Tag Archives: Management Styles

A good organization has people who take charge without being overbearing

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There are different management styles out there. Some managers are very pushy. Others are more moderate. While some are slackers and aren’t really paying attention. There are manager who pretend to be paying attention, and others who make their rounds to show people they are being watched. There are really many aspects to being a manager. Figuring out how to allocate scarce resources, time, space, and deciding who will do what, and when. Figuring out marketing strategies, and financial strategies are part of the deal as well.

Be a friend
What managers need to know is that managing people involves many components. You have to be their friend, but not be too friendly. If you are too friendly, and you develop too many ties that make it complicated to control them. If you are not friendly enough you have distance, and people will not do their best work if they don’t feel close to them. If you are too close, you might talk about personal things which could develop later on into conflicts or complications in your relationship not to mention office politics, jealousy, and other trouble.

Be a mentor
You need to help people at work too. If you are always helping people, especially the new people, you will be appreciated and valued. People might look up to you for your skills as well. When you are helpful, but not too critical, that is wonderful. People will feel more comfortable working for you if they know that support is around every corner.

Be appreciative
Remember that a good manager needs to criticize from time to time. But, criticism is not normally well received unless there is a relationship of support, trust and appreciation. If an employee is so horrible that you can’t appreciate them, fire them. But, for the others, there needs to be at least five meaningful good things you say to them for every criticism. If an employee feels appreciation, they will do better work for you, take criticism better, and stick with your company longer too.

Be watchful
Employees tend to do more when they are being regularly watched. I like to call people who work remotely once a week to let them know I am watching. When I call it is very casual and we just do reviews about what they have been doing, or I ask them a few quick questions. If your employees work in the same building, make your rounds and pay attention to what they are doing. If they know that you know what they are up to, their efforts will be more genuine! The minute someone doesn’t want to be in communciation with you or evades you in any way, that is a sign that you should end that work relationship. The work will go downhill the minute they start evading you. I have seen this happen around ten times in my career. The problem is that you need a replacement before they start evading you so that you can fire them on the spot.

Be allocative (allocate work)
Figure out who is going to do what. See how well everyone does each task and have lots of people trained on each task you need done. Whomever does a particular task best is someone you should consider giving the most of a particular task. But, you always need backups in case that star employee is needed on some other more pressing work, or in case they quit!

Be authoritative
People need to know that you have deadlines in writing and enforce those deadlines. People need to know you have standards too. The minute you cut people slack, 90% of them will take advantage. If you work with people who possess a solid work ethic, you will be okay being lax, but for the rest of the human population, you need to show some authority! You can’t just fire someone for missing a deadline, or making a few small mistakes. But, they should get points every time they do something wrong. If you get too many points in a particular quarter, then it is time to get demoted or fired!

Be underbearing
Bosses who are overbearing might think they are taking control and gaining respect. This is not how it works. Respect is gained through many means. People might respect you because you are nice, rich, or have it all together. They might respect you because you dress impeccably, or take charge. But, you can be very in charge without raising your voice. Many bosses with smooth ships are always very polite and nice. They make it clear that you do what they say, but they are nice how they say it. There might be times in your career when you need to be overbearing. And there might be particular individuals who are stubborn who only respond to this type of behavior. Personally, I don’t like it and many others feel the same way. On the other hand, my attitude is cultural, and in other countries like India, bosses yell at their employees, treat them like servants — and the employees respond well to this. In India, adapting to more gentle ways of management might be difficult, and might not even work well. It is hard to say. But, as a manager in India, you can at least try to do more in the departments of being watchful without over doing it, being appreciative without being fake, being friendly, and being a good mentor.

What is your management style?

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What is your management style like?
I have seen different management styles in action. I have seen managers who keep distant.  I have seen others who micromanage.  I have also seen some who are mean and yell at their workers all the time.  There are others who praise their workers all the time.  Which management style is correct or optimal?  I think it depends on what type of workers you have.
Some workers know exactly what to do, and don’t need help. Leave them alone and they will be happier and excel.  Other workers are pathetic, and can’t do anything right unless someone is babysitting them.  Many workers are brilliant, but will never finish anything on time unless you are constantly on their back. Then, they complain that you are always on their back — maybe there is a reason why you are on their back. If they would finish work on time, then you wouldn’t be micromanaging them in the first place — do they realize this?
India is an interesting country to visit.  They have a very rigid class system.  If you are a manager, culturally you are supposed to behave like a dictator when you are around your underlings.  You point authoritatively and say, “Do this, do that, and make it snappy!!!”  From an American perspective, it is a culture shock watching these managers in action.  But, maybe the type of workers they have need this type of authoritarian approach for them to perform at their best. It is not for me to say, because I have not had to manage people in India.  I only work with OTHER people’s employees who have always behaved — otherwise they would get fired (gulp!).   I think the Indian work ethic depends greatly on what type of industry you are in.  IT folks seem very diligent in India, while government workers have a reputation of being lackidasical — too much job security if you ask me!
America is the opposite, where you have to be nice to employees, while they feel free to have bad attitudes and even talk back to their bosses and customers.  I am not a big fan of the American work ethic in 2012, or the lack of it thereof.  India has it’s problems, but people WANT to work, and that willingness is such a huge plus, that it makes working with Indians a positive experience, even when there are problems. 
Regardless of what your management style is like now, if you work in a BPO, KPO, LPO, or other outsourcing company, you can think outside the box to find new and better ways of managing people.  Do you offer bonuses and incentives?  Different people are motivated in different ways.  Some workers see the long run scenario, while others like quarterly bonuses.  Many people can not see more than 24 hours ahead of time.  If you give the wrong incentive to the wrong person, it won’t work out even in the short run. 
If it were up to me, I would think about a dozen different management styles, and compare notes with others in management. Try some of your better ideas out for a quarter and see if they are better than the status quo.  The only way to improve yourself is to try new things that seem promising. If they don’t work out, you can always go back to the old way of doing things!