Interview with Senior Manager
Summary of Interview with John (Fire Station Chief)
The first interviewee was the Chief of a fire department. Concerning his day-to-day work, the Chief reported that most of his work revolves around financial management and allocation of the resources of the fire department and ensuring that the firefighters in the department receive proper training.
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The Chief reported that the most critical problem facing the department is safety. The firefighters’ job is very risky. The third question asked about the skills needed to succeed in the line of work. The manager’s response related to the skills needed to be a firefighter, and not a manager.
The fourth question dealt with the reasons why some people have failed in the line of work. The Chief said that those who fail in the line of work do not have the patience to learn and grown in the trade. In the fifth question, the Chief pointed out that the most important skill needed to be the manager of the fire department is the ability to solve problems. In the final question, the Chief said the qualities he would look for in someone meant to replace him are openness, availability, and a hands-on approach to work.
The four management functions of planning, controlling, organizing, strategizing in the Chief’s line of work are clear. The Chief is in charge of planning for the operations of the department. He ensures that there are resources for use in the operations of the fire department.
In the area of controlling, it is up to him to ensure that the financial resources given to the department are sufficient to run the department for a given period. The Chief said that the money given to the department mainly goes to the payroll, which accounts for ninety percent of the department’s expenses.
Organizing the department is also part of the Chief’s work. He is responsible for planning to ensure that all the activities of the fire department take place in an organized manner. Finally, the Chief is in charge of strategizing regarding the operations of the department. He determines the number of staff needed and he finds the best way to meet the shortfall based on his experience as a firefighter.
Similarities and Differences to Other Managers
The fire station Chief is responsible for higher level thinking for the entire department. The issues the Chief raises cut across the operations of the entire department. In this sense, his work is different from the work of the other managers. The main similarity between the Chief’s work and that of other managers is that they all work with people.
This means that it is the job of all managers interviewed to supervise, to motivate, and to organize resources and staff to achieve departmental goals. The unique role that a senior manager plays shows in the high scores the Chief gave to the functional aspects of management that he handles. His scores are the highest in all categories compared to the other two managers.
Interview with Middle Level Manager
Summary of Interview
The second interview was with Sarah, who is the Assistant Dean of Academic Services in the School of Business. Sarah reports to the Dean, but the school’s staff report to her. In this sense, she is a middle level manager. When asked about how her typical day looks like, Sarah pointed out that her work varies a lot to the extent that it is difficult to have a clear picture of what a typical day looks like.
She said what she does depend on the time of the year. During the registration period, spends a lot of time discussing majors, internships, and solving problems related to the registration of students. At other times, she does exam assessments and grading of papers. The most critical problem Sarah faces is dealing with issues requiring the intervention of a parent or a guardian.
In many cases, the person responsible for taking care of the student is never aware of what the student is going through. Sarah finds herself bridging this gap very often. Sara pointed out three skills needed to succeed in her line of work. First, one must be a good listener because different people come with different sorts of problems. Secondly, one must know how to delegate.
Other people can solve some problems more effectively, and it is impossible to handle all the needs that come your way. Thirdly, one must know how to take charge in situations. Sarah pointed out that those who fail in her position are poor listeners. She added that they are also rude and that they are oblivious of what is going on around them.
The job needs someone engaged with the issues. When asked about the skills needed to succeed in her job, Sarah said that the job requires a team player because of the need to refer people to other places. She also added that it is very important to be a good listener. The two skills Sarah would pass on to someone that should replace her are the ability to organize oneself, and the requirement to be kind to all people.
Sarah’s involvement in the four management functions of planning, controlling, organizing, and strategizing are as follows. Her need to plan revolves around her work. The workload on her desk requires someone who can effectively plan her time. She has fewer powers to control what happens in the school because the dean sets the standards for control.
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However, she plays an important role in implementing the controls and ensuring that everything goes according to the overall plan. Sarah does a lot of work that involves organizing issues. Arranging for internships and meeting student to discuss majors requires a person to have a high ability to organize operations. On the issue of strategizing, Sarah participates in meetings that develop strategy for the operations of the School of Business. Therefore, she is part of the team that develops strategies for the School of Business
Similarities and Differences to Other Managers
Sarah as a middle level manager reports to the Dean. She has people working under her, while she works under someone. She has a higher degree of independence in the execution of her work compared to Jesse, the low-level manager. However, she does not have much say about financial management priorities of the organization. Sarah scored moderately high on the specific aspects of management that her work demands. Her scores were lower than the Chief’s buy higher than Jesse’s scores.
Interview with Low-Level Manager
The person interviewed as a low-level manager is Jesse, who is the Director of Global Education. In the first question, Jesse said that most of the work she does revolve around talking to current and prospective international students who need clarifications of various kinds. She also attends many meetings related to her work. Jesse’s response to the second question, about her most critical challenge at work, was managing the budget.
She said that she must do a lot of work, but that the work must be within budget. The third question in the interview was about the critical skills needed to succeed in her line of work. The skills listed by Jesse were communication skills, motivational skills and mentorship skills. The need for good communication skills come from the nature of work in the office. She has to communicate with current and prospective international students on a regular basis.
She also has to communicate with her superiors and colleagues in meetings. As a low-level manager, Jesse has a high need to motivate her team and to mentor the team. She depends on her team to handle the workload effectively hence the need to keep the morale high. She also needs to ensure that they are becoming better at what they are doing in order to achieve the best results. Managers in Jesse’s position fail because of stress and burnout, the workload is very distributed.
Therefore, a manager can easily feel overwhelmed by the number of issues to handle. Jesse also pointed out that those who fail have poor delegation skills, or are not willing to delegate some of the work. When asked about the outstanding skill other managers in her position have, Jesse said that the ability to trust team members, ability to mentor them, and good project management skills count. The main things Jesse would stress to someone who she is training to replace her is to follow laid down departmental rules and procedures.
An evaluation of the Jesse’s involvement in the four management functions of planning, controlling, organizing, and strategizing reveal the following. First, she has a very important role to play in the planning of the operations of the department. She is in charge of the delivery of the mandate of the Global Education Department hence the need to plan well. Secondly, she exercises a lot of control in relation to the work of the subordinates in the department.
However, she does not have much say in budgetary allocations. Her role in organizing the operations of the department is also very important. As the department head, she must make sure that all members of staff are doing the right things to cover their work quota. Finally, she has an important responsibility in the development of strategy. Her role in the development of strategy is to figure out how to execute the mandate of the department based on the goals provided by senior administrators in the institution.
Similarities and Differences to Other Managers
Jesse work is similar to the other managers in the area of people management. However, she has a more task oriented job description as shown by the clarity of her day-to-day work. In addition, she says that the best way to handle the work she does is by following the rules and sticking to the departmental policy.
She works more as an executor of strategy rather than a developer of the strategy. Compared to the Fire Station Chief, she has few options related to sourcing for financing and determining the staffing rules. Jesse had the lowest scores in management functions.