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Unit 1 Developing managerial effectiveness

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MS 2013

Unit overview Managerial effectiveness The leader/manager framework Your management development journey Action learning cycle Impediments to change The challenge of implementation Monitoring and evaluating your progress Preparing for each class 1–1 1–3 1–3 1–8 1–8 1–15 1–29 1–34 1–35

Conclusion 1–36 References 1–37

they are invariably more skilled at some aspects of their role than others. this course will expose you to contemporary management thinking with an emphasis on developing the skills needed to drive results. as well as factors that can stifle your development • devising well-formed plans for skills development • implementing managerial improvement plans • monitoring and evaluating your progress in making these changes. – Henry Mintzberg (1975. Success in managing others requires you to have an understanding of sometimes subtle dynamics of human behaviour that lead to commitment. we will encourage you to move through this cycle and to apply course concepts to each of these developmental tasks. Another model in this course is the action learning cycle. This course will take you on a journey of management development. As you read through the remaining units in this course. Although what managers are required to do depends upon their context and evolves over time.Unit overview No job is more vital to our society than that of the manager. and ultimately. 61) Effective management is crucial to the well-being of our personal and organisational lives. We begin this unit by briefly reviewing the concept of managerial effectiveness. Management development is the continual process of discovering opportunities for improvement and implementing prudent plans to become more effective in your managerial role. This model identifies the key managerial skills development tasks as: • gathering and accessing information about your practice. motivation. results. performance and skills as a manager • diagnosing your development issues. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–1 . It is the manager who determines whether our social institutions serve us well. p. An overarching framework in this course is Farey’s (1993) model of managerial skills. and behaviours that can help you to become an even more effective manager and leader in your organisation. or whether they squander our talents and resources. This model can help build your competence in many areas of this framework and is used in the 360 degree feedback process that we are using in the course. skills. organisational psychology and organisational behaviour. This course covers a range of concepts. performance. By deriving evidence-based principles and frameworks from the fields of leadership.

These realities provide the context for the development of your managerial skills. The starting place for a journey of change is your current location. Your learning objectives for this week When you have completed this unit you should be able to: • grasp the nature of the managerial role and of the managerial capabilities required to play this role effectively • explain Farey’s Leader/Manager model • use the action learning cycle to develop your managerial skills • analyse your incentive structure with regard to a potential change • diagnose your undermining behaviours. the unit includes a discussion of what you need to do as a manager to develop the necessary skills to help your organisation function effectively. competing commitments. 1–2 Managerial Skills .In summary. We will prompt you to diagnose your managerial challenges. as well as to monitor and refine them. as well as the powerful competing commitments and other pressures and demands that can constrain your progress. and associated “big assumptions” • apply a range of tools to successfully implement your skill development plans. your capacity to change.

The outcome of this review was the Leader/Manager Framework. all have a significant impact on its productivity. and survival. This section is concerned with what skills and capabilities managers need to build distinctive organisational capabilities that will secure a differentiation advantage. knowledge. commitment and knowledge. This is because managers play a key role in shaping the unique blend of competencies. To answer the “what” question. systems.Managerial effectiveness There are two ways of being creative. and resources on which an organisation can draw. – Warren Bennis The role of a manager is not so much to do things as to get them done. Managerial skills are a central force in the development of intangible distinctive capabilities that allow a firm to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. In a competitive environment. The quality of an organisation’s employees. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish. Managers need to create a context in which employees are eager to do their best work in the service of the organisation’s objectives. Peter Farey (1993) examined more than one thousand effective management practices that have been empirically validated in the literature. people make the difference. These factors are hard to imitate by competitors. customer service. organisation specific. This framework addresses a wide range of management practices and is the basis for the 360 degree feedback process that will help guide your managerial development. reputation. One can sing and dance. The leader/manager framework The Leader/Manager framework includes two dimensions: • task versus people • leadership versus management. The components of the model will be discussed in more detail below. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–3 . their enthusiasm. especially when skills are highly specialised. and scarce.

this approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership. put structures in place. With a task-orientated boss. plan. Outline the first five things you would likely do. As a result. They actively define the work and the roles required. 2. Exercise 1: Your preference 1. If your project starts to fall behind schedule. with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff. others may perceive that they spare little thought for the well-being of their teams.Task-orientation vs people-orientation Highly task-oriented managers and leaders focus on just getting the job done. what would you tend to do? 1–4 Managerial Skills . organise. the work gets done. however. and monitor activities. Imagine you have just been assigned the leadership of a special project team.

