O’Keefe 1 Managerial Interview: Motivation, Leadership and Ethics in the Workplace Nicole O’Keefe Organizational Behavior 300 November 20, 2008 Christian Resick Susan Epstein O’Keefe 2 Easily one of the most crucial, yet challenging, occupations to ho ld, management positions require a plethora of skills and capabilities. Successfully performing the duty of manager is not an easy task, but if managers are able to motivate their employees, then the entire organization can reap the benefits. Because management positions encompass such a wide variety of responsibilities, it is oftentimes difficult to excel in all aspects of the job. As stated in Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model, “Getting people to do their best work, even in trying circumstances, is one of managers’ most enduring and slippery challenges (Groysberg 1).” Necessity demands that managers be able to lead and motivate employees from all different backgrounds and mindsets. For this reason, no two people can be approached in exactly the same manner and this becomes the inherent obstacle managers need to overcome. The rewards greatly outnumber the costs, however, because e ffective management can lead to such desired results as increased output and profitability, high employee satisfaction, low employee turnover, and an overall better working environment, in addition to many others. It is no wonder that managers are so vital to the success of organizations because of the key roles they play. A relatively new asset to the mid-sized Philadelphia law firm of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, Beth Dainoff has truly been making her mark within the company. Dainoff, the Public Relations Coordinator, is responsible for a number of significant tasks. She joined the company a little over a year ago and still claims to be O’Keefe 3 learning new things and tackling unique challenges on a daily basis. “The work is never- ending,” she admits with a sly smile on her face, which obviously shows that she enjoys the pandemonium. Not only is she accountable for her own mile- long list of assignments, but she is also in charge of managing the firm’s marketing and public relations interns. She relishes the added pressure of having subordinates in this, her first management position, but states that she faces her share of ups and downs when it comes to being a manager. Within the Marketing Department at Stradley Ronon, there is the Chief Marketing Officer who heads the small department of eight employees with his second- in-command, the Marketing Manager. Dainoff works closely with both of her supervisors to accomplish the assignments and projects she is given. Some of these responsibilities include discovering new opportunities for business development, increasing firm and attorney publicity, engaging attorneys to actively participate in gaining relevant press, acknowledgements and awards, and maintaining a consistent and prestigious firm image. With such critical duties to fulfill, Dainoff does receive some extra help in the form of three Drexel interns. She not only delegates tasks to the co-ops but manages their progress in performing them, as well. Possessing little to no prior experience as a manager, Beth Dainoff has faced many challenges and learning experiences that have helped to improve her managerial skills. She will be the first to admit that the job comes loaded with pros and cons but that the challenge makes her position more rewarding. One such reward comes in the form of the strong relationships Beth is able to develop with the interns. As an employee-oriented leader, she believes that establishing a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect is the O’Keefe 4 best way to reach her employees. This also leads to the satisfaction she feels of having the ability to act as a mentor for other young professionals. Because o f the individual bonds made with each intern, she feels not only obligated but privileged to have the opportunity to help shape and direct the co-ops. Other benefits of being a manager include witnessing the sense of accomplishment the employees feel when overcoming a particularly difficult task and also helping each intern see how his or her work adds value to the company and fits into the big picture. Her employees most likely feel this type of satisfaction because they possess a learning- goal orientation. When people enjoy learning new things and gaining knowledge, succeeding in the face of adversity can be extremely rewarding. In a perfect world, there would be no disadvantages to mention, but in the management world, some inevitably arise. For Beth, the main problem with being a manager is the added pressure of having employees constantly looking to her for advice and to set an example to follow. Because she does hope to act as a mentor and role model for the employees, she sometimes worries that during times when she is swamped with work she will not be able to devote enough time and energy to the interns. Her employee- oriented leadership style, in which she holds the mentality of “lead by example,” forces her to constantly strive to stay on top of her game. Other negative aspects of the management position are dealing with conflicts and employee complaints or dissatisfactions, and finding ways to handle unmotivated or unfocused employees. Motivating workers can prove to be extremely complicated and difficult because of individual differences among people which include both surface level and deep level