The Importance of Interpersonal Skills
Early theorists such as Henri Fayol (1841 – 1925) described managerial role as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. In the early part of 20th century, his theory did help managers to manage more effectively (Mind Tools Ltd, 1996 – 2013). However, Fayol might have overlooked the external factors that might affect managers. Then, in 1973, Henry Mintzberg published his own theory of management roles. His approach is somewhat different from Fayol’s as he highlights the importance of building interpersonal relationship. This is more relevant to today’s organizational structure as most are operating under ‘open system’, where external factors are open to affect managers (Daft, 2001). Thus, Fayol’s theory is more relevant to be perceived as functions instead of roles in today’s management idea.
The concept of ‘what do managers do’ in today’s environment is already different from the early traditional approach. One major cause for this difference is due to changing industrial landscape. During Fayol’s days, the industry was not as competitive as today. As more and more businesses got involved, the demand for social relationship keeps on getting higher and higher. This impression was admitted in Mintzberg’s studies which he concludes as: manager’s role does not consist only of planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling but also human to human skill, which he interprets as interpersonal role. A car salesman would not be able to maintain his relationship with his customers without implementing social, human-to-human skills. Fayol’s approach is indeed relevant but it is not as comprehensive as Mintzberg’s, because he was unable to analyze manager’s role as a whole given the industrial landscape at that time.
Describing a... [continues]
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