Choose a manager to interview with whom you are familiar—ideally, someone whom you admire and aspire to emulate. Ask her or him for some time—perhaps you can sit down for coffee—during which you can describe your course learning objectives and discuss what you have so far taken away from the class (in brief) Ask the manager what insights she or he has to offer to you at this point in your career.
The goal of the interview is to gain insight into what makes a good manager from the perspective of someone in a management position. Some topics to touch on in the interview could include the following:
- How did your interviewee come to be a manager (i.e., what career path she or he followed)?
- Has your interviewee found that professional certifications, volunteering, and continued education are important factors to career development?
- What has surprised your interviewee most about what it means to be an effective leader (as opposed to the popular view of what a successful leader is and/or does)?
- What roles are played by managerial goals, objectives, decision-making, and communication on the job?
- How does the interviewee handle change management at his/her organization and what specific challenges has she or he encountered?
- What advice does your interviewee offer to someone in your position and with your short- and long-term goals?
At the close of the interview, be sure to thank your interviewee for her or his time and assistance!
Research and Reflection Paper
In the next phase, ruminate on what you learned in your interview—especially anything that helped you to gain a deeper insight into the topics you studied in the course—and write a research and reflection paper in which you draw upon learning shared with your instructor and colleagues, your individual learning, and knowledge you have gained from the interview to demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of the foundational principles of management. In your paper, go beyond recitation of memorized facts or regurgitation of information; strive to synthesize the most important topics of management (i.e., leadership, personality, motivation, decision-making, communication, and the importance of good management to yourself and to society) into a hybrid research and reflection paper.
Your paper should integrate responses to each of the following questions in a well-organized and coherent paper:
- What leadership precepts did your interviewee impart to you (or what can you glean on the topic as a result of your interview), and how do those dovetail with one or more of the modern theories of leadership?
- How do the personalities of workers, colleagues, managers, and subordinates impact your performance in, and experience of, the workplace? How do they interact with one or more leadership models to create the most effective work environment?
- In light of your interview, the leadership model(s) you’ve discussed, and your own personality, what one or two tenets of motivation theory have you taken away from the course?
- How do your understandings of motivation theories impact your conceptions of the best practices when it comes to making decisions and communicating at work?
- Based on your interview and on learning from this course, what does it take to be an effective employee, a successful manager, and an exemplary citizen of society?
Your well-written paper should meet the following requirements:
- 8-10 pages in length
- Cite at least three scholarly sources, at least one of which is not provided in, or linked from, the course, to support your assertions and strengthen your arguments.
Please proofread your paper to ensure the sentences, paragraphs, and ideas flow well and are logical, concise, and grammatically error-free.