differences. Surface level differences such as race, gender and age can only tell so much O’Keefe 5 about a person. On the other hand, deep level differences such as personality and values take much more time to learn but are indefinitely more valuable to know. Successful managers understand the necessity of discovering these differences and adapting their motivational techniques to each individual. Marcus Buckingham, author of What Great Managers Do, states that, “there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it (Buckingham 2).” Being able to analyze employees and then apply a distinct strategy to motivate them is an important skill to possess as a manager. It may have been the case in the past that money was the singular and most powerful motivator available to employers, but in today’s workplace this no longer the case. Gardiner Morse, author of Why We Misread Motives, sums this point up beautifully: To be sure, money still counts. But today’s enlightened managers appreciate that employees seek meaning and satisfaction from their jobs—that it’s not just about the paycheck. These managers understand what motivates employees and fine- tune incentives accordingly (Morse 1). Creating a balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivators can be the most effective way to motivate employees who are seeking a well-rounded and rewarding work experience. The extrinsic motivators of money and job security are not the sole means for promoting employee satisfaction. Intrinsic motivators such as recognition and rewards, personal development, and the ability to truly contribute value to an organization are increasingly becoming key factors in employee motivation and satisfaction (Morse 1). Beth Dainoff embodies this idea by informing her employees of how their work contributes to the overall success of the project and ultimately the firm. This can be O’Keefe 6 extremely useful for managers who lack the ability to grant monetary bonuses or promotions, as is the case for Dainoff. When faced with unmotivated employees, different tactics may need to be applied since traditional strategies do not seem to be effective. The author of How to Motivate Your Problem People, Nigel Nicholson, claims: You can’t motivate these problem people: Only they themselves can. Your job is to create the circumstances in which their inherent motivation—the natural commitment and drive that most people have—is freed and channeled toward achievable goals (Nicholson 2). Although this may be a difficult feat, the results of tweaking the motivational approach used could be quite beneficial. According to McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, Theory X managers would feel that the unmotivated employees need to be forced into doing work by using punishment, such as pay cuts or loss of privileges. On the other hand, however, Theory Y managers would be more likely to directly communicate with the employee to devise a plan that would provide the missing motivation. Dainoff certainly falls into the category of Theory Y managers because of her belief that her employees enjoy challenges and appreciate the ability to really make a difference within the company through their hard work. She also values direct communication as a means to increase employee motivation. Behaving ethically is sometimes a difficult feat to accomplish, especially considering the many viewpoints that can be applied when analyzing ethics. People develop their morals and values as they grow up in and learn from society. Since all people experience and view the world around them in a different light, it is not surprising O’Keefe 7 that so many varied perspectives on what constitutes ethical behavior have been formed. Ethical guidelines help to establish a common ground among individuals so that the same rules can be applied to everyone. This also helps to eliminate some of the controversies that can occur in the business environment. Within organizations, ethical perspectives can take many different forms and can vary from business to business. One viewpoint used in the business environment is the Teleological approach, also known as the goal-oriented approach. When used alone, this perspective, which focuses on the outcome instead of the means used to achieve it, can lead to less-than-ethical behavior. This idea that the ends justifies the means can make people believe that any actions, whether ethical or not, may be taken to accomplish a goal. By coupling this with other ethical viewpoints, such as the Theory of Rights or Utilitarianism, the Teleological approach can become more e ffective in promoting ethical behavior. The Theory of Rights places the ethical responsibility on the individual by saying that all people must value and uphold the rights of others, including the right to privacy, free speech, and freedom of conscience, among others. Utilitarianism can be described as acting to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The last two theories, Theory of Rights and Utilitarianism, seem to take peoples’ best interests into account more so than the Teleological perspective and for this reason, add more value to the Teleological view. A manager’s role in promoting and upholding ethical behavior in the workplace is extremely vital in order to obtain high moral values among workers in their daily business activities. According to Lynn Paine, author of Managing for Organizational Integrity, O’Keefe 8 Ethics has everything to do with management. Rarely do the character