|Print | Back||July 17, 2012|
The Dismal ScienceCorrect Management Style
by Adam Smith
The past two articles have described how not to manage employees that work for you. This article will provide a management style that I believe is in harmony with the teachings of the gospel. My recommendations will be based on D&C 121 and my experience in the corporate world.
The smart manager will be very selective when choosing new employees. The manager will want to select someone that is a good match with his assignment — someone he can see progressing with the company and still with the company ten to twenty years later.
Once the correct employee has been hired, then managing has just become much easier. Smart, motivated employees that like to work are a joy to a manager.
The manager will train the new employee in his duties, provide the necessary resources, and then get out of the way and allow the person to flourish in his new role.
Of course there will be times when an employee will make a mistake. How the manager responds will determine how much that manager really knows what is going on in his area of responsibility. The monster manager from my first management article would yell and scream and threaten the employee. The monster manager will only hear about problems when they can no longer be concealed and when the problem likely has grown to be a major issue.
The correct response is to calmly (no matter how stupid the error) help the employee correct the mistake and determine why the mistake was made. The manager then helps the employee develop new actions or procedures so that the mistake does not happen again.
After a few mistakes, the employee will know how to correct his own mistakes and also be able to apply what he has learned to other areas of his responsibility in order to prevent future mistakes from happening. This is great for a manager. There are fewer and fewer surprises that you have to deal with, and you end up with a thinking, caring employee that likes you as a manager and wants to do a good job.
The wise manager will hear about problems when they are first noticed and can correct them immediately.
Some employees may have personality traits that make them difficult to work with or that cause repetitive errors. Most managers will focus on the errors and never address the personality traits or root causes of the problem. This does not help the employee.
Meetings where a manager discusses personality problems with an employee are not comfortable but are the only ones that will help the employee in the long run. The manager can point out problems to the employee and then together they can begin to change the behavior of the employee.
All employees should be working on one or two personal attributes every year. For some employees, this could be a major change (paying attention to detail) or just fine tuning. Everyone can improve.
If an employee has a major issue and after a period of time no progress is made, then the employee may have to be let go from his job. If a manager has honestly tried to help an employee but the employee is not willing to do his part, then the separation can be made with no regrets.
All that I have described above is consistent with D&C 121.
When working to obtain an MBA degree, you study many companies that have been successful over many years. One of the common characteristics of these companies is that the companies function much like a family. These companies care about and nurture their employees. As I learned about these companies, I understood that they are actually putting into practice D&C 121. D&C 121 is a roadmap to become a successful manager and company.
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood (or responsibility), only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; D&C 121:41
This verse does not only apply to our homes and church, but also to every aspect of our lives. Those maniac or omniscient bosses I described will eventually leave a company. And for most of them, there will be a party wishing them well when they leave. What they do not know is there will be an even bigger party when they finally walk out the door. They will be forgotten as soon as people can erase their memory. Within a couple of years, they will not be mentioned.
Compare that with someone that left my place of work over a year ago. He is constantly mentioned, and many people still call him for advice or just to talk. His legacy will go on for many years.
There is a saying that goes as follows: It is better to be respected than loved. In my opinion, this is a saying for people who want to justify treating people poorly. It is possible for us to be respected and loved, and D&C 121 gives us the blueprint to get there.
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