As a Manager… One Size Does Not Fit All!
By Jennifer Howell
Managers come in as many different styles, just as the employees they hire.
Management style is not a “one size fits all.” In fact, have you ever purchased an
item that promotes a “one size fits all” tag? I don’t know about you, but it
seems to be more of a “one size fits everyone but me” experience.
Because as managers, we come in different styles, it is important to identify our
strengths and weaknesses and realize the effect our management style has on
the company, on each employee and in the end, on the customers.
Whether we are top-level executives, middle level managers, supervisors or
employees, we’re acting on behalf of the company in every aspect of our job.
Each person’s performance is critical to the success of that company.
Setting ego’s aside, titles have very little to do with the importance of our
position. Each individual must master their position, regardless of what it is, in
order for that company to be successful. Obviously the higher up we are, the
more responsibility we have to ensure that the goals are being met.
My goal in writing this article is to provide you with food for thought as you
consider the status and effectiveness of your current job performance. My
mother use to tell me “you’re only as good as your last day worked.” I have
found over the years, that this philosophy really applies to many different areas
of my life.
Consider Mom’s philosophy with a twist, ”As a manager, you’re only as good as
the people you manage.” Reflect on those individuals we manage and be honest
in evaluating the time and energy we spend in providing the necessary tools and
responsibility required for them to succeed.
That idea sounds so simple, I know. However, putting a game plan into action to
accomplish this is very difficult for most of us. Below are a few hang-ups,
roadblocks or maybe even excuses, since we’re being honest here.
I can’t stop long enough to make changes in my management style.
I don’t have time to consider each employee’s personality or
I am under pressure from my boss; I don’t have time to focus on who
is responsible for what.
Clutter and lack of order keeps me from really doing my job well.
This list could go on, because I believe it is human nature that we can quickly
and easily come up with why it is we are not reaching our management
There are so many tools, gadgets and programs available to help us get
organized, but not one of them comes with the key ingredient…the Doing, the
Action, or the Drive part. Even if we hire someone to do each task, there is no
guarantee that the job will be accomplished. Someone has to do something in
order to make things happen.
This doesn’t mean those products are not great, it just means they are only
useful if we use them. If the products motivate us to do something, then by all
means we should use them. Otherwise, just keep it simple.
As managers, each day we need planning time to be successful in managing our
employees. I think all too often we don’t have the information we need to
determine if those we are managing are doing their job. The stress comes when
we discover that the goals have not been met after the deadline. What
information would help and how do we go about getting that information.
Determine each project and who is responsible for the project.
How often should we meet to review the status of the project?
Is there someone else in a management position between you and those actually responsible for completing the
Have you provided the tools needed for the project to be completed?
If a team of employees is involved, are there obvious weaknesses, within that team, that could be avoided with
training or other type of support?
Remember we were hired to manage people and projects. Sometimes it is easier
for us to try and do as much of the project ourselves because we want it right
and we can’t stop long enough to explain the project to others. This is a serious
mistake. First of all, we must have faith in those we have hired. Their success is
a direct reflection of their manager. There is a great feeling of accomplishment
when we have taken an individual and built up their confidence and helped them
to meet their job responsibilities successfully.
For most of us, when we walk through that door at the office, or maybe even
when we turn on our cell phones for the day, we are off and running. There is no
looking back and there is no down time. This next thought might surprise you,
but you are allowing this to happen. You have the ability to control this situation.
You must make the time to prepare for each day before it happens!
If we want to be an effective manager, we must be in control. Control comes
from knowing our employees and their strengths and weaknesses. Control comes
from understanding the project and matching personalities with responsibilities.
An effective manager is flexible and supportive and willing to work along side
those who are trying to meet the project goals. Control is the result of careful
Planning can only happen when we take the time to create the plan. If this is not
something you are doing, just take the challenge and try it once. Give yourself
the first 30 minutes of the day as your “solo time.” Respect that time and don’t
allow any interruptions. Review the objectives of the day. Review the individuals
and the progress made in meeting those objectives. Make a list of those you
need to talk with or work with to improve the progress. Consider patting a few
people on the back for working so hard. Basically get a handle on how the day is
about to unfold. End your “solo time” on a positive note and make a commitment
to yourself to make a difference.
How will this make a difference? Consider the following:
Imagine how you will feel personally if you begin your day on a positive note.
Consider the attitudes of your employees based on your evaluations of them and their progress.
Reflect on the power that you felt by taking control of the day!
Take note of the overall difference in the office based on your attitude.
Compare this day to the day you stepped out of the house and into the fire without any warning of what was coming
The idea of managing people is a difficult task all by itself. Getting caught up in
what we need to do vs. what we need to do to help others do is all too often
ignored. Take the time at the beginning of each day to make the management
difference. The results will trickle down to the consumer, customer or end user
of the product or service you are offering. Share this concept of “solo time” with
each member of your company and watch what happens!