First Line Managers Must Understand Personal Interest : Personal interest exists. This means that an individual has a special interest in protecting or promoting what is their own personal benefit. Alternatively, there are groups that seek to support or control existing systems or activities from which they derive personal gain.
The personal interest of first-line managers is in the goals of their functional areas. The external business environment of first-line managers is also important. Effective first-line managers must promote a balance between their own interests and those of others. First-line managers are like fish in water; Fish contain water and are in the water. There are internal business interests and external business interests. Let’s consider the importance of this.
First consider, the internal interests of the business and the role of managers in each. There are two types of first-line managers; functional line managers and general managers. I am a functional line manager as a restaurant manager, accounting manager and regional sales manager, in this role, my success is dedicated to that function. I am a hotel general manager and a Business Office Manager; In this role, my interest is in achieving all functional goals of the organization.
Functional first-line managers must ensure their area of responsibility achieves defined departmental goals. A functional manager is successful if their departmental goals are met. Removed manager not working. The manager’s acceptable goals are within the acceptable range.
Managers whose consistency exceeds their goals are considered for higher management. They are top players. This is where the point, functional managers must maintain a balance between the interests of his department and the interests of other departments.
As District Accounting Manager, I approve credit on sales contracts for equipment sales, marketing functions. If I’m too selective, marketing doesn’t make salespeople’s quotas and salaries suffer. If I’m too tolerant, the marketing department is overquoted and the salespeople are overjoyed. In the accounting function I am responsible for contract payments.
I reported to the Divisional Accounting Manager who expected me to raise money for the equipment. I receive promotions and bonuses about how effective I am at collecting instead of selling. This is the conundrum of the first-line manager; how you carry out line goals while not alienating other departments.
Now think about it, if first-line managers want to be general managers, they have to keep the goals of other departments in perspective. However, other first-line managers should know that you have a departmental interest; You understand other departments have vested interests. You have to be seen working with them to make every manager and company a success. This is very important, and a very difficult balance.
If you wish to advance to mid-level manager in your functional area, cooperation with the vested interests of other departments is essential. Mid-level functional managers most often report to mid-level general managers and high-level functional managers.
Progress to functional middle managers is difficult, often, you need to be at the top of the department’s functional goals. In addition, you must be acceptable to a mid-level general manager. Mid-level general managers will not want line functional managers who cause problems for other functional areas as mid-level functional managers.
Now, consider a first-line manager as a general manager. I am the first line business office manager and general manager, I am responsible for all functions of the company. I have an interest in achieving accounting, marketing and operations goals. I have goals in each of these functional areas. I report to the mid-level general manager. I was given this position because I was a successful first line manager.
Also, I was chosen for this position because of my wider activities in society and within the company. I achieve my functional goals and help other departments achieve theirs; or, I would never have been given this general management position.
As a general manager, my energies are divided among the functional areas of the company. My success is based on the success of my team in all functional areas. I have interest in all functional areas. Now, I have to deal with reporting to functional middle managers who have an interest in their field.
The second consideration, the external interests of the business and the role of managers. Some examples are the interests of trade unions, and society.
Trade unions are an external interest. Unions present a unique problem for first-line managers.
I remember my father explaining mistletoe to me. Mistletoe gets its food from trees. If the tree dies, the parasitic plant will die. I wonder if mistletoe knows it can kill trees. Trade unions have a vested interest in keeping trade unions alive. Do they care if the business survives? I think most unions do.
As a first-line manager and general manager, I had to deal with union issues. That is, I became an expert on union contracts. I realize that written comments in contracts are not always as meaningful as they seem. This riddle means, I have to know the memorandum of understanding on comments between the company and the union. Also, I take advantage of the company’s industrial relations people when there is confusion.
The interests of the union are not always the best interests of the company; it’s with the union. Seniority is in the interests of the union. This means that seniority is in the interests of union employees. Our contracts provide certain rights for seniority. I have to know how to manage seniority. If I’m not careful, the union employees will use their seniority rights to their advantage.
For example, the union employee who reported to me wanted all new vehicles to be handed over to senior employees. This right is not in the contract and is not for the benefit of the company. I refuse to allow senior employees to get new vehicles. Why is knowledge of contract content important for a manager? If you’re not careful, you will set a precedent in your department that will be used against companies in negotiations or arbitrations.
First-line managers must understand people’s interests. First-line managers sometimes have to put the interests of these communities above corporate and personal interests. This is very important today because of social media. A manager must always be aware of risk management and ethics in making decisions.
Some decisions may seem right for your department or company; however, not in the public interest. Your decision could be a risk management issue for your company.
Let’s just say, General Motors, for not taking into account the public’s interest in not doing a car recall because of a starter problem in their car. This decision had a tremendous negative impact on General Motors’ public image.
I will not continue with other examples of investment interests that first-line managers should consider.
In essence, first-line managers must be sensitive to the personal interests of others; then, manage their personal interests accordingly.