challenges. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–5 . Leadership is about looking beyond assumptions and paradigms. in terms of preference for tasks and relationships. and capabilities. Your approach to such predicaments can reveal a great deal about your managerial and leadership style. some managers instinctively crack the whip. and motivating and rewarding people for doing their work. organising. direction and control of the activities required. developing the strategies to achieve them. Management is doing things right. Management is about planning. opportunities.Task-oriented managers tend to dive right into establishing technical requirements. developing a time line. and aspirations. taking risks. the design. think more about who would prefer to do what and try to shape the task and schedule activities around their strengths. striking out in new directions. chasing everyone to get them back on track. The Leader/Manager Framework combines the two basic concepts of Task vs. Understanding your natural leadership tendencies is also helpful in developing skills in areas that are not currently your strengths. The combination of the two dimensions is illustrated in the figure below. Leadership is doing the right things. agreeing to goals. interests. let alone the extra tasks that have been assigned for the special project. dynamically striking the right balance according to your current managerial context. and influencing the thoughts and actions of others by changing what they believe to be desirable. Competitive advantage comes from being able to move between tasks and relationships. and assigning tasks to others or carrying tasks out themselves. When progress falls behind schedule. to a greater or lesser extent. on the other hand. organisation. recognising that everyone is busy just doing his/her job. which you may recall from Managing People and Organisations. Neither type of leadership style is best for all situations. possible or necessary. marshalling required resources. Leadership versus management The second dimension of the framework is management versus leadership. Management to describe the behaviours required. they may ease off a bit. Relationship-oriented managers. by every leader or manager. People and Leadership vs. When progress falls behind schedule.

A resulting map of how your managerial behaviour is perceived by others will be generated. You may correctly believe that you are pretty good at particular aspects of leadership. there are 20 areas of behaviour.1 Four Components of the Leader/Manager Model Leadership Task Relations Management Across the four components of the Leader/Manager model. What is potentially different about this 360 degree feedback tool from others you may have used is that it involves asking your colleagues about how they would like to see your behaviours change.Figure 1. each of which falls within one quadrant of the model (see Figure 1. but your feedback will indicate the extent to which you might do more or less in order to be even more effective. Figure 1. The Farey 360 degree feedback instrument will collect data on each of these behaviours.2 Leader/Manager model with sub-divisions Future orientation Innovation Outward looking Dealing with blockages Decisive action LEADERSHIP Leading by example Networking for the team Pride & enthusiasm Communication ‘People’ values TASK Roles & objectives Rationality Quality & productivity Resources & infrastructure Performance improvement PEOPLE Interest & concern Teamwork Delegation & trust Listening & learning Recognition & reward 1–6 MANAGEMENT Managerial Skills .1).

and on networking in Unit 7. we will point out how additional behavioural elements of the model are addressed within the course materials. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–7 . This Farey Leader/Manager model makes no assertion about what management or leadership style is generally “best”. on feedback and delegation in Unit 5. In the coming units. These are just some of the many ways this course can help build your managerial capabilities. the grid highlights how placing too much emphasis in one area at the expense of the other leads to problems. For example. By plotting “concern for task” against “concern for people”. your 360 degree feedback can provide you with invaluable insight regarding areas of behaviour you might fine-tune in order to develop your managerial effectiveness. Rather. we focus on communication skills (including listening) in Unit 3.The Leader/Manager framework helps you think about your leadership style. This course specifically addresses many of the clusters of behaviours in this model.

Ideas about potential areas for development typically stem from reflecting on your management practice using information about your effectiveness that is proactively obtained from a variety of sources. and the competing commitments model. grow. the incentive structure model. Besides the obvious direct benefits of making relevant personal changes. before making changes in the most relevant areas. – Warren Bennis Management development is fundamentally personal development. fitting in instead of standing out. they are often inspired by your example. inter-personal and self-management skills. This is because actions speak louder than words. – Albert Einstein People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures. with such a broad array of threats and opportunities to meet. organisational. specifically. only managers who question the fundamentals of their businesses and themselves are likely to thrive. Unit 2 continues where this discussion leaves off in providing further useful tools to facilitate your journey of management development. Although every step on your personal change journey will not necessarily be comfortable or pleasant. We discuss three such tools here and in the following section on impediments to change. and then using this information to make further refinements and adjustments to your managerial practice. Insights obtained and reflected upon in light of relevant course concepts can illuminate what you are doing well (your strengths). 1–8 Managerial Skills . and learn to be more effective. the action learning cycle. there is also a substantial indirect benefit: as your staff see you struggling to stay connected with reality. secondhand ideas. as well as some opportunities to improve your effectiveness. Within an environment of rapid and constant change. observing their consequences.Your management development journey No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. Action learning cycle Action learning involves experimenting with new behaviours and approaches. the potential professional and personal rewards are substantial! Fortunately. Successful managers discover the areas where they need to develop their technical. there are numerous tools to help you on your way. We must learn to see the world anew.

cost/benefit and potential obstacles. opportunities and challenges. Questioning assumptions about each of these. Action learning is thus action research. before assessing their suitability.3 and further discussed below. priorities. weaknesses. Figure 1. values. adequate time and focus need to be devoted to effectively completing each of the four stages of the process illustrated in Figure 1. These ideas can be shaped into hypotheses and then specific improvement plans to test the validity of your hypotheses. This is so important to developing your managerial skills that it is the focus of your Action Learning Integrative Project (ALIP) final assignment. Being receptive to unexpected results is key.Course concepts can also provide frameworks for reflecting on what has occurred and for conceptualising fresh ideas about how to improve your effectiveness. Conceptualisation: Using relevant models and concepts to develop new goals and approaches. involving learning from the results of trying different approaches. The essence of action learning is that for real personal change to occur. Results of implementation SMART+ development plans Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–9 .3 Action Learning Cycle Reflection: Analysing results relative to expectations. Insights into what has occurred Awareness of opportunities for better results Immersion: Ascertaining the actual results of implementation via mindful observation. strengths. Implementation: Building motivation and self-efficacy before implementing plans to enhance effectiveness. self-assessment and seeking extensive unbiased feedback. Trying out your possible ways of improving your managerial practice by implementing your improvement plans yields data about the effectiveness of your new approach(es). capitalize on opportunities and solve problems.