flaws of a lone actor fully explain corporate misconduct. More typically, unethical business practice involves the tacit, if not explicit, cooperation of others and reflects the values, attitudes, beliefs, language, and behavioral patterns that define an organization’s operating culture (Paine 1). This goes to show that ethical standards need to be clearly defined and abided by the organization and its leaders. The Values Ethics perspective seeks to fulfill the common need for a set of guidelines to base ethical decisions upon. These guidelines represent the company’s shared values and principles and also act as a point of reference for all employees to use if faced with an ethical dilemma. Values Ethics plays an important role in Beth Dainoff’s management role. She uses the principles regarding ethics set up by the company when dealing with any problems. Client privacy and case confidentiality are two of the major ethical issues Beth faces while working in public relations. She and her subordinates must follow the rules and guidelines established by Stradley Ronon in order to keep up with the ethical standards of the company. The Values Ethics perspective is the most useful viewpoint in the workplace because when moral principles are, “integrated into the day-to-day operations of an organization, such strategies can help prevent damaging ethical lapses while tapping into powerful human impulses for moral thought and action,” (Paine 1). A manager’s role is an all-encompassing position that is both challenging and rewarding at the same time. The responsibilities and duties placed upon managers may seem daunting to some, but managers, truly successful managers, are able to thrive under the pressure and act as a leader and role model within an organization. Managers are held O’Keefe 9 accountable for motivating employees to be productive and efficient, promoting employees satisfaction, acting as a leader, and enforcing ethical standards in addition to innumerable other responsibilities. After speaking with Beth, it is clear that although the tasks may be demanding, the benefits greatly outweigh any negative aspects of holding a management position. O’Keefe 10 Manager Interview Questions 1. How long have you been with the company? How long have you held your current position? 2. What are the three most important tasks or duties that you are responsible for accomplishing in this job? 3. What do you like most about being a manager? What do you like least about being a manager? 4. What are the best tactics/incentives you use to motivate your employees to give their all on the job? 5. How do you combat lack of motivation (bad attitudes, laziness, deviant behavior, tardiness, absenteeism) in your employees? 6. Do you ever find it challenging to know what will motivate different people or do you use about the same motivational techniques for all your employees? 7. What is the ideal employee attitude and how do you help your employees achieve it if they don’t already possess it? 8. In what ways do you create value for your employees? 9. As a manager, how important do you feel it is to be a leader for your employees? 10. How do you set an example for your employees to follow? 11. What do you admire most in your employees in terms of taking leadership roles in the workplace? 12. What are some common ethical issues you face in your day-to-day business? 13. How do you address/prevent unethical behavior from occurring? Are there company policies regarding ethics? 14. Do you find it difficult to address ethical issues with your employees since everyone has their own view on what constitutes ethical behavior? O’Keefe 11 Works Cited Banaji, Mah zarin, Max Bazerman, Do lly Chugh (December, 2003). How (Un )ethical A re You?. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/10/2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/ articles/article.jsp?ml_action=get-art icle&articleID=R0312D&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true>. Buckingham, Marcus (March 2005). What Great Managers Do. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/ 10/ 2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp? ml_action=get-article&articleID=R0503D&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true>. Groysberg, Borism Nitin Nohria, Linda-Eling Lee (July-August, 2008). Employee Motivation: A Po werful New Model. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/10/2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp. harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp?ml_action=get-article&art icleID=R0807G&ml_page =1&ml_subscriber=true>. Morse, Gardiner (January, 2003). Why We Mis read Motives. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/ 10/ 2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp? ml_action=get-article&articleID=F0301B&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true>. Nicholson, Nigel (January, 2003). How to Motivate Your Problem People. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/10/2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp? ml_action=get-article&articleID=R0301D&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true>. Sharp Paine, Lynn (March-April, 1994). Managing for Organizational Integrity. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved 11/10/2008, fro m <http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/ article.jsp?ml_action=get-art icle&articleID=94207&ml_page=1&ml_subscriber=true>.
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