Management Development and Lessons Learned

Cliches Matter

The only consistent part of life is change; Simple and profound clichés tend to get my attention these days. Throughout each of our careers we’ll encounter different work environments and quickly learn everyone has (slightly) different management styles. The value an organization places on development will ultimately be defined by their manager’s ability to grasp workplace ownership of responsibilities while ensuring all employees are satisfied with job roles and career paths. In the end, those employee satisfaction levels will either lead to delivering at their highest individual levels or simply meeting operational expectations. Simple enough, right?

Contrary to the beliefs of corporate friends, there isn’t a “perfect” one-size-fits all management style. No one style fits uniformly into all industries or environments and no one style conveniently addresses all workplace challenges. It’s very likely your own group is currently using a hybrid approach to management which shifts into different styles as events demand. As situations continually evolve your group may also utilize the best characteristics of one or more management styles, and none of the worst. If so, keep up the good work! Just resist the temptation to allow satisfaction with the idea of applying the same solution to every obstacle that’s encountered.

Here’s the springs to the mattress: While you may have a solid vision of your management style in accordance with organizational expectations, your staff may see things differently. It takes a degree of courage and openness to address internal change when you sense something may be wrong. If this happens ask your team for feedback on both positive aspects of the business as well as areas needing improvement. Then it becomes critical to schedule a follow-up with that same group and share findings of the combined data along with action plans for remediation. As a takeaway you’ll need to confirm the personal perception of your management style is in sync with those who follow you. If not, create your own checklist outlining an individual development plan. The path to becoming a skilled manager is doing what works for you. Your first steps begin by taking a clear inventory of yourself and recognizing which management traits will promote improved productivity in your employees.

Remember that management is a multifaceted process with a wide range of considerations. Finding the right approach for some groups of employees may not work for other groups of employees. It’s a never ending balancing act of experiences meshing with present conditions. What we can apply uniformly is focusing on management’s role at strengthening employee’s teamwork efforts while also creating an environment that maximizes results. Below are four common styles of management found in a variety of industries..

1. Feedback Driven Environment

Management welcomes and implements feedback of the subordinates.
◾Employees are invited to discuss the pros and cons of new plans and ideas. This may relate to processes, goal attainment or operational metrics.
◾Ensures healthy and consistent communication between management and the employees.

2. Laissez-Faire

Managers are essentially employed as monitors to guide employee teams.
◾Employees are empowered to make decisions and manage productivity on their own.
◾Employees are well trained and not dependent on managers for daily tasks/resources. They know what is expected and “what good looks like”.

3. Management by Walking

Managers view themselves as essential parts of the team and are effective listeners.
◾Managers interact with employees on a consistent basis to learn their concerns and suggestions. The goal is to remove all process obstacles and barriers.
◾All leaders serve more as mentors to their employees and guide them whenever the need arises.
◾Managers do not sit in their offices all day. They walk the facility and interact with staff to learn what is happening around them.

4. Autocratic Style of Working

Managers do not take into consideration the ideas and suggestions of frontline employees.
◾Management has the sole responsibility of all decision making.
◾The employees are totally dependent on management and do not have input into decisions or direction; Employees do not have say in their daily workday.
◾All management perspective of what is right for the business becomes company policy.
◾Inevitably management must be prepared to address employee motivation and retention.

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