human factor - The Human Factor by Gerard M Blair In the...

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The Human Factor by Gerard M Blair In the management of a small team, the human factor is crucial to success. This article considers possible motivators and a simple framework for dealing with people. When you are struggling with a deadline or dealing with delicate decisions, the last thing you want to deal with is "people". When the fight is really on and the battle is undecided, you want your team to act co-operatively, quickly, rationally; you do not want a disgruntled employee bitching about life, you do not want a worker who avoids work, you do not want your key engineer being tired all day because the baby cries all night. But this is what happens, and as a manager you have to deal with it. Few "people problems" can be solved quickly, some are totally beyond your control and can only be contained; but you do have influence over many factors which affect your people and so it is your responsibility to ensure that your influence is a positive one. You can only underestimate the impact which you personally have upon the habits and effectiveness of your group. As the leader of a team, you have the authority to sanction, encourage or restrict most aspects of their working day, and this places you in a position of power - and responsibility. This article looks briefly at your behaviour and at what motivates people, because by understanding these you can adapt yourself and the work environment so that your team and the company are both enriched. Since human psychology is a vast and complex subject, we do not even pretend to explain it. Instead, the article then outlines a simple model of behaviour and a systematic approach to analysing how you can exert your influence to help your team to work. Behaviour Consider your behaviour. Consider the effect you would have if every morning after coffee you walked over to Jimmy's desk and told him what he was doing wrong. Would Jimmy feel pleased at your attention? Would he look forward to these little chats and prepare simple questions to clarify aspects of his work? Or would he develop a Pavlovian hatred for coffee and be busy elsewhere whenever you pass by? Of course you would never be so destructive - provided you thought about it. And you must; for many seemingly simple habits can have a huge impact upon your rapport with your team.
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Take another example: suppose (as a good supportive manager) you often give public praise for independence and initiative displayed by your team, and suppose (as a busy manager) you respond brusquely to questions and interruptions; think about it, what will happen? Probably your team will leave you alone. They will not raise problems (you will be left in the dark), they will not question your instructions (ambiguities will remain), they will struggle on bravely (and feel unsupported). Your simple behaviour may result in a quagmire of errors, mis-directed activity and utter frustration. So if you do want to hear about problems, tell the team so and react positively when you hear of
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2010 for the course ISE 454 taught by Professor Prateek during the Spring '10 term at Universidad del Salvador.

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human factor - The Human Factor by Gerard M Blair In the...

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