Understanding the Management Role
Westminster Drug Project is a vibrant, dedicated and innovative charitable organisation committed to assisting people who have drug and alcohol related dependences. The organisation has been in existence over 21 years, having its first residence in the London Borough of Westminster.
The company has grown in size and reputation over the years and presently occupying areas in London boroughs and some south east counties. The purpose of the organization is to actively provide support to those affected by drug and alcohol use, in local communities and also to share knowledge acquired in the carrying out of these duties to a wider audience so as to have a highly informed society.
WDP is committed to ensuring that they provide excellent services to their stakeholders from service users to the commissioner’s. They are committed in providing treatment and support to Services users, seeing them through a successful progression through the various stages of the wider treatment programme.
The organisation is not adverse to change rather it structures its services to embrace any change (legislative or otherwise) that might have a positive impact on the treatment journey of its service user. This can be evidence by the expansion some of their services to meet the many stages of a service users treatment journey.
Over the years WDP has proven to be an organisation which has a passion for what it sets out to achieve. One of the main objectives of the organisation is to develop the potential of its people so as to ensure that everyone is carried on board and they have in place the right resources in order the mission of the organisation can be fulfilled.
Having worked at WDP for 5 years, I have since developed and progressed onto other financial related roles in the finance department. As the financial Accountant of the company, my main duties include:
Coaching, mentoring and supervising the Finance Administrators
Supporting the Financial Controller, colleagues and other managers in the management of WDP’s finances.
Devising and implementing effective systems and procedures for the organisation that ensures the good governance
Control of WDP’s financial resources and which provide timely and accurate information to support the organisations decision-making and growth.
Overseeing the day to day operations of the team and having a direct impact upon the development and growth of the team.
Maintaining the integrity of all the sub ledgers and assisting with forecasting and budgeting.
Producing finance reports to senior management and external stakeholder’s
I have acquired vast knowledge on the misuse and or abuse of drugs and alcohol substance since I started at WDP. An important aspect of my Job is to ensure that relationships between the organisation and external stakeholder are not compromised and to promote a healthy working relationship between both parties. While I have been at WDP I have learned a great deal about drugs / alcohol and their misuse, including the impact of such misuse.I have thus realised that working in an accounting field need not be purely about manipulating figures and ensuring that systems run to plan. I have been reminded of the wider purpose of my role in this job, and indeed of the wider purpose of accounting positions generally. In this role in particular I need to oversee smooth financial transactions for the wider good of the organisation. Because of the way WDP is set up, I am constantly aware of the impact my position has on service users and other stakeholders. One important area of my job is to make sure that relations between organisation and external stakeholders are not compromised and to promote a healthy working relationship between both parties.
The organisation in relation to its purpose and its stakeholders
At WDP, we are focused at giving back and contributing something to our society and we aim to achieve this through the services we provide. Our main aim is to support people with a drug or alcohol problem, and their friends and family, to access information and advice, and ultimately to move beyond substance abuse. The services we offer are numerous:
Open Access – First point contact for people seeking information and advice on substance misuse either for themselves or loved ones.
2) Criminal Justice Services – WDP aims to break into the cycle of drug use and offending behaviour by engaging drug users. We are able to accomplish this by having experienced drug/alcohol practitioners who work across all points of the criminal justice system in partnership with the police, the courts and prisons who access the drugs users in prison and refer them unto other services i.e. either the Open Access service’s or Day Programmes.
3) Day Programmes – These are programs prepared to increase individual confidence levels by developing new skills, encouraging team building amongst peers through group work and engaging in social activities.
4)Families and Children – We aim to support those experiencing drugs and alcohol dependency problems by closely working with them, their families and children.
5) Aftercare – We aim to support each individual to reintegrate back into the community.
6) Alcohol Services – All services offered are to assist people who are dependent on alcohol and drugs.
We provide alcohol services within all our programmes, we support people throughout their recovery, providing them with appropriate support and advice, and referring clients into relevant treatment services.
