By Nabaz Shwany:
Managers run organizations. There are some skills and behaviors that they should possess in order to be successful. When managers lack these basic skills, they cannot accomplish their objectives. In Kurdistan, managers confront many difficulties and obstacles to their organizational goals. Although some say managers in Kurdistan are on the right track, in fact they are often not good enough, due to a lack of planning and communication and a lack of capacity to change and compete.
Some say that managers in Kurdistan have a plan. To justify this they point to the expanding size of organizations and the implementation of long-term projects that could not happen without strategic plans. However, in reality, lack of planing is a serious problem for many Kurdish managers.
Successful managers set flexible priorities and change them according to evolving circumstances and evaluate any threats to the success of these changes. The plan should be effective, persistent, and flexible but, if we look at organizational plans in Kurdistan, we see no flexibility and continuity. Flexibility is a dynamic part of any good plan but, unfortunately, it doesn’t exist in Kurdistan. Furthermore, managers in Kurdistan mostly look at current conditions when they design their plans without anticipating future changes and expectations.
Another problem for unsuccessful mangers in Kurdistan is that they run their businesses without having specific plans until they face difficulties. In this situation, managers cannot overcome all the problems. To overcome this issue they should assess whether to make changes or take certain steps. More importantly, managers should be realistic and have sensible goals. Being realistic means the manager must know his organsiation’s capacity, human resources and capital. However, in Kurdistan, managers often make hypothetical plans with no potential for implementation in real life.
Communication skills are vital for top managers. In Kurdistan, some say these skills do exist and that managers practice them to maximize their profits. However, opponents of this view believe that in Kurdistan interpersonal skills and, particularly, communication skills are not used properly and this may lead to a breakdown of business and organizations.
Communicational skills create a link between managers and subordinates. They help managers perform their organizational functions more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, good communication reduces conflicts and resolves problems within organizations. Managers must interact with their employees effectively and motivate them, while also being sensitive to their feelings. Then everyone knows how to do their job smoothly and is aware of what’s happening within the organization.
In Kurdistan, many managers are egotistical and selfish and so they don’t consider any ideas that come from the bottom line of the organization and they believe they know everything. Therefore they are not capable of meeting their goals and the employees or workers are not willing to do their tasks as required since they are neglected and subordinated by the managers and there is the lack of transparency within their organization. In effect, the organization will be unsuccessful. This mentality has to change. Obviously, the successful manager is someone who interacts with different people and makes opportunities for everyone inside the organization to achieve common objectives successfully.
Change is a crucial component of managing today. Kurdish managers are to some extent capable of altering business, organizational image and managing process. Even if it’s not adequate enough, there is some competition between organizations to present a good service with the lowest price to customers. However, if we compare this to the experience of managers in developed countries, we see that it is insufficient.It can also be argued that Kurdish managers stay in their chairs and do not move in any direction.
A clear example is Tajirian Restaurat in Erbil. It was one of the most famous restaurants in the past but, due to using the same strategy as they used 15 years ago and failing to change, it has lost its popularity.
Most Kurdish managers don’t like to make change and, even when they make it, the change is ineffective. They don’t try to make changes because they fear their incompetence and also they fear their organisation’s incapacity to handle new job requirements: They don’t have enough knowledge of the process and conditions of change.
Change is an inevitable requirement for all organizations but the important thing is how to make effective change. The reasoning for the change should be shared with employees. Accordingly, the more workers see that their intelligence is respected, the more open minded they will be to the change; and the more personnel think they have a say, the more they will support the change. Additionally, training and re-training must be made available to those employees who will need new skills because this helps them to deal with the uncertainty and anxiety that the change may bring. In short, Kurdish managers are not keen on change due to a lack of understanding of an effective change strategy.
Another reason for managers’ failure in Kurdistan is a mentality that doesn’t believe in competition between organizations and firms, but rather seeks short term profits. Actually, this a critical factor that makes manager fail. Managers in Kurdistan only attempt to increase their profits for the now without considering the future.
For instance, since the Iraqi Freedom operation, the Kurdistan economy has boomed and many supermarkets and shopping malls have opened, especially in the capital city of Erbil. The most popular ones were Naza Mall and New City. But in a few years they lost their popularity because they competed with each other only to increase the price of goods and services rather than lowering prices and providing better services. This made people look for alternatives until new shopping malls opened. Now, if you take a visit to those two shopping malls, you will find out how they failed in the long term. It’s because of having no real competition between them. They increased the costs and prices of their goods and services day after day. It was not in their minds to think of making higher profits by decreasing their prices – and, as a result, become popular with more people visiting them. Due to a lack of managerial skills they lost their popularity rapidly. In other words, they worked to a short term plan for today and ignored tomorrow. This example shows us why mangers in Kurdistan are often unsuccessful.
To sum up, it is necessary to consider the quality of plans. Suppleness, effectiveness, and endurance must be aspects of this quality. Communication skills provide the answer to many of the problems faced by managers in Kurdistan. Personell have a major role in business. Good communications between managers and workers strengthen their relationships and helps them achieve organizational goals. Competition and change are words that everyone understands but many managers do not understand how to compete and change effectively.
We can conclude that managers in Kurdistan are not on the right track and their ways of managing their business organizations are not appropriate for today. For this reason we assert that, if Kurdish managers develop the interpersonal skills that they need nowadays, they can run their organizations more successfully and make Kurdistan a better place for business and investment.
Nabaz Shwany has a BA in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler. Currently, he is doing his Masters at the School of Law, Government and International Studies, Public Management Department.