Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Have you worked for any of these managers?


Historically, a manager has been the head of his department, master of his domain, ruler of his kingdom; leading, ordering, directing, commanding, manipulating his troops to achieve the goals of the business. I have worked for many kings; some not so good – some better than others. But it wasn’t until I began working for a manager who was not the head of his department but the heart of his department, not a king of his staff but a servant of his staff that I finally felt at home.

I finally felt I belonged, and by belonging,

I became willing to go to war for my manager.

The Question of the Ages

How does a manager excite his staff to produce, to follow instruction, to make deadlines, and fulfill the objectives of the business? How does a manager direct his staff and create a department efficient and profitable?

Let’s look at some common management styles and the problems they create:

The Drill Sergeant: managing through intimidation. This manager rides the back of his staff; barking his orders, running his drills – micromanaging and constantly criticizing. This manager needs to be in constant control of his staff and his staff must wait for orders before initiating action. His staff does work, but grudgingly. They develop resentment towards him and take pleasure when he stumbles or fails. When he is not around, employees take advantage and slack off.

Attila: managing through consequences. This manager doles out punishment for infractions or for not measuring up to his rules or expectations. Punishment is swift and hard as if the punishment itself will deter an employee from making a mistake. Quick to find fault, he is unopposed “Lord” of his domain. Always under his thumb, staff often cuts corners, does just enough to get by, and again developing resentment, look for ways to supplant him or get even.

Psycho-boss: managing through mind games. By keeping his staff confused and in fear, this manager attempts to use psychology to keep employees wondering where they stand, how they’re performing, and if they are “in trouble.” This manager gives only enough information to each employee for the employee to minimally do what is asked of him and chastises the employee for not achieving. This is “crazy-making” for staff. They live confused and in fear of losing their jobs, creating enough stress for the employee to eventually go on disability or go “postal.

Psycho – Drill Sergeant: managing through mind games and intimidation. This combination of the two styles, causes undo stress and confusion, pits employee against employee, and creates an atmosphere of squabbling, backbiting, and chaos, resulting in absenteeism and stress leave.

The Butcher: managing the “meat market.” This manager is a “user” of people who views employees as pieces of meat to be used – get one body, work it as much as possible, dump it when it is used up, and then get another. His focus is on production numbers – rather than on “quality.” Unfortunately, in his fervor to produce, he doesn’t benefit from the value experienced employees bring to the workplace and his all-important “bottom line.” This creates a revolving door of employees who have to be trained and have no interest in their job, the business, or its success. Employees quickly learn the score and develop no sense of loyalty. As a result, they’re more focused on their personal lives and marking time until finding another job.

The Waffler: managing through impulse. This manager always has a bright “new” idea that will revolutionize the business. He doesn’t (or can’t) necessarily explain how or why his “new” idea will work, but he’s sure if he just “implements this” or “tweaks that” then business will drastically improve. Though his enthusiasm is real and his intentions well meaning, he creates an atmosphere of “nothing really matters – put it off until later because it’ll all change again tomorrow.”

The Lord and Master: managing from the throne. This manager has absolute power, ruling his kingdom from his throne. No idea is a good idea unless, of course, it’s his idea. He must always have the last word – no questions allowed – it’s his way or the highway. This stifles creativity and input from the staff for both procedures and vision.

All of these managers have one thing in common – they live in fear – fear of losing control: 1) of their staff, 2) of respect, 3) of the business. The harder they try to control the less effective they become. Ironically, the one thing they never fail to realize is they never had or could have control. The one thing they will never understand is that control is just an illusion – there really is no such thing.

All of these styles create dissention and discord among employees. Each of these managers, in their own way, directly affects how staff feels about their surroundings, how they react to others in their surroundings, and how they judge others because of their surroundings. Like it or not, the manager is responsible for setting the tone in the workplace.

-excerpt from “Managing from the Heart – A Way of Life”

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October 7, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , ,

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