strengths. you 1–10 Managerial Skills . for instance. objectives. For instance. values. how you are perceived. Remember that the best options are most likely to come from first engaging in divergent thinking to generate a large number of alternatives. For example. weaknesses. or are you often and widely seen as not really listening? How might your relationships and productivity be potentially enhanced by enacting a concrete plan to improve one of your listening skills? Without devoting time to thoughtful reflection. opportunities and challenges • diagnosing the reasons for suboptimal results and identifying improvement issues • critiquing your fundamental assumptions about. as well as how you might most efficiently and effectively make progress towards attaining your objectives. yourself. Conceptualisation Conceptualisation involves generating hypothesises about potentially more effective ways of dealing with managerial challenges. Significant advances generally come from systematically searching for better alternatives. Key concepts presented throughout this course can be a rich source of ideas about areas in which behavioural changes might be fruitfully made. Reflecting on their reaction to terms of the Unit 3 concept of “Blocks to listening” may trigger fruitful reflection on precisely what you might have done to create the impression that you were not fully listening. Thinking through the likely implications of possible actions is a key aspect of convergent thinking. before developing concrete goals and action plans to achieve results in line with your priorities. your objectives. strengths and weaknesses. reflecting on why someone reacted strongly to you supposedly not listening to them may give you a greater appreciation of how insensitive you had been. as well as strategies for enacting them. Was this a relatively isolated event.Some key features of each stage of the action learning cycle are as follows: Reflection Reflection involves: • assessing your management practice and effectiveness in light of your own observations and of feedback received from others • analysing yourself and the situations you experience from different perspectives – often through the application of course concepts – in order to deepen your understanding of your priorities. followed by convergent thinking to evaluate alternatives and settle on what seems like the most promising course of action. little learning or real change in managerial effectiveness is likely to occur.

Table 1. specifically. escape.e. values and priorities. Clear quantitative and/or qualitative indicators of whether the goal has been achieved. • Positively framed in terms of an appealing outcome you hope to realise. clear statement of exactly what you want to achieve.1 and the paragraph following this table. constraints and other priorities. Action steps should be aligned to the goal. or minimise. Learning from such actions is the hallmark of the action learning process. as outlined in Table 1. Conducted in a spirit of experimentation.might think about the possible barriers to applying a particular concept in this course.. A Achievable Ensure that the steps to goal attainment are feasible. which provide a compelling rationale for the goal. State by when steps to attain the goal will be taken. Motivation is broadly Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–11 . R Relevant T Time-bound The SMART element of SMART+ goals was introduced by Doran (1981). Ensure the goal is attainable. implementation enables you to test the hypotheses generated during the reflection and conceptualisation phases. given available resources. Goals are most likely to get the juices flowing and bring out your best performance when they are highly challenging. Plans Specific actions you will take to achieve your goal. as well as how you could overcome them. The plus in the SMART+ formula allows for the addition of two other elements that contribute to the effectiveness of a goal. rather than an undesirable behaviour or state of affairs you hope to avoid. Plans are most likely to be realised when they are formulated into goals and action steps that are “SMART+”. confidence to achieve your objectives). Implementation Implementation entails acting on your decisions to achieve your goals. Implementation requires adequate motivation and belief in your selfefficacy (i. that goals be also: • Challenging. Clear action steps to achieve the goal. The goal includes a statement of precisely when you intend to achieve it. The goal is aligned with your goals.1 Defining characteristics of SMART goals and plans Goal S Specific M Measurable A precise.

e. A small wins strategy. Your self-efficacy primarily reflects your mastery experiences (the extent to you have succeeded or failed). Immersion provides you with the results of testing your hypotheses about how you might act more effectively. being encouraged by yourself and other people whom you respect. An example of tweaking your environment to help implement a plan to never look at your mobile device while driving would be to always put the device in the boot before you start driving! (Notice that some of the ingredients for your motivation to implement your plan are designed during the conceptualisation phase). is helpful for building your self-efficacy by enabling mastery experiences. It is also built by role modelling (i..(though not entirely) linked to the anticipated positive and negative consequences of changing and not changing (see incentive structure model below). Immersion Immersion involves: • mindfully experiencing what happens when you implement your plans • gathering factual information about what worked well..e. through self-assessment and by seeking extensive unbiased feedback. as well as tweaking one’s environment to ensure that it supports and does not undermine the implementation of your plan. Motivation can be enhanced by a sense of building on strengths. clarity about the steps to attain it. This information can be obtained by observing the outcomes of your actions and interventions. seeing other people perform effectively and imagining yourself doing so) and verbal persuasion (i. Defensiveness and restrictive mindsets are major impediments to learning and change that are discussed in more detail in Unit 2 on SelfManagement. and about discrepancies between what you wanted to happen and what actually happened when you pursued your goals. achieving and sustaining momentum. excitement about the goal. as is the step ladder model discussed in Unit 4. Bandura 1997. based on the progress principle (Amabile & Kramer 2011) outlined in Unit 6 on Employee Engagement. A range of additional models and strategies for fostering the implementation of your managerial skill development plans are provided later in this Unit. Heslin & Klehe 2006). 1–12 Managerial Skills . However. self-defeating tendencies such as defensiveness often prevent people from gathering and being receptive the feedback they require to adjust their approach to become more effective in the future.

