This article is an expansion to a presentation that I gave to doctoral students at Old Dominion University on October 16, 2008. The presentation related to administrative supervision in a community mental health center. However, the principles outlined in this paper are useful in any organization.
To be an Effective Executive, the Executive must demonstrate or have basic managerial competencies in the following areas: finance, human resources and technology/information systems. Expertise in any of the managerial competencies are not required, but basic knowledge, skills and understanding are necessary to converse with those who do have expertise in those areas. As an Executive, basic knowledge and understanding in these areas will assist you to successfully and effectively lead your organization. Let’s examine the competencies in detail.
Financial Management competencies require analytical thinking and the ability to manage the “bottom line.” The Federal Senior Executive Service’s (SES) qualifications of a financial manager are one who can assure that the organization maintains appropriate funding levels. The financial manager “prepares, justifies, and/or administers the budget for the program area; uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities; monitors expenditures in support of programs and policies….The financial manager identifies cost effect approaches and also manages procurement and contracting” (Guide to SES Qualifications, January, 1998, p.35).
A course in governmental accounting can be helpful in understanding the basis of financial management competencies.
A key ingredient to organizational effectiveness is Human Resources Management. The human resources manager, “assesses current and future staffing needs based on organizational goals and budget realties” (Guide to SES Qualifications, January, 1998, p.36). The human resource manager ensures that personnel are appropriately screened and selected for advertised jobs. Once on the job, the human resource manager ensures that personnel are fully developed and/or trained; that the personnel are fully utilized on the job, are appraised, rewarded and applies appropriate corrective actions if employees do not meet the required job performance targets or for other related personnel issues (i.e. unethical behavior, etc.).
Finally, let’s look at Technology/Information Management. Technology is dynamic, ever changing and must be continuously adapted and utilized to improve workflow and enhance services for our customers? Technology/Information Management is systems thinking; it “uses efficient and cost-effective approaches to integrate technology into the workplace and improve program effectiveness” (Guide to SES Qualifications, January, 1998, p.36). Technology/Information Management competencies is about using technology to enhance decision making; increasing efficiencies and enhancing effectiveness, saving money and improving customer service.
Business Acumen, a leadership/administrative competency, is part of the Effective Executive’s arsenal to plan, organize, integrate and lead his/her organization.