Management Matters

In a fast paced world of competing priorities, technological change and unexpected forces of nature, the ability to manage has never been more important.

The correlation between management quality and organisational success has been the focus of research interest for some time. A 2009 report titled Management Matters in Australia: Just How Productive Are We? captured findings from the Australian Management Practices and Productivity Global Benchmarking Report.

This research found there is a clear link between the quality of management and enterprise productivity, with management quality scored across 18 dimensions. These dimensions collate into three distinct but related areas of management: operations management, performance management and people management.

Among the key implications to be drawn from the study was that "focusing on managers is paramount for Australian enterprises; firms need to develop a structured approach to improve their management capabilities across the whole of the enterprise," p.38.

The study demonstrated that a cost effective way of improving the productivity of Australian firms is to promote a transformation in the calibre of management and leadership.

This transformation of managers is the central theme of a January 2011 article in Harvard Business Review, "Are You a Good Boss or a Great One?". Authors Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback say that the great majority of managers are well-intentioned, smart and accomplished individuals. Many progress and fulfill their ambitions. But they say too many fail to live up to their potential because they "stop working on themselves."

Hill and Lineback suggest that managers need an integrated way of thinking about their work, which they have called the three imperatives: Manage Yourself, Manage Your Networks and Manage Your Team. People, they say, typically think management is just about the third imperative, but today all three are critical.

AIM CEO Vivienne Anthon FAIM is convinced management matters.

"Better managers will create better workplaces and a more productive nation. The activities of AIM are designed to enable managers to develop their abilities at every stage of their career. Even experienced managers need to explore these three imperatives," Ms Anthon said.

She says the words of Hill and Lineback are apt for experienced managers, particularly their reflection that "we're all aware that the higher you rise in an organisation, the less feedback you get about your performance. You have to be prepared to regularly assess yourself."

Hill and Lineback: 3 imperatives

  • Manage Yourself
    Productive influence comes from people's trust in your competence and character
  • Manage Your Network
    The organisation as a whole must be engaged to create the conditions for your own and your team's success
  • Manage Your Team
    Effective managers forge a high performing 'we' out of all the individuals who report to them

The full article "Are You a Good Boss or a Great One?" can be accessed through Business Source Corporate, one of AIM's online databases which are available to all personal members. To access the database, log on to MemberNet at Forgotten your login details? Email or phone 1300 882 895 today.