Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Essay: Are Managers Made or Born?

The discussion of the matter whether managers are born or made continues to engross minds of many scientists, who conduct multiple types of research and surveys to get to the truth and answer the question. At the same time owners of large companies also ponder over this matter, dreaming about hiring a “super manager” to fulfill all of the tasks. Students, who study to become a manager with the primary goal to earn as much money as possible, also want to know the answer to reach their goals.

However, a clear answer stating that good managers are only born or they are only made has not been given yet. The majority of participants in the discussion are convinced that managers are gone, meaning that a person who does not have any education and experience in management cannot be a manager in any field of business. History of world business sometimes disproves the theory that all managers are made, and once in a while, the world of business is struck by the information about ordinary people who have become very successful managers. It is not necessary to look through the piles of newspapers and magazines to find a proper example, which Bill Gates certainly makes. Being a chairman of Microsoft Corporation now, Gates developed a version of programming language BASIC when he was a student at Harvard University. And in 1975 (his third year at the university) he and his friend Paul Allen already started their own company. There is no information in his biography about special training how to be a manager; however, Bill Gates became not only a successful manager but also a world leader in computer software. But, without the proper university education, Bill Gates could only be a computer genius not a chairman of Microsoft Co.

The primary goal of the current study is to find the answer to the question whether managers are made or born. Due to the presence of various opinions on this matter, it is necessary to discuss all of them, including the idea that qualities of a good manager are innate, the opinion that all managers are made by means of education, communication and personal experience, and the opinion that a manager is a combination of innate qualities and life experiences.

Are managers made or born?
Before answering the main question, it is necessary to find out for whom it matters whether a manager is born to be a manager or he/she is made to be one. First of all, it is important to note that if a person has no desire to become a manager, he will never become one no matter how hard all specialists in management will try to teach him. So, the first-key element is desire. Nowadays, a lot of people want to be managers rather than farmers, for example. They would like to work in the air-conditioned offices and control people rather than work in the fields or being controlled by someone. However, desire is not enough. Owners of the companies search for managers who would embody all of the essential qualities of a perfect manager, but it is well-known that ideal people do not exist. So, employers have to choose to hire, for example, a young, very enthusiastic and optimistic graduate, or an experienced, skillful but not so enthusiastic manager. The first one’s desire do work is remarkable. However, he/she lacks some experience, while the second one exactly knows what to do, but he would never take risks if he is not sure about something. In this situation, it is difficult to say who would be hired. The majority of people would probably say that the second one will be hired, because he is experienced one, however, it is important not to forget about enthusiasm and a desire to work with all one’s heart, both of which play a major role in company’s success.

Generally speaking, a good manager should possess so many qualities that it is sometimes hard to differentiate innate qualities from the ones that were learned. Among the most important qualities of a manager are insight, passion, flexibility, perseverance, and discipline. Insight is a very controversial quality, which may originate from the natural intuition of a person, or from great experience and previous studies on any particular matter. Discipline can also be an innate or a gained quality. In most cases, it is a gained quality, which people receive when they are brought in families and while studying at schools and universities. Speaking about passion and perseverance, it is important to note that if a person is naturally calm, he/she will never be very passionate about anything including his/her job. That’s why it is impossible to teach a person to be passionate or enthusiastic. To be a manager it is necessary always to know what to do. However, it is not enough while reaching certain goals, because it is also important to be persistent while working to realize every goal. Without persistence, all actions are in vain.

Having spoken about some of the qualities that should be possessed by good managers, it is necessary to discuss various opinions on the matter whether managers are made or born. Some people think that managers are born. Indeed, people are born with different types of characters, which of course predetermine future life and career of every individual. Strong-willed, goal-oriented and enthusiastic people are more likely to become successful managers than those, who possess none of the above-mentioned qualities. However, other people also have the right to become leaders. So, the desire to become a leader is of high importance. If a shy, sluggish and pessimistic person would seriously want to change something in one’s life, he/she will succeed if the desire is strong enough. “The key, essential element in all good business management is the emotional attitude. The rest is mechanics” [3] – writes the author of “The Book of Management Wisdom” Peter Krass. Indeed, managers should be very much interested and involved in what they are doing to reach success. It does not matter for how many years a manager works at the company if one is not interested in success and does not possess a goal; manager’s work in such a case would never be effective. Management is not only about making a profit, but it is also about realizing goals.

Despite the fact that desire to be a manager and “emotional attitude” are key qualities of a successful manager, hard work is also involved in the process of making a manager. Some people would describe a manager as “natural born,” trying to emphasize how good he/she is at what he does. The author of the book “Leadership Development in Balance: Made/Born” Bruce J. Avolio, gives the following explanation to the concept of a natural born managers: “It’s easy because we can simply attribute the individual’s leadership to something we may not understand, as opposed to digging in and trying to understand its source” [1]. A successful manager is a person, who should not only possess certain qualities but also reveal them in various situations. Besides, it is important to develop the natural qualities through hard work to excel all of the competitors. Bruce J. Avolio writes in his book that “the magic of leadership derives from the perseverance of working hard at being a more effective individual, who works with people to make them more effective to induce positive change” [1]. And he is certainly right because nothing comes from nothing, and only desire and hard work may lead to the achievement of goals. To become a manager, a person should gain knowledge in the field of economics, where he/she is going to work. It is necessary to receive certain skills in influencing people because a manager who cannot organize people’s work is worth nothing. Indeed, it is not enough just to have many ideas; it is necessary to develop the ways how to accomplish what has been planned. The best manager is the one, who always knows the best way to reach the goal. Usually, such a way is the only one, so the manager should be able to choose the best one out of many, which would also work but not as good as the one that needs to be chosen. A manager should also be a responsible person and be able to take any risks if it is necessary.

Having discussed the matter whether managers are born or made it is necessary to conclude. As it has been mentioned above, a good manager should possess many qualities, some of which can be innate, and some of which can be gained. From my point of view, managers are both born and made. It is impossible to become a leader if you don’t have any natural predispositions to it. However, it is also impossible to become a leader without hard work. All of the people are born with different qualities, which become more or less noticeable later in life. Why does it happen so? The explanation is easy.

Some of the qualities people use and work on more often than on others. For example, almost all people can sing at least a little bit. However, only people who learn singing techniques for years can become famous singers. Thus, the qualities people develop in them more will be later the ones that are better developed, thus more effective. A manager is not simply a combination of innate and gained qualities, skills and experience; it is the combination of all of the elements mentioned above, which are working correctly and harmoniously.

Avolio, Bruce J. Leadership Development in Balance: Made/Born. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.
Champy, James. The Hidden Qualities of Great Leaders. 2003
Krass, Peter. The Book of Management Wisdom: Classic Writings by Legendary Managers. John Wiley & Sons. 2000.

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