7) Outreach – Outreach work involves going out into the community to offer support and advice to drug and alcohol users.
(WDP, 2012, Accessed 5 June 2012 http://www.wdp-drugs.org.uk/pages/what-we-do.html)Recently have WDP gained some prison based services in which we have a presence within some prisons offering advice and support to people with substance misuse problems.
WDP’s is committed to creating a society that is healthier and safer because it is well informed about drug and alcohol use, where people adversely affected can get effective help. Evidence of this can be seen in the services being provided to the community as a whole.
The Finance Team
The Finance team handles all aspect of the company’s finances. From the preparation of budgets for tendering purposes, to the raising sales invoices, to the processing of both staff expenses and purchases invoice, also giving a breakdown of actual vs. budgeted spend to both internal and external stakeholder’s.
The finance team ensures that there is a proper utilisation of the financial resources against all aspect of the organisation.
The team is made up of 4 staff we have the:
Financial Controller who has the overall responsibility of leading and guiding the team and also handles the strategic aspect of the company’s finances and ensures that there is a proper utilisation of the financial resources against all aspect of the organisation.
Financial Accountant: dealing with the everyday running of the department and responsible for managing the finance administrators
Finance Administrators: There are two people in this position. They deal with processing purchase invoices and other administrative tasks
There is a strong emphasis upon teamwork within the department dealing with finance. The ethos is one of understanding how decisions made by individuals form part of a much larger picture. This ethos of teamwork extends not just to our department, but is part of the overall organisational vision, which is predicated upon the notion that every one of us has a responsibility to society as a whole.
The organisation’s structure, functional areas and managerial roles, in relation to its purpose
WDP has a broadly hierarchical structure, that is it consists of several levels with fewer people at the higher levels holding more power, both in terms of authority over others and in terms of swaying decisions about the organisation. At the top (see illustration) is the chair, working with the CEO and other directors. The CEO reports directly to the board, and in turn manages the Directors and Financial Controller of individual departments.There is then a layer of middle management, consisting of the directors of various departments within WDP. This layer is also known as the senior management team, and is made up of the HR director, Director of Operations and the Director of Development. Below this layer are individual managers. There may be more than one manager within a department. Although lower levels are not shown on the diagram, they do exist, for example the administrative staff in the finance department.The structure at WDP is not as hierarchical as some organisations, and there is an ethos of teamwork and cross-level communication, however some division of power between ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the scale offers opportunities for progression within work, and allows WDP to deliver its objectives better. Lower organisational levels can concern themselves with day-to-day tasks, while long-term perspectives and strategy are decided by the board (Dunnette et al 1994).As well as a division into hierarchical levels, WDP divides into different functional levels (these are also shown in the diagram below): human resources (handling recruitment, discipline, grievance and other aspects concerned with people as a strategic company asset, such as training and education), finance (covering all aspects of finance), development (future planning and ensuring plans are carried out as decided), and operations (covering ongoing running of what we do as an organisation, smooth running of existing contracts and looking for new business opportunities).
Things to do:-
Investigate the organisational structure (hierarchical structure)
Explain the role of the chair
The organisations’ stakeholders and their objectives
Ideas about stakeholders originate in attempts to introduce ethical practices into business, and move focus away from shareholders. The stakeholders of any organisation are the set of people who are affected by, or who have an effect on, the organisation as it carries out its purpose(s) (Visser et al 2010).WDP has a number of stakeholders, with different perspectives. What one group holds as the interests most important to them is not always shared by other groups. The main stakeholders of WDP are:
Our service users: people with drug and / or alcohol problems
People in their community who are affected by the problems of our clients (friends, people who are impacted by their behaviour)
The wider local community
WDP employees and directors
Other community, local authority organisations and / or service providers, for example the police, the courts, prisons and others in the criminal justice system, healthcare providers
The local authority commissioners who commission WDP to provide services in the boroughs we work in
Each group of stakeholders has a different set of interests, each of which impact on the organisation in different ways. Within each group, there may also be conflicting interests. For example, our service users seek support and help overcoming their drug / alcohol problems overall, but some users might hope for more intensive interventions while others might attend as a consequence of family pressure or pressure from social workers.Families’ main interests are helping their relative overcome their addiction, but often have unrealistic expectations of the degree and kind of intervention we can make. The local community’s interest is also varied, from wanting us to make a visible drug / alcohol problem go away, to supporting what we do. Broadly, all employees and the board of WDP are committed to supporting people with addictions and helping them overcome them, but again there is a diversity of opinion here, with some employees wanting or expecting different things from WDP.
