“Some people have suggested that understanding human behavior is the single most important requirement for managerial success.” HBO by Dean Maynard Bagtasos
Understanding human behavior, while one of the vital components of successfully managing an organization, is not the single most important requirement for managerial success. While it leads to better relationships, better collaboration among staff and other people in the organization, building a team that breeds creativity and productivity, there are other variables within and outside the organization that every manager must be technically equipped to deal with.
One of the most critical components of course is knowledge and technical skills in planning, organizing and controlling. Managers will be dealing with external factors like market trends, market competition, maintaining and expanding market niche, and even after sales and service issues. Simultaneously, managers will also deal with product designs and quality, cost efficiencies and other financial aspects, productivity, among other things, all requiring great deal of knowledge to make informed decisions. These complex decision areas are consequential to an organization’s success, becoming imperative on managers to possess profound understanding and knowledge of how the whole process works in order to effectively discharge their functions and manage the expectations of customers and achieve the organization’s objectives.
Another component and equally critical in managerial success is the ability of the manager to deal with his own self-esteem and put a self-check mechanism that will level off his satisfaction from the things he is suppose to be doing. This could mean self-motivation and courage. The ability to remain motivated drives a manager to keep those creativity and productivity juices flowing. Courage, on the other hand, is associated with many things. There is the courage of making tough decisions in the midst of shaky economic conditions or courage to fire people when the organization badly needs it. Courage to tell employees they did a really horrible job is another. But one courage managers tend to ignore is the courage to see himself through how others sees him. Often, failing to assess oneself and make necessary adjustments results to minor fissures that could eventually lead to huge cracks. And we all know who usually gets burned first when things get hot in an organization.
Then there’s the leadership issue. Managers not only ought to manage but also lead. As pointed out by John P. Kotter, “Management produces orderly results. Leadership creates useful change. You need both to be effective.” Leadership styles vary from social backgrounds and cultures. Asian cultures are at odds with the mainstream dynamic of assertiveness and directness typically associated with Western managers. The point being, managers as leaders should be equally assertive and responsive to cultural and social backgrounds. Understanding human behavior is the first step. The next logical step is being responsive to it, mixing the right amount assertiveness.
While it is true that understanding the mechanics of human behavior is a major leap forward towards a successful stint as a manager, there remain equally vital variables that make up the complex and dynamic managerial equation. Therefore, a successful manager not only build responsive interpersonal relationships with people within an organization by understanding human behaviors and tendencies but also maintains an impeccable work ethics blessed with profound knowledge and technical skills, having the right mix of responsive leadership style coupled with the audacity to lead by example. It inspires people to be more productive and his success can be measured up by how far he has advanced his organization in achieving its goals.
There is hardly a “one size fits all” solution to managerial success. Understanding human behavior is certainly a step in the right direction but definitely not the single most important requirement of managerial success.