The Six Ethical Dilemmas Every Professional Faces
Amongst many dilemmas that we face today, although communication is easier than ever, yet it is being increasingly difficult for us to maintain conversations face to face. Interaction is becoming increasingly digitalized, where most of us choose to rather send an e-mail, than arranging a meeting. However, one management method provides a sound solution to these problems by fostering deeper integration of “actual conversations” in the workplace.
MBWA or Management By Walking Around is essentially a management style in which the managers walk around in unstructured and unplanned manner amongst the employees to supervise their work, while they are performing it. Its proponents claim that this kind of interaction enhances the ability of managers to better understand the issues, ideas and concerns of their subordinates which in turn allows the management to act on the findings accordingly. Although the concept of having management walk amongst subordinates and talk to them face-to-face, had been used by managers and organizations for decades, the term ‘Management by Walking Around’ was popularized in the 1980s. In 1982, management consultants Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman first documented the concept in their book, “In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies.” In the book, Peters and Waterman examined that the most successful companies had CEOs and managers who spent much of their time in the field instead of being confined to their offices, they were hence much more aware of the operations and in general had better ability to solve problems.
The idea gained further attention when William Hewlett and David Packard, the founders of Hewlett Packard, mentioned the theory to be part of the “HP Way”. The management style also became a popular option for organizations such as Disney who have its managers work shifts along with subordinates. Apple’s Steve Jobs was another big believer in the style who occasionally dealt with the customers directly. According to a Harvard Business school study, “The Effectiveness of MBWA”, there are three elements, which are essential for the style: walking around, striking up conversations, and creating networks. First, the manager must take time to walk around the organization. While the method is based on spontaneous and non-planned interactions, the manager must create a system, where he or she is compelled to get up and talk to the employees on a regular basis and also ensure the walks are directed to areas directly under his or her command. Secondly, the manager must strike up conversations. These conversations can be directly related to the work the subordinate or the business is doing, or the discussion can occasionally touch up on private issues which also might directly influence the person’s ability to work.
However, the objective should be primarily focused on gathering information from these informal discussions such as lunch breaks and corridor meetings to gain insight into their employees’ views, and stay on top of any problems they might encounter both at work and in private life. These conversations are the foundation for the third key component of creating networks within the organization. The manager should encourage better relationships through open communication which can strengthen the communication between him or her and the subordinate. This can ensure that when problems arise, the person will immediately share the news with the management. MBWA can thus result in strengthening the relationship between the management and the subordinates and set an example for better communication throughout the organization.
Management by walking around is an effective management method to monitor the subordinates in their work environment and can help create a more meaningful relationship with them, which can lead to enhancing the operating efficiency of an organization.
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Amongst many dilemmas that we face today, although communication is easier than ever, yet it is being increasingly difficult for us to maintain conversations face to face. Interaction is becoming […]