Overall, WDP need to understand the differing viewpoints of stakeholders, and try to achieve a balance between them in addressing them.In general, our service users are the priority, but it is also important to take the other positions into account. Problems arise when stakeholder perspectives are incompatible, for example we have had demands from the community to be less visible, as it is perceived that our presence impacts upon house values in the neighbourhood. Clearly, this is incompatible with our objective of supporting users. In cases like this there is a need for someone to take an overall perspective and decide which need overrides the other, then be able to explain this decision in a diplomatic way.
The role of management in achieving goals
Management plays a big part at WDP in reaching organisational goals.My own role has some managerial functions, however I should point out that my own role is not akin to that of middle managers in the organisation, although I do have responsibility for overseeing other people’s work, particularly in supervision, training and mentoring departmental administrators. I also take on some other managerial functions, for example honing office and organisational systems and feeding into board-level decisions, and helping people grow individually and as a team.
It is possible to see an organisation in tiers: at the top are the highest levels of management. The concern at this level is the operation of the organisation overall. At the lowest level, different sections of the organisation carry out their function (for example, financial accounting and transactions for the finance department). Middle managers act as a buffer or co-ordinator between the two levels, managing entire departments and feeding into higher level decisions (Hewison 2004). While I have some input into higher level decisions, I have a line manager, the Financial Manager, who performs the middle management function for my department.
In our organisation, middle managers are responsible for the overall efficient and correct running of their department, and for having input into organisational decisions at board level. Because of the ethos of the organisation, there is a strong focus upon taking the views of all employees into account when planning at board level, so the middle manager is also responsible for ensuring that the views of the staff she or he manages is fairly and fully represented, and also that board decisions are clearly fed back to staff.As well as making sure that lower levels of the organisation have a ‘voice’ at board level, middle managers at WDP need to translate the organisational strategy, developed in its most general form at board level to a workable version, cashing it out in terms of particular actions to be carried out by staff at lower levels. Middle managers have to be particularly flexible, as they have to ‘translate’ between the everyday working role of grass roots level staff and the long-term focus of the board.There are also issues of accountability. Middle managers are accountable for their entire department, to the CEO and board. Personally, I am accountable to the Finance Controller, and the two Finance Assistants are accountable to me.I am responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day running of financial matters, and for feeding back to my line management other issues raised by the staff, for example working conditions, co-ordination of leave, training requirements and other issues.As a manager, like managers higher in the organisation, I am expected to lead both through directing others but particularly by example.
The effect of communication and interpersonal relationships on managerial performance
Communication skills and interpersonal relationships play a particularly important part at WDP, perhaps because of the high emphasis placed upon teamwork and shared communication, but perhaps also because of the need to be particularly sensitive to our main client group, people with drug and alcohol problems.Both areas can have negative and positive effects on managerial performance.Good communication can make the manager’s job much easier. It has been estimated that managers can spend up to 80% of their days communicating with others (Daft and Marcic), and certainly communication plays a central role at WDP. Personally, I have found that communication can be positively enhanced through careful listening to people, asking questions to draw out what they mean, rather than offering them one or two alternatives (‘open’ rather than ‘closed’ questions, to use a term from neuro-linguistic programming) (Linder-Pelz 2010). It can also be improved by paying attention to staff’s body language, for example being aware through non-verbal cues how people really feel. This skill has helped me read people during presentations, and tailor them to people’s boredom level. In both these ways, good communication can help the manager understand his or her staff better, and this is a first step to getting more out of staff, through building a relationship of mutual trust and respect (Templar 2011).Interpersonal relationships can also have a positive impact on managerial performance. WDP places a large emphasis upon teamwork, because everyone needs to be committed to our goals to make them a success. Therefore, there is also a big emphasis on people working well together. If the atmosphere in a division is positive, people are willing to help other colleagues out, for example covering for someone when they are ill, and being less resentful of others. This impacts upon overall productivity.