Exercise 2: Applying the Action Learning Cycle 1. the other person and/or yourself that did not serve you well in this context? Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–13 .  What factors contributed to the interaction not going well – from your perspective. Think of a recent interaction you had that did not go well. and from the other person’s perspective. Reflection: a. How might you have contributed to the interaction not going well? b. Immersion: What exactly gave you the impression that the interaction did not go well? 3. What are the initials of the person with whom you were interacting? 2. W  hat assumptions might you have held about the situation.

4. Immersion: What exactly will indicate the extent to which your new approach is or is not yielding the intended results? 1–14 Managerial Skills . Implementation: How will you build your motivation and self-efficacy to test your hypothesis about your potentially more effective approach? 6. Conceptualisation: How might you act more effectively in another similar situation? What exactly could you think and/or do differently? 5.

Why is it. An incentive structure analysis can help identify the sources of resistance. perhaps by spending more time listening to her employees and responding to their concerns. as well as the rewards we derive from staying the same. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–15 . that people often act contrary their best laid intentions. and also by Kegan and Lahey’s (2001) competing commitments model. Incentive structure model Even if we can see clear benefits in making a change in our practice as a manager. The incentive structure analysis in Table 1. Cassidy. doubt or hesitation. who decided that she intends to become a better listener. by illuminating the pluses of staying the same and the minuses of making the change.2 outlines a range of reasons why she might be ambivalent about implementing that plan. and even SMART+ goals? In other words. however. When trying to understand why we often struggle to make much real progress on our professional or personal change initiatives. Consider the example of a manager.Impediments to change Action learning is an intentional process that has great potential to help managers become ever more effective. plans. we consider some insights into this fundamental paradox of human behaviour that are provided by Latham’s (2003) incentive structure model. it can be fruitful to consider the disincentives we have for making the intended change. we can still be ambivalent about making the change. why is it that we act like we have one foot planted on the accelerator and the other on the brake? Ponder Why do most people quit their diets and then end up 107% of their pre-diet weight? For how long do you think New Year’s Resolutions are typically implemented? In this section.

• The effort and time it takes to listen.2 Incentive structure model Negative Incentives Proposed change: 1.Table 1. However. relative to the alternative of potential growth in her communication skills. • Staff resentment. • Staying within my comfort zone. • Fewer hassles Where do you think people tend to focus most of their attention when contemplating making a change? It is typically in cells 2–3. Will spending more time listening necessarily need to trigger more confrontation and conflict? How might the hassles avoided by maintaining the status quo of minimal listening to employees be counter-balanced by the other hassles created by this modus operandi? Cassidy might question her assumptions about whether staying in her comfort zone is truly her priority. The concerns in cells 1 and 4 are the sources of Cassidy’s ambivalence. it might help Cassidy to formulate a plan to deal more productively with confrontation and conflict. For example. • Confrontation and conflict. • Sense of integrity about using fair process. Positive Incentives 2. • More sustained change. 1–16 Managerial Skills . an incentive structure analysis can also trigger conceptualisation of ways to address some potential drawbacks of the proposed change. • Deeper commitment by staff. • Enriched relationships with staff. • More time to “get on with the job”. she might question whether listening to staff concerns will actually take more time in the longer run when the deeper level of staff commitment and the more sustained change are factored in. doing that routinely jeopardises the chance of a change being effectively implemented. 4. Besides providing material to ponder during the reflection stage of the action learning cycle. • Not having good listening skills. Bringing these concerns into the foreground will allow Cassidy to critique them. Listening to staff Risks and costs of: • Getting bogged down. This is part of prudent risk management around the possible downsides and risks of the personal change. For example. Maintain the status quo 3 • Staff dragging their feet about change. • Loss of potentially valuable input from staff.

Exercise 3: Reviewing your incentive structure 1.2. the risks and costs of change cannot be eliminated altogether. identify an area for improvement that you think could increase your effectiveness as a manager but regarding which you still feel some resistance.Clearly. Review the skills in the Leader/Manager model in Figure 1. Positive Incentives The status quo 3. 4. you may decide that the costs outweigh by the benefits of making the change. After reviewing your incentive structure. your options include striving to alter your incentive structure or abandoning the change and contemplating an alternative change with higher net benefits. 2. In that case. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–17 . The following exercise enables you to practice conducting an incentive structure analysis. From this model. Analyse your incentive structure for this change by recording the change you plan to focus on and then identifying at least three issues in each of the cells below. Negative Incentives The Change? 1.

fifteen minutes after proclaiming that she seriously plans to study for the next four hours in order to earn a distinction. to get things done efficiently). Another reason why even the best laid plans often do not get realised is that people tend to sabotage their goal striving.g. we need to: 1–18 Managerial Skills . A key insight of Kegan and Lahey’s model is that when we pursue a developmental goal (e. The competing commitments model. The competing commitment to safeguard this latter value drives the sabotaging behaviours that undermine our pursuit of the developmental goal.2.g. For example. How could the potential risks and costs of making the change be reduced? 3. to listen more fully) this can often appear to compromise another valued goal (e. Vanessa accepted an unexpected offer to go out drinking with her friends! Competing commitments are subconscious or hidden goals that conflict with the goal you are consciously trying to achieve. so as to foster the targeted change? Competing commitments We have just seen how intended change can be impeded by the array of cons of changing and pros of not changing.. provides a powerful explanation for the paradox of people routinely undermining their progress towards attaining their goals.. In order to transcend the subversive role of the competing commitment. How might the positive incentives for maintaining the status quo be reduced. developed by Harvard educational psychologists Bob Kegan and Lisa Lahey.

