The way you manage affects your organization’s performance
- By: Bernard Kirk
Just don’t manage everybody the same way.
Everyone has their preferred way of managing others.
You may have learnt your particular management method of how to manage others by observing your parents or your first boss or someone you were exposed to for some time, and by now you have your own particular management method or style.
We all have a preferred way that we would like to be managed, and may consequently feel that’s the way we should manage others.
Most of us have experienced a number of managers in action. Some impressed us, some did not.
Let’s look at some of them:
We have all seen the bustling busy boss who rushes in and orders everyone around never asking for advice because he knows it all.
We’ve seen the laid back person who asks for something to be done and never checks back until one day when he does, he suddenly loses his temper.
There is the boss who won’t let anyone do anything, or a boss who never tells you anything, or one who agrees that things will be done, abdicates his responsibility and then blames you when things go wrong.
All formal management techniques that I have been exposed to fall within a scale ranging from tight management to loose management, and the method used to explain a particular management method is usually in quadrants or numbers.
Regarding a preferred management method, I would like to share with you a combination of the logic and especially the wisdom and experience of the really effective leaders I have worked with over several decades.
The question is then, is there a best method to manage, and if there is, which one is it?
Before we come to any conclusions, let’s look at some of the more common ways of managing and I have given them names that the “Wise Ones” have come up with over the years.
You’ve seen the bustling, busy boss. This boss rushes in, gives a cursory glance to see everyone is around and barks out orders. “Do this, do that!”
This type of boss is the dominant type, and likes to impose his/her will on others. This boss is very concerned about his/her image, has a short attention span, doesn’t really listen, and likes to tell people what to do. Initiative from others is not encouraged and people don’t perform when this boss is away because whatever they do will be deemed to be wrong anyway. People only work for this boss until it no longer suits them.
Although not always the case, I have seen many entrepreneurs and sole proprietors manage this way. It’s just a natural method for some people.
Subordinates of The Reactionary management method are really there to do what they are told and not ask any questions. I find if I am asked to assist a company where the boss has this style, that particular company often, not always, does not have very high level employees in terms of income or experience. Many of these employees have an exit plan waiting to be implemented.
These types of bosses are less frenzied, because they engage in a degree of small talk with the employee, and they do try and explain what it is they need from that employee. They are still in charge, but are not looking over your shoulder all the time. They know what they want but are much more interactive or “human”.
I find this to be a pretty safe management style. You can’t go too far wrong using it.
These bosses are often regarded by others as being friendlier or warmer because they interact with you, get your opinion, ask questions, listen to you and then either act or allow you to act. Basically, they are more relaxed, they don’t really mind if you take the credit as long as the job gets done. They are not seen by others as being too strict. The problem is that sometimes if decide they are not happy with the way you have been doing things they then suddenly seem to be sitting on top of you.
This kind of boss is someone that asks you to do something and then moves on, expecting you to get the job done. This boss may decide you know what you are doing, interacting with you occasionally, but pretty much lets you direct the operation by almost leaving you entirely alone. If something goes wrong it’s not the boss’s fault.
The All Rounder
This type of boss varies his/her management style. It’s a mix, so to speak. This boss seems to manage everyone differently. This boss could use a Reactionary style for one person, and an Interactionist method for another person. The All Rounder style is a flexible management method. It means that the same management method is not used on everyone.
So how should you manage, and is one method more effective than another method?
I recommend the All Rounder method, because it is a flexible method and how one uses it is the key to more effective management.
By way of an example, if you as a manager were to tell a room full of highly experienced nuclear scientists exactly what they should do to split the atom (as per the Reactionary method,) your management method is probably inappropriate. These highly skilled experts in atom splitting would reject your style and leave your organization when it suited them, telling all you are dictatorial manager.
Alternatively, if you said to some inexperienced, brand new employees” here’s the job, get on with it”, as per the Abdicator method, and these newbies knew little or nothing about the job, neither you nor your subordinates would achieve success either.
I find that there are a combination of factors that one needs to take into account in deciding what management method should be used.
It’s always been logical to me that you have to use a management method or style that is appropriate to the situation you find yourself in.
If you are giving instruction in handgun shooting you had better manage those newbies super tightly.
You need to observe the situation you are in and then adapt your management method to the skill set of your subordinate.
If you are teaching a child mathematics you should probably use a reasonably tight yet friendly management method like the Persuader because you really need to get the child to focus on and master what is required while not feeling threatened.
If however, you are interacting with a university math professor, you should logically use a looser management method or style like the Interactionist.
I believe you need to ascertain just how much your subordinate knows about a particular subject and then manage him either tightly if he/she knows only a little about that subject, or more loosely if they know a lot about what you want done. The key factor is to determine what the knowledge depth is that the person has of the subject.
The way to find out how much a person really knows about a subject is to ask pretty detailed questions. Probe. Don’t just ask the broad questions. Be specific, and use follow up questions as well. The answers you get will help you determine which management method you should employ to manage your subordinates.
Using the wrong management method is not good for the subordinate and certainly will not produce best results. My experience and the wisdom of others has proved to me that the All Rounder method is the most effective style to improve your organization’s performance.
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The first thing Bernard Kirk tells his clients is that the absolute critical factor in any organization is people- especially the right people in the right jobs.
Bernard has focused on human behavior and its effect on performance.
With seventeen years of operational management, twenty- two years of strategy implementation for multiple entrepreneurs, professionals, high level businesses and politicians across the globe, Bernard is regarded by many as an expert in how people affect outcomes.
Having the right people doing the right things in the right job is usually the difference between mediocrity and greatness for both the individual and the organization.
Bernard’s methods of determining what needs to be done by what type of person and how to select and retain those persons has attracted interest on an international basis. Bernard has consulted in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, medical, recycling, professional, political and academic fields. He lives in Arizona, USA.