What is Your Managing Style? Hitler or Ghandi?
Feared Micromanager or Respected Leader
Anyone with work experience has a story to tell about a manager. The experience could be a great one of a lasting mentor held in high regard, or it could be an experience of complete dread. I have had experience with both types and some in between. The following is a little self-examination wake up call for those who lead one or more employees. Are you getting the best out of the employees with your tactics? Are they doing their job duties because they are afraid of you or because they want to please you? The latter takes much more pride in his/her work- and that is what you want.
There are people who are naturally good leaders and they may never reach management but they have the potential. Then there are people who show leadership mentalities and strive to be in a management position for the power. Once this person makes it to that position, the power changes them. Sometimes it changes them for the better because they end up being good managers who realize they are responsible for the success of their department; other times, they blame everyone else and end up with a high turnover of employees beneath them. In my opinion, the most crucial skill necessary for that success is being able to manage the people who report to them.
I have had a broad spectrum of managers. My first job was on a fruit farm. The owner was there before I got to work in the morning and was there after I left at night. He had my work planned when I got there, and he worked right alongside me if necessary. He treated me like family. Even as a teenager, my main motivation when I was there was no longer about the fact that I was working for money- I wanted to please my boss. Of course, the check at the end of the week was great! But, his pride in my work molded my work ethic and helped me learn what I wanted to strive for as a worker and how I would want my employees to feel toward me if ever I was a manager.
I went on to see many types of managers: The cigarette smoking, cussing cook in the college cafeteria, replaced by a character that will forever live in my heart as a father figure. Both were good to me, but the first hated her job and didn't deal well with people. Her replacement was an Italian chef who was a great manager because he did know how to manage people and that is why he succeeded at his job for so long and still is a success. Second to managing people, you have to either know the job you are asking your subordinates to perform, or be willing to learn. My favorite statement from a manager is "I would never ask an employee to do something I would not do."
Since then, I have had the fresh out of college, business degree bosses who my co-workers and I had to train to do the job they had been hired for. Then, there was the talker, who loved the sound of her own voice so much that we would often leave her standing while we went on to complete the tasks that we were waiting for her to do as a manager. I don't think she noticed we were gone for at least five minutes after we walked away. We led her instead of her leading us.
I went on to create an on campus convenience store, snack shop out of a small closet in the student union of the college. I managed a staff of 5 people, and I worked many hours as I learned to do all of the management responsibilities of running a small business. I had to learn how to handle people and hold them accountable for their own actions. I even had to fire two employees. I learned the perspective of leading people and it is not an easy job, but it has its rewards.
Then, I met the corporate world of a communications company. The management there did not know what was going on 99% of the time, and soon we went from 700 employees to 300 because we lost so much business. Employees were on prescription medications to get through the day because there was so much stress and the managers pretended that everything was just as it should be. That was the worst 5 years of work experience I ever had.
Have you ever had the type of managers I speak of? How about the managers who love to delegate so much that they have nothing to do themselves but to stand over you and tell you what a terrible job you are doing? I had one like that also. She played favorites and would act like a high school girl with one of my fellow co-workers. She would call her on the phone from her office and giggle about other workers. She would call each one of us into her office individually and ask us things about our fellow employees regarding work performance as well as personal information. I had to confront her about this. I told her that I did not work like that. I prefer a team working environment and I refuse to talk about a fellow employee's personal business and if there were questions or issues with their work performance, I would only speak about it in front of that employee, not behind their back. I got fired. She is not a good manager.
Strive to be the Ghandi of the Management world. Earn respect by giving respect. Lead and employees will follow. Let them know what is expected of them and have faith in them to see their responsibilities through. If they do not do their job, then pull them in behind a closed door, discuss it fairly and listen to their reasons. Not every employee is a great employee- so a manager can only do so much- but don't smother the flame of a great employee by micromanaging and hovering over their every move. Promote teamwork and engage your employees. Give them an environment they want to be a part of everyday. Attendance, work performance, productivity will have much higher success rates with this approach.