Competing commitments should not be seen as a sign of weakness or pathology. to being in control. and to ensuring that the work is done to my high standards Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–19 . and honoured for generally serving us well. summarises the results of three individuals following Kegan and Lahey’s protocol for analysing their competing commitments.3 Three competing commitments analyses Stated commitment Sam …hearing from my subordinates and maximising the flow of information into my office …high quality communication with my colleagues Undermining behaviours I often don’t ask probing questions and tend to shoot the messenger when I hear bad news Sometimes I use caustic. Rather.3. then I will be seen as unqualified to do my job I assume that if I did get too integrated into the mainstream. I don’t always pass on all the necessary information to the people I distribute leadership to I am committed to having things go my way. before appropriately assessing any underlying Big Assumptions. as extracted from Kegan and Lahey (2001). can pave the way for a major behavioural change breakthrough.• Identify and understand the specific competing commitment at play • Identify and examine the underlying ‘Big Assumptions’ behind the competing commitment. Table 1. understood. like they are shovelling sand against the tide. identifying and analysing your competing commitments. Competing commitments can cause people – even star performers – to make little or no progress towards achieving even their most highly valued goals. • Need to be identified. sarcastic humour Competing commitments I am committed to not learning about things I can’t do anything about Big Assumptions I assume that if I did hear about problems I can’t fix. then I will lose my authentic connection to my racial group I assume that if I did relinquish control and things went wrong. then I will seem like a hopeless leader Robin I am committed to maintaining a distance from my white colleagues Jon …distributed leadership by enabling people to make decisions I don’t delegate enough. Table 1.

g. .. To truly benefit from this activity it’s imperative to invest time in reflecting on each exercise rather than just rushing through them.. However. … and/or my freedom”). or ruined)... . You are then asked to reflect on what commitment drives each of these undermining behaviours (e. perhaps 4 or 5 on a 1–5 scale. which has three parts. 1–20 Managerial Skills . . These are frequently commitments to some form of self-protection or identity maintenance. To complete them properly. my reputation for being on time. … my sense of control. feeling lost. to “not losing control of my schedule.. Exercise 4 (Part 1) prompts you to identify a specific behaviour you wish enact more effectively and/or consistently. Systematically identifying and analysing your competing commitments can illuminate why your undermining behaviours are holding you back..e. .. … my security. ashamed. my competence. that the anticipated consequences of walking away from them can seem almost unbearable (i.. Competing commitments feel so powerful and compelling. these exercises involve deeply reflecting on a series of questions and the implications of your answers (Kegan & Lahey 2009). as well as your other behaviours that undermine the achievement of your targeted goal. the process is neither quick nor easy... Kegan and Lahey (2009) stress the imperative to frame your competing commitments in terms of what you do not want to lose or compromise. my sleep. will provide you with an opportunity to explore and address your competing commitments to making a particular behavioural change.Identifying and analysing your competing commitments Exercise 4. my spontaneity.

being organised etc)? What do you imagine each of these five people might say? Record your response next to each person’s initials. (b)  Considering the items in the above list.g. They have convened to answer the following question: What would be the one most valuable thing for you (not them) to get better at (e. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–21 . sleeping. focusing. Initials Person 1 Each person’s idea about the one most valuable thing for you to improve Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 1.. (a)  Target behaviour. Exercise 4 (Part 1): Competing commitments analysis 1. delegating. Vividly imagine a meeting of 5 people who really know and care about you. Write each of their initials below. listening. what do YOU think would be the most valuable thing for you to get better at? High quality improvement goals tend to: • Be true for you (you agree with them) • Implicate you (you’re at the center of the change) • Be important for you (you truly care about them).

I finish people’s sentences). Identify all the things you do (or avoid doing) that work against your goal and prevent you from acting to achieve your targeted change (e.. Undermining behaviours.g. the more you’ll have to work with to produce a powerful. what is the behavioural change you wish to target for the rest of this 3–part competing commitments exercise? 2. I strive to end conversations quickly. I interrupt people. Focus for now just on what you do that undermines your target behaviour. useful competing commitments analysis.  With these considerations in mind and in light of the five possibilities you recorded above. not why you do it or what you should do about it (these issues are addressed in the following steps). 1–22 Managerial Skills . The more raw undermining behaviours you note here.