However, both communication and interpersonal relationships can have a negative impact upon managerial performance. On occasion, staff have become too close, for example entering into a romantic relationship which alienates other staff members, and creates a difficult atmosphere, particularly if one or both partners in the relationship are already in a formal relationship. This has made, in my experience, managing the situation extremely difficult, as the staff in question are reluctant to see the negative impact of their behaviour, and even more reluctant to end the work relationship. Poor communication can also have negative impacts upon productivity. Where channels of communication are blocked, for example where lower level staff feel unable to approach their line manager, this can lead to frustration and poorer in-work performance, as staff feel they lack the trust and support in which they work best. I have also seen the effect of rumours about redundancy and the negative impact these can have on workplace performance. There is also what I see as a natural human tendency to keep information to oneself or share with one or two trusted others, which works against teamwork. Some employees are also more prone than others to gossip and manipulative behaviour. If such an individual is on the team, he or she needs careful management to mitigate the impact of these destructive behaviours.
Barriers to communication and effective interpersonal relationship in WDP, strategies to overcome these
I have identified a number of barriers to communication and interpersonal relationships:
Poorly managed circulation of information: information is ‘leaked’ from higher managerial levels, so some staff know about it before others. This builds an atmosphere of mistrust and secrecy, and divides the workforce.
Relatedly, information is often told to people on a ‘need to know’ basis, that is, in passing and not as part of an overall strategy. This has similar negative impacts as above, leading to division between staff and tension
Lack of investment in team building: because we are so busy, important exercises which will build us as a team such as regular feedback meetings and ‘bonding’ sessions where we socialise together are either missing or mis-managed.
Lack of listening skills on the part of some managers: everyone can improve their listening skills, but certain managers at WDP seem to lack the skills altogether. They seem bored to listen to anyone else but themselves, do not pick up on non-verbal cues, and don’t employ strategies to draw people out in conversation.
On a positive note, I believe all these barriers can be overcome. The first and second could be eradicated by better managing the flow of information. It is easy to identify the source of leaks, and the person concerned should be reminded of the repercussions of what they are doing, and perhaps disciplined if the practice continues. There should be a clearer policy at board level about how information is to be circulated to others. I believe that if people saw the wider context of their ‘leaks’ and disclosures, the problem would be reduced if not eradicated.In terms of the third barrier, I believe that team building needs to be built into the work schedule. All middle managers should be told they must arrange more regular meetings between staff and develop imaginative ideas for ‘bonding’ exercises. There also needs to be financial investment in these exercises. Finally, listening is a skill, and one which can be learned. The barrier caused by poor listening skills can be addressed by a training programme in listening and communication, perhaps for all managers so the ones with poor skills do not feel singled out.
