for organizations and many renowned companies have been forced to make agreements with their employees in order to continue the smooth running of the organization. General Motors and Ford the two automobile heavy weights are the most recent examples of organizations entering into agreement with their respective labor unions which was one of the reasons why they could not match the cost effectiveness of Toyota.
Every where employees are being given more power and more liberty but this is actually creating more problems than advantages. The few examples stated above are only some instances of employees crossing the line and manipulating laws and regulations to achieve their own ends. Many analysts believe that in the future employee power will have to be curbed because the current scenario suggests that organizations are for employees rather than employees are for the organization.
Hence with regard to all the arguments given in favor of the fact that managers have more power, along with the harmful reasons for the employees to have more power in the employment relationship, we can safely conclude that although to develop a positive employment relationship, the role of managers and employees both are important, but comparatively the manager has to play a bigger role in the process, as he is more accountable and in a better position to affect the organizational success, hence has more power and responsibility towards both the organization and the employees.
Employee is planning to overthrow me. Available: http://www. officepolitics. com/advice/? p=222. Last accessed 19 Nov 2008 Gates, Bill. (2007). A good manager has at least 10 good qualities. Business Times. Johnson, Dr. Rick. (2008). Do As I Say — NOT As I Do. Available: http://www. ceostrategist. com/resources-store/articles. php? id=259&PHPSESSID=6df6fd71ce951639ac1ea0405f1c0feb. Last accessed 19 Nov 2008. Robbins, Stephen P. (2004). Organizational Behavior. Prentice Hall