. . my sleep.. try to identify the range of competing commitments that you suspect are motivating and sustaining each of your undermining behaviours.. Thus.. my spontaneity. … my security. my competence.3. … my sense of control. . “not losing control of my schedule. … and/or my freedom”) that drives each of the undermining behaviours you have just identified? * Note: U  ndermining behaviours are often driven by more than one competing commitment. What are you committed to (e....g.. . my reputation for being on time. Competing commitments... I am committed to not losing my: Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–23 ..

no longer be successful”. As with Exercise 4 (Part 1). if ever. I might “. Examples of such consequences are that. Such competing commitments are inverted in the following big assumption formula: I assume that if I did… (insert here an inverted competing commitment)…... “. This is because they may be contributing to and sustaining your undermining behaviours. not be happy”. it’s critically important to not modify or rush the remaining steps of the protocol for conducting a competing commitments analysis.3 who was “committed to not learning about things I can’t fix”. examine them. The second part of Exercise 4 provides you with an opportunity to identify the Big Assumptions that underpin the competing commitments you have just identified. The big assumptions formula Big Assumptions are identified by inverting competing commitments and then filling in the blanks in the following formula.. Even when the assumptions you generate seem ridiculous or distressing. still write them down and resist crossing them out. “.“.. Take the case of Sam in Table 1.. “. It’s clear from these examples that the assumed consequences of violating your competing commitments could seem personally devastating. then I will be seen as unqualified to do my job. “…be a loser”. seem like a fool”. 1–24 Managerial Skills . People often form Big Assumptions early in life and then seldom. then I will really disappoint myself and others.feel that I’ve lost my identity”.. I assume that if I did tarnish my reputation for being punctual. or “. be less respected”. “. are as follows: I assume that if I did lose control of my schedule.. “… lose my self-respect”. produced by individuals who were respectively concerned with not losing control of her schedule and not tarnishing his reputation... then I will feel ashamed of myself. go nowhere in life” etc... feel irrelevant”.. “I assume that if I did hear about problems I can’t fix..” Two other examples of using this formula.Identifying your Big Assumptions Big Assumptions are about what you presume would happen if you violated your competing commitments. then I will … (insert here a negative consequence you assume will result from violating your competing commitment)..

protecting us and our careers. you would lose control of your schedule and ability to get everything done on time. However. etc. then I will … (insert here a negative consequence you assume will result from violating your competing commitment). This could pave the way for a Big Assumption that if you did invest time to really listening to people. or perhaps only true to a certain extent or in certain contexts. enabling us to be productive and respected. competing commitments in place? What do you assume would happen if you violated your competing commitments? Write out your big assumptions using the Big Assumptions formula i. First we need to take time to gently observe and truly respect our competing commitments for. For example.e. Kegan and Lahey (2009) stress that we should resist the common temptation to dive in and immediately reject and rebut the Big Assumptions that could be holding us back. Exercise 4 (Part 2): Identifying the Big Assumption 4. giving us our professional and personal identity. Testing – and possibly replacing – the Big Assumption Once revealed. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–25 .. What big assumption(s) might be holding your hidden.. in a sense.. a commitment to efficiency and timeliness – that could compete with your desire to invest more time in listening to people – may have enabled your career progress to date. Big Assumptions can seem obviously invalid. I assume that if I did …… (insert here a competing commitment)……. Big assumptions.

the first steps in critically examining your Big Assumptions are to: • Notice and record our current behaviours in relation to our Big Assumption • Look for evidence that contravenes our Big Assumption • Explore where our Big Assumption may have come from. Often they are not as true. After running several such tests. a SMART first experiment is: •  Safe (i. Notice and record your current behaviour that potentially stems from your Big Assumption. or always true.After truly appreciating the useful role played by your Big Assumption. or friends. Only then might we be ready to design and conduct some viable “SMART first experiments” to test the extent to which our Big Assumptions are actually (still) valid. • Actionable (something you can actually do). • Modest (nothing dramatic or heroic). not testing an assumption that might risk getting you fired or ending your marriage). In this context. 1–26 Managerial Skills . •  Researchable (likely to elicit data about whether the Big Assumption is valid). as we believed.e. • Testing the Big Assumption.. siblings. Understanding the origins of our Big Assumption can free us to consider whether these beliefs still apply and are helpful. People often trace their Big Assumptions to early experiences with parents. you may feel ready to re-evaluate your Big Assumption itself — and possibly even replace it with a new worldview that more accurately reflects your abilities and/or the way the world works.  Exercise 4 (Part 3): Testing the Big Assumption 5.

even if a Big Assumption does contain an element of truth. First experiments can thereby yield powerful. without having them continue to undermine our desired behavioural change. observations. What experiences.6. and evidence cast doubt on the validity of your Big Assumption? 7. What SMART first experiment will you conduct to test one of your big assumptions? Revealing a Big Assumption doesn’t necessarily mean it will be exposed as false. liberating insights into how we might be able to keep (a perhaps modified version of) at least some parts of our competing commitments. However. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–27 . What experiences led your Big Assumption? What are the implications of the origins of your Big Assumption for its current validity and helpfulness? 8. we can often find more effective ways to operate once we have systematically challenged the assumption and its hold on our behaviour.

1–28 Managerial Skills . Although sustained behavioural change typically unfolds over a period of weeks or months. a thoughtfully completed competing commitments analysis provides a robust starting point for attaining your developmental aspirations. the competing commitments protocol is a powerful tool for surfacing and working through the kinds of conflicts that can prevent you from attaining your development goals.Given the inevitable trade-offs encountered when working to improve your managerial effectiveness.

