Dublin (1994) dated that in every organization each member of staff must plan, organism, make decisions, and control the resources they need to accomplish the results expected of them. The criticisms an IS/IT manager could receive include: poor leadership and organizational skills, lack of planning and delegating tasks, poor decision making, failure to communicate to other members of staff, not meeting the customer’s requirements, the organizations aims and objectives not being met and poor performance from employees.
However, a manager can take appropriate action to overcome these issues and prevent them from appending in the future. Freezer (2004) suggested that “As the power of IT has become increasingly critical in the new century, planning, straightening, adopting standards, and establishing IT policy has become more important”. Therefore, managers will need to take all these areas into consideration to become successful leaders. According to Thriftier (1994), to be an effective IS manager you should develop a suitable IS organization structure; apply effective control over the organization; motivate and lead the IS personnel and end users.
If a manager can take the correct action in an organization, he can exercise control ND improve the performance of the organization. Mentoring argued that there are 10 primary roles and behaviors that can be used to categories a manager’s different functions. These are then divided into 3 categories: Interpersonal, Informational and Decisional. The interpersonal roles include leader, liaison and figurehead. The informational roles consist of spokesperson, disseminated and monitor. Finally, the decisional roles contain entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource locator and negotiator.
Therefore, for an organization to be successful, he manager will need to fulfill the above roles effectively. Peter Trucker (1974) stated that there are 5 basic operations in the work of a manager. Firstly, a manager sets and determines what the objectives should be; he makes the objectives affective by communicating them to the people whose performance is needed to attain them. Secondly, a manager organizes and analyses the activities, decisions and relations needed. Next, a manager motivates and communicates; he makes a team out of the people that are responsible for various jobs.
The fourth basic element in the work of the manager is measurement. The manager establishes targets and sees to it that each person has measurements available which are focused on the performance of the whole organization and which, at the same time, focus on the work of the individual. Finally, a manager develops people and themselves. On the other hand, if a manager fails to deliver the above roles this could lead to problems for the staff in the department, which will result in poor performance. 2 The task of managing IT remains challenging for several of the above reasons.
Most of these factors are mainly related to managerial concerns rather than technical issues. However, resolving this will require comprehensive management skills rather than rich technical skills. Freezer (2004) indicates the considerable research that has been carried out to determine the critical issues facing IT managers, their peers, and their superiors. Researchers from the SC index found that aligning IT and corporate goals, defining IT’s role and contribution, and developing information architecture have been important to IT for more than a decade.
Researchers have also found three issues that are critical for every organization, these include, using IT to improve productivity and effectiveness, maintaining competitive advantage, and redesigning the business process to better support the company strategy. Therefore, IT managers need effective management systems and processes to help them deal with the issues and challenges inherent in their responsibilities. Fenny and Hillocks (1998) suggested that core IS competencies are needed to assist the development of IT, measurable in terms of IT activities supported, and resulting business performance.
Figure 1 shows the 9 core IS competencies. The research carried out indicated that in order to have a successful IT function there are four ajar tasks which need to be accomplished. These include: co-ordination and leadership; ensuring technical capability; managing the external supply; and meeting the business’s requirements. Figure 1 Core Competencies. (Source: Fenny and Hillocks, 1998) Freezer (2004) claimed that to be successful, a firm’s IT management team must take action on the following critical areas: business management issues; strategic and competitive issues; planning and implementation concerns; and operational items.
If for any reason, the organization experiences difficulties in the above areas, the manager will need to set goals and objectives to overcome and prevent these issues. Attainment and Schmidt (1957) explained the different ways that managers interact with their followers. The model they created showed that, at the end of the spectrum, a manager can have total freedom and make all the decisions, whereas, at the other end of the spectrum, the team can have nearly total freedom to decide as the manager sets parameters for them to work within.
Therefore, when a team is unmotivated and unskilled, the manager will have to make the important decisions to avoid any problems. On the other hand, if a team is motivated and skilled, the manager can give some control over to staff to make the decisions. Freezer (2004) emphasized that IT managers, trained in technology but lacking the general management skills that their organizational roles demand, are finding that their jobs require knowledge of people management and organizational considerations as well as programming and hardware expertise.
To overcome certain challenges in the IT department, effective managers must develop a discerning awareness and a keen appreciation of social phenomena, and must constantly focus on their people management skills. One of the ways the IS/IT manager could improve the situation is by communicating with the staff; ensuring that everyone knows what is expected of them and what needs to be done. If the manager can communicate effectively with the members of staff, it will lower the risk of misunderstandings and improve team morale.
The manager needs to explain to the department about what has to be done, exactly how well they could be doing, and what can be achieved for better performance to develop their motivation. He can also prepare a written statement, which clearly outlines the allegations between the objectives of the organization and individual objectives and incorporate the interest of the two. The lack of well defined objectives and priorities is the common cause of failure. Secondly, the manager could develop and plan a strategy.
In many organizations the main issue confronting managers is planning, this is an extremely important aspect which, if goes wrong, can affect the entire organization. Within this he could define the purpose of the organization and identify the customer base. The manager must consider the customer’s needs and the department’s capabilities. He can also identify the critical success factors, which will help him direct and measure the success of the department. Furthermore, he can delegate specific tasks accordingly, for example, allocating jobs to those who are more suited.
By using the right employees to complete certain tasks, the manager can focus and make best use of the employee’s strengths. Delegating tasks to employees allows them to grow and develop into more productive employees. Employees who are more engaged in their jobs are more likely to perform better, as they are exposed to new challenges and have a higher chance to broaden their skill set. Additionally, the manager can have regular meetings with the employees to make sure that everyone is on target and that their performance is reaching the organizations standards.
Performance measurement is a crucial factor in every organization and should be carried out on a regular basis. This allows the manager to track the employee’s progress against the organizations goals and identify any opportunities for improvement. The importance is mainly on how the employees are learning and developing in order to accomplish the organizations overall strategy and to create a high performance workforce. Also, to further motivate employees, the manager could have a motivation and reward system in place, which acknowledges the employee’s achievements and demonstrates their importance to the organization.
By using this, the manager can improve the employee’s performance, productivity and morale. On the other hand, the manager needs to make sure that the department can handle change, be it technical or non-technical. This can be achieved if the manager clearly explains the reason for the change and has a suitable plan. However, some employees have difficulties adapting to change as they believe that they re starting over again and have to learn new skills.
To overcome this, the manager can use people management practices such as coaching, one to one communication and training to develop the employee’s confidence. In the long term, the manager could use strategic planning to ensure that every member of the department is working towards the same objectives. This process involves setting goals for the department and developing an approach to achieve those goals; this will allow the manager to make better decisions. Overall, the IS/IT manager has several options to improve the situation.
He COUld organism his staff accordingly and make sure that everyone is reaching their personal targets by monitoring them. The employees who are not reaching their full potential could be given training to improve their performance and enhance their knowledge of the user’s requirements. The manager could also devise a plan which indicates the aims and objectives that need to be accomplished by the employees. To conclude this, if the IS/IT manager can focus on the above key issues; he can then prove to the board of directors that the performance of the department is improving.