Welcome to 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo. Welcome to my little online diary of thoughts on Motivation and Leadership. Welcome to another post in my cyber world. So today, I have something on my mind. Something I have been thinking about for a while now. The best way to manage a department:
How many times have you seen a Manger who seems to use fear to keep people in line? How many times have you wondered exactly what leadership style is at work where you work? Do you wonder why you are being treated the way you are being treated? Have you wondered what your Managers Motivations was at the time? Does your Manager seem to treat you like you are afraid to lose your job? Well I believe the best way to Manage people is to treat them like they could find a better job at any minute.
Who am I to be giving Management advice? I am a guy who has worked a lot of jobs. No matter what level I was at, I have seen Managers who treated me like I was afraid to lose my job. Does this sound familiar? Has it happened to you? I bet it has happened to a lot of people. Am I right? I bet this could be my most popular post if everyone who feels this way will share this post. Enough, I will say again; I think the best way to manage a department is to treat people like they can find a better job at any given time. Why do I say this? Because you will not manage from a position of fear; if you believe the people you manage can find a better job, you will treat them with utmost respect. You will try to create an environment that is a positive learning experience for everyone involved. You may treat people better than you want to be treated.
When people accept being treated badly at their place of employment, they are working for the money. If people enjoy where they work, the experience will be worth more than money. Also, if you are a Manager who is building people up instead of tearing them down, you will be happy to see them get a chance to move on to bigger and better things. If you know you are helping people become successful, you will have a strong system of mentors training up the next wave of employees. No, I am not a manager, but I have seen many managers in action. Which ones do you think seemed to retain the best workers and which ones do you think were the best to work around? The Managers who treated people like they wanted to see them succeed and move up are always be far the best ones to work around.
Treat people like they could find a better job tomorrow, and you will not lose them today. You will find that you can give them more responsibility and you can grow your department with people who are excited to come to work. Manage from a place of fear and you will only retain people who truly believe they cannot do any better for themselves. If people are afraid to find something better, will you really be getting their best effort? If people are only in fear of losing their job, why would they do anything extra? Why would they give you their best effort? They will only give you enough to not get fired.
I believe the best way to Manage people is to treat them like they could find a better job at any minute. You will have a system in place where everyone is ready to take the lead, and you can be proud of the success stories you are creating. You will find people who want to make things better, if you treat them better than you want to be treated.
Delegation: Some people think that delegation is good management. Delegate – to give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative: I have seen people delegate their work to others in small doses and it is better than micromanagement. Delegating your work in large doses creates a large buffer and can cause resentment. Too much delegation can cause an environment of distrust and resentment. Too much delegation can make you wonder; if everyone is just passing their work off to others, what exactly is getting done? If you are constantly delegating your work to others, why are you needed? I say that if everyone is delegating, nothing is getting done.
Everyone thinks that managers are by default leaders. I do not agree. A Manager that can motivate others to be the best they can be by transferring a vision that everyone can agree on is a Leader. So to either extreme are the Micro-Manager and the Macro-Delegator. The Micro-Manager feels the need to do everything and the Macro-Delegator feels the need to have everyone else do everything. The Micro-Manager makes you feel like you are not capable of doing anything right. The Macro-Delegator makes you feel like they are not capable of doing anything right. A Manager that is a Leader can motivate by creating an environment where everyone can excel and feel good about their accomplishments.
So imagine for a minute if everyone is just delegating who is doing the work? Sooner or later, someone has got to do the work. I get it, there needs to be someone who can divide the work equally so that everyone can learn and grow and excel at the things they are good at doing. Managers need to understand that being in authority is not enough to bring out the best in the people who work with and for you. Leadership is not Micro-Managing and Leadership is not Macro-Delegating. Leadership is setting an example that others feel compelled to follow.
There is a lot of energy that goes into people delegating and pushing people beyond their limits. There is a lot of energy that goes into the backlash, the push back when people over-step their boundaries. There is a lot of energy in the pushing back and forward. There is a lot of wasted energy in everyone trying to delegate as the “New” Leadership or Management Style. Too much delegation leads to a lot of wasted energy. There is a balance that needs to be maintained between doing the work and showing others how to do the work. There is a balance between being a Manager who is a Leader or a Manager that seems to fall to one side or the other; Micro-Manager or Macro-Delegator. Why do people follow the Bad Leadership of either of these Managers? The fear or losing their jobs is usually more than enough reason.
If I have said it once, I will say it again; being a Manager does not by default make you a Leader. I have learned a lot from bad management because I take the time to ask the question; what is wrong with this situation? I question Management and Leadership styles based on what I have read and the Leadership I am compelled to follow. I again understand the need to delegate and I understand the need to show people you are capable; I am just very strongly compelled to also state that a Leader finds the balance between setting an example and teaching others to excel at what they do. A Good Leader motivates more than they delegate. If everyone is delegating, nothing is getting done!
Grace under pressure.
It is a sure sign of a great leader. Now before we go off and start calling someone a great leader, I guess we have to qualify this statement.
Who do people look to when times are the darkest? Who do people turn to when they are out of options? Who do people need the most when all hope seems to be lost? Their Leaders; people tend to turn to leadership for guidance and direction. Now some people will go their own way, and some leaders will not step up when needed the most; but when everyone is losing it during a crisis, great leaders do great things.
I like walking through airports with only socks on, and I can sit on the floor at a terminal, and I like taking deep breaths when I am running late to check in. Does that make me a great leader? No, it means I am practicing staying calm in unusual circumstances. I can be the first to lose it when things are not going as planned. What good does getting angry do? Anger separates, and raises the stress level and can block clarity of thought. An angry leader does not often a good leader make. So I have to practice keeping my cool when other people are losing it.
So what about being worried, or frustrated? Does that make things better when times are tough? No, they are not any more of a solution than getting angry; they are just a different way of dealing with the chaos. The best way to get through this crazy, rushed and stressed out life we lead is staying calm, and staying focused. Great leaders have a vision, have a plan, and have a back up plan when things go wrong. Something can almost always go wrong, remember Murphy’s Law?
Sometimes people can be aloof and detached. It does not mean they are leaders, it means they could care less what happens. Leaders care what happens and take steps to ensure the success of a team or project. There is a difference between detachment and grace under pressure. Don’t be fooled either way.
Now, fake leaders manufacture a crisis so they can look good in the middle of it. Fake leaders tell everyone else to do one thing while they do something different. Real leadership, great leadership can be both inspirational in what they say, and in what they do. Real Leadership, Great Leadership means building up the people around you to be able to help out, step up and take the lead if needed. Real Leadership, Great Leadership means running fire drills, and doing controlled tests and learning to manage chaos, before chaos turns to crisis.
The better prepared you are, the better you will deal in a crisis. The better prepared those around you are, the better they will deal with a crisis. Even if the whole world seems to be falling part around you, a great leader knows what they can control and what they can’t control and just stays focused on the big picture, the bottom line and the target.
How many clichés can I throw at you? Hundreds, but the point is to get you to see what to look for in times of trouble. Great Leaders plan, prepare and practice before times get tight. Great leaders can stay calm and stay focused.
Grace under pressure. It is not the only quality of a great leader, but it is one of the signs of great leadership. Step back and watch closely. Sooner or later you will see what I am talking about.