12 of this Unit and also Unit 2)? If you feel low on empathy. Establish benchmarks. not listening effectively (see Unit 3). or not effectively engaging your employees (see Unit 6)? 3. Identify behavioural cues. If personal and/or external resources are not sufficient to support the change. working with a mentor or coach. If some of these situations will occur in the natural course of events. 4. how will you build it (see p. journal articles. your skill development plans will need to specify steps to build these resources. Implementation intentions specify the precise when. Selfmanagement practices of acknowledgement and rewards for progress will also help. To underpin the self-management practices of positive reinforcement of early progress. The implementation plan needs to clearly identify the situations in which the new behaviour or approach is going to be practised. colleagues. then I will perform response Y”) that can greatly foster the chance of goal attainment (Gollwitzer & Sheeran 2006). Implementations intentions involve “pre-deciding” what we’ll do at a certain future point in time.The challenge of implementation Beyond analysing and managing your incentive structure and competing commitments. blogs. how might you increase it (see Unit 3)? Beyond your Managerial Skills reading materials. They are expressed the form of an if-then-plan (“If situation X arises. Garner resources. the plan will need to identify the cues that will enable you to recognise the situations and realise when you are at the point of choice. “If I have just arrived home. For instance. classes. instructor and assessment tasks. 5. For example. where and how of a goal-directed behaviour (Gollwitzer 1999). Nine such steps are to: 1. Enable and reward early progress. 2. other resources for developing useful skills could include books. then I will chat with my husband and kids for at least 20 minutes before I watch any television” … or “If I sense myself becoming impatient. particularly if there are no early gains from the change. if you lack selfefficacy in a particular area. it is essential that the plan specify clear benchmarks of progress and an effective process for monitoring progress against these benchmarks. or keeping a journal. Implementation plans ultimately enable relatively quick wins to flow naturally from the change. Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–29 . what cues might indicate that you are getting too stressed (see Unit 2). For instance. there are a range of other concrete steps that you can take to increase the chance of your management development plans being successfully implemented. training courses. Difficulties in sustaining motivation can arise because of a lack of rewards. Develop implementation intentions. etc.

27pm.. By making implementation decisions ahead of time. External obstacles include the resistance or negative reactions of others. They may foster also dealing effectively with your points of choice. Forming helpful relationships with others who support the change can make a significant contribution to sustaining motivation. 9. The topic of selfmanagement and points of choice are taken up more fully in Unit 2. Insights for anticipating and managing such issues are also discussed in Unit 2. as you attempt to improve your managerial skills. Build relational supports. 7. Intra-personal obstacles include self-sabotaging thoughts (e.. then I will have left the office for the gym within the next three minutes”. implementation intentions help people work towards their goal. through acknowledging and responding positively to progress and providing support when there are setbacks. and deliver a sufficiently persuasive and inspiring message to yourself. Plan to manage yourself at your point of choice. as discussed next. or may feel threatened by them in some way. … or “If it is 6. Self-development can be difficult to sustain in isolation. Commitment to change may not translate into action if you do not use an effective process of self-motivation at the point of choice (i. An important part of implementation planning and the action learning cycle is to consider how you can gain the support and understanding of key people in your professional and personal life. self-doubt) and feelings (e. These relationships involve patterns of social reinforcement. 1–30 Managerial Skills . Your implementation plan may need to identify ways in which you can remind yourself of the compelling reasons for change at the point of choice. People in your personal or professional lives may disagree with changes you are making. An ongoing coaching or mentoring relationship is another. 8. anxiety) that might undermine the implementation of the change.g.then I will breathe deeply and count to ten before responding”. and reporting back to them about your progress is one approach. when you are tempted to divert from your plan). Identify and deal with internal obstacles.. Telling a supportive colleague about your commitment to change. 6. substantially boost goal achievement.g.e. Identify and deal with external obstacles. and also help make the process feel automatic over time (Gollwitzer & Sheeran 2006).

Which of the nine steps in implementation planning did you pay inadequate attention to? 2.In conclusion. How could you strengthen your implementation planning for developing your managerial skills? Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–31 . The following exercise gives you an opportunity to review your approach to implementation planning. Yet it is not uncommon. Exercise 5: Implementation planning Consider an occasion when your attempt to change a behaviour or develop a managerial skill may have been undermined by deficiencies in your implementation planning. the absence of a robust implementation plan can result in your managerial skill development plans staying in the realm of good resolutions. for this important process of implementation planning to be neglected. 1. in both personal and organisational change processes.

2). Doing this is less daunting and often. doing so may not seem particularly urgent. This resistance may then be expressed in avoidance strategies such as procrastination – an avoidance strategy in which we maintain our commitment to change but defer the change to the future. after your planned 30 minutes of work. usually with an excuse or rationalisation as to why it is better to do it later. A second approach is to apply the time management principles discussed in Unit 2. or at least until substantial progress is made. To increase your professional and managerial effectiveness. as well as benefits of not changing. Managing avoidance: As highlighted by the incentive structure model (Figure 1. Urgent day-to-day tasks can readily crowd out the time available for non-urgent though important development initiatives (Covey 2004). These factors culminate in resistance to change. 1–32 Managerial Skills . One antidote to avoidance strategies is to know them well and to recognise and confront them at the first signs of temptation to use them. A third option is to seriously commit to work on your avoided task for only 30 minutes. it is vital to exercise the self-management required to give appropriate priority to the important though non-urgent items on your agenda.Neglecting the important though non-urgent: Even though substantial professional benefits can stem from developing managerial and leadership skills. there are costs and risks of changing. Details on how to do this will be addressed in the next Unit. your momentum makes you feel intrinsically motivated to keep working until the task is done.