I have used a process called reflective learning to work out which areas in my working life are problematic, and trying to work out how they can be opportunities for development. Reflective learning is a process of looking at one’s experiences in the workplace, particularly reflecting upon areas of concern, in order to isolate the elements of the experience, interpret them and possibly change the way one behaves in the future (Jasper 2007). Through identifying problematic areas and critically analysing them, I have found several areas which impact upon my managerial ability (see table 2)
AreaKnowledgeSkillsPersonal AttributesBehaviourImpact on Managerial Ability
‘Can do’ attitudeI believe I know everything I need to knowI feel I can do everything well enoughControlRefuse to allow staff to do things for themselves, hard to delegateNegative – staff become frustrated, can’t make decisions for themselves
IndependenceN/AAccounting tends to be fairly autonomous: something one can do in isolationI am used to working on my own. Not used to having the responsibility of othersI tend to let them manage themselves, even when they are strugglingPeople do not function as a team. My staff struggle to cope.I tend to resent advice from ‘above’. Staff don’t feel they ‘belong’
Not sure what role involvesI haven’t been given the information about what my role involvesN/AI am reluctant to ask what my role is, in case I look less than competentI struggle along, don’t ask for help or clarification, become bad tempered with staffStaff lose motivation, lack direction and sense of purpose
Table 2: breakdown of problem areas
Overall, I feel that I am struggling with a new role as a manager. I’m used to working in isolation from others, and see asking for help as a form of weakness. However, I can recognise that I need to be able to enthuse my team more, and build cohesiveness within it.I feel I’ve not really been adequately trained for the role, and now realise it is not a question of simply teaching other people to do the financial things I do. Rather, there’s a lot more to the role of manager including team building. Although I feel I have good listening and communication skills, I feel I am lacking in other areas such as enthusing others about the organisation as a whole.I also believe that leadership can be learnt, and is something I can get better at.
Based on your assessment, determine priorities for further development of your own managerial behaviour and plan activities to achieve these
PriorityArea to be addressed / developed or improvedPrecise action to be takenDate to be completed by
Job roleI need clarification of what role involvesAsk line manager for job description, full details of role1 week
Management skillsI lack experience in managing others, particularly communication and team buildingAsk for support / mentoring / formal training1 week.
ControlI am used to doing everything by myself. I need to delegate moreBreak down daily / weekly / monthly tasks and start to delegate at least some of them2 weeks
IndependenceI am too independent, used to working on my own. Now I need to be able to support others and lead a teamAsk for training in building a team / communication. Read around the subjectAsk for training: 1 week. Reading ongoing
Daft, R L and Marcic, D (2012) Understanding Management, Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA.
Dunnette, M D, Hough, L M and Charalambos, H (1994) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Consulting Psychologists Press, USA
Hewison, A (2004) Management for Nurses and Health Professionals: Theory Into Practice, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ
Jasper, M (2007) Professional Development, Reflection and Decision-Making, John Wiley & Sons, USA
Linder-Pelz, S (2010) NLP Coaching: An Evidence-Based Approach for Coaches, Leaders and Individuals, Kogan Page Publishers, London
Templar, R (2011) The Rules of Management: A Definitive Code for Managerial Success, FT Press, London
Visser, W, Matten, D, Pohl, M and Tolhurst, The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ
MARK SHEET: WORK BASED ASSIGNMENT (M4.01)
Learner Registration No
Learner named below confirms authenticity of submission
CriteriaWBA StrengthsWBA Areas for ImprovementAssr
The organisation in relation to its purpose and its stakeholders
·The organisation’s purpose and its stakeholders are described
·The organisation’s structure, functional areas and managerial roles are explained
/ 24 marks
The role of management in achieving goals
·The specific responsibilities of middle managers in enabling the organisation to achieve its goals is described
/ 20 marks
The effect of communication and interpersonal relationships on managerial performance
·The effect of interpersonal relationships and communication on managerial performance is explained
·Barriers to communication and effective interpersonal relationships in the organisation are identified and strategies devised to overcome these
/ 30 marks
·Own knowledge, skills, personal attributes and behaviour and their effect on own managerial ability is critically assessed
·Areas for personal development to improve own managerial behaviour is identified
·Priorities for future development are planned and set
/ 26 marks
(External) Assessor’s DecisionQuality Assurance Use
(circle as applicable)Total MarksOutcome
(circle as applicable)
Total 50+ overall, AND minimum in each section PASS/REFERRAL Total 50+ overall, AND minimum in each sectionPASS/REFERRAL
Section fail if applicable:Date of QA check:
Name of AssessorName of QA
Assessor Signature and dateQA Signature and date