How could you side-step your avoidance strategy? Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–33 . Consider times when you decided to make a change in your behaviour or practice. How could you recognise the avoidance strategy early enough to confront it? 3. What was the avoidance strategy? 2. Exercise 6: Avoidance strategies 1. and then used an avoidance strategy to side-step making the change.

Our processes of feedback may undermine our progress: Some managers are skilled in giving constructive feedback to others but. and even punishing themselves. our practice of self-observation and assessment can be self sabotaging. benchmarks and performance indicators. Ideally you will be mindful of what is occurring for each of the parties involved as your interaction unfolds. someone who has learnt the merits of active listening and responding with paraphrases may adopt this style of listening in all circumstances. The most obvious is to have no well-defined process for assessing how well we are going in making improvements. and not expect too much change in too short a time. 1–34 Managerial Skills . For example. For example. “in the privacy of their own minds” give feedback to themselves in a much less constructive way. and the situations in which it is not so appropriate. Alternatively. These practices of feedback to oneself tend to systematically undermine your motivation and your perceived selfefficacy. personalising the criticism. There are various other ways in which we can sabotage the effectiveness of our monitoring and evaluation. Your change goals need to be carefully matched to your capacity and other resources to enable you to change. Care is needed to not set yourself too many change goals. This can arise from a lack of clear goals. People making changes are sometimes nonetheless overenthusiastic about the change and overdo it. analysis and assessment.Monitoring and evaluating your progress Effective processes of monitoring and evaluation are critical in providing a basis for adjusting and modifying your strategy and plan for improved performance. blaming themselves. and find that it doesn’t always go down well. Effective monitoring and feedback will allow the person to learn more about when this style of listening is effective. they might have a habit of disparaging themselves. in one or both of the following two ways: Our goals and standards may be too high: For example. or from a lack of self-observation. focusing on “weaknesses”. you may find a number of areas where you see a need for change. when you consider the results of your 360 feedback.

Similarly. This will benefit your managerial development by moving course materials from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. managerial ideas can only become managerial skills when they are put into practice. After reading each unit. • Your major final assignment in Managerial Skills requires you to outline what you learned from applying relevant course concepts to address your managerial challenges. you are expected to use the action learning cycle to apply relevant course concepts. Following this process during the course will have two significant benefits. you may be called upon to share a brief account of your action learning during the few days before class. In class. Continually using these tools as you work through the units of the course will build up a bank of material on which you can draw when writing that final assignment. • First. and ultimately into your managerial practice. or swim better. before monitoring and evaluating the results. watching others and thinking about how they could swim. conceptualising how you might act more effectively. it moves you out of a passive role of reading through the materials into actively applying course concepts to develop your skills. and experimenting with implementing a relevant concept or two. This entails reflecting on an area in which you’d like better results. Engage fully and have fun with it! Unit 1: Developing managerial effectiveness 1–35 .Preparing for each class No one ever learned to swim by sitting by the edge of a pool.

as well as to monitor and refine them. Now that you have completed this unit you should be able to: • grasp the nature of the managerial role and of the managerial capabilities required to play this role effectively • explain Farey’s Leader/Manager model • use the action learning cycle to develop your managerial skills • analyse your incentive structure with regard to a potential change • diagnose your undermining behaviours. peers. which is a key component of the immersion stage of the action learning cycle. applying the action learning cycle can assist you to discover and trial potentially more effective managerial behaviours. competing commitments. weaknesses. So it is critical for managers to continually develop their capabilities for meeting these challenges through their use of the action learning cycle. your competing commitments. In short. is the next step in the action learning process. priorities. Using ideas from this course to conceptualise potentially more effective ways of thinking and acting. before developing and implementing relevant SMART+ development plans.Conclusion Managers play a critical role in ensuring that organisations function effectively within a continually changing competitive environment. Such reflection can yield insights into how you might most fruitfully develop your skills. opportunities. So too can systematically observing the results of your actions and interactions. we have outlined the four stages in the cycle and we have invited you to review and strengthen your practice of action learning. observation. Immersion in the actual results of your concept application begins the cycle anew. and challenges. strengths. relative to your expectations. and associated “Big Assumptions” • apply a range of tools to successfully implement your skill development plans. as well as the other tools for implementation planning can help ensure that your development plans become enacted. Receiving 360 degree feedback from your boss. Feedback. will facilitate the process of adding these new behaviours to your repertoire. Addressing your incentive structure for change. provide the ingredients for systematically reflecting on your managerial practice and its results. Putting yourself in a position to feel rewarded (and not punished) for your new behaviours. In this unit. and self-assessment. and employees can help you identify areas in which you might improve your management and leadership effectiveness. together with relevant course concepts. 1–36 Managerial Skills .

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