Effective Management Through Leadership
Article / Leadership
Effective Management Through Leadership
zesu wolde-georgis, Member, Management Consultant, Ethiopia
Concepts of Effective Management through Leadership.
Concepts of Effective Management through Leadership
Most people are natural followers most of their lives. They wait for instructions and expect leaders to tell them what to do. However, once a follower suddenly becomes a leader, then the perspective changes so quickly that few are able to cope effectively. As a result, the stereotypical horrible bosses emerge out of magnified personality disorders – the bully, the wimp, the mouthpiece and the psycho. We've all seen these with our managers at one point or another. If you find yourself suddenly placed in a management position, what are the basic concepts of management that you should master, if you wish to avoid being labeled as one of the above?
Lead By Example
As a manager, you should never expect your subordinates to perform tasks that you are unwilling to do by yourself. If you are asking for your employees to take Saturday shifts, work several Saturdays as well to show that you're not placing yourself above them or the company. If upper management hands down mandates that you don't personally agree with, you should never show your personal dissatisfaction to your staff, which will encourage your subordinates to behave in the same negative manner. Rather, learn to spin negative news to make the glass appear half full rather than half empty. You should realize that all your employees will mirror your attitude and behavior to some degree, as you are the model of “acceptable behavior” in the workplace.
Be Flawlessly Consistent
Consistency is the key to successful management. It is said that Sun Tzu, to demonstrate the importance of consistency to an emperor, held a military practice session using the emperor's concubines. When one of the concubines, the emperor's favorite, refused to participate in the “manly exercises”, Sun Tzu had her beheaded. Needless to say, practice went smoothly after that, as the other concubines realized that the punishments would be severe but consistent, and that favorites meant nothing. We're obviously not advocating such an extreme action, but the lesson is clear. As a manager, when you set the rules, they can't be broken – not even by your top employees or by yourself. Punishing your favorite employees or yourself for rule violations sends a loud, clear message – no one is exempt, and the rules are final.
Enough talk of military style strictness. Positive reinforcement is also a valuable tool in successful management. Ben Franklin famously stated, “Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” While you need to discipline employees for under performing, you should also reward and compliment them when they impress you. Positive behavior needs nurturing, and letting them taste honey is far more effective than force feeding them vinegar.
The popular “Yes Sandwich” – in which a manager leads with a compliment, “sandwiches” in the negative comment, and then closes with a second compliment – is a popular example of Franklin's philosophy. While the request for improvement was received, the employee doesn't feel insulted in the process.
Fire troublesome employees
However, we can't always afford to be nice. There are some employees that Yes Sandwiches are repeatedly wasted on the same time. I believed in publicly humiliating criminals, by parading them in front of the media for photo ops. This lack of subtlety sent a clear message – that no one was immune to the long arm of the law. Random shooting in a public and humiliating way to send a message to employees is important– if they wanted to keep their jobs; they'd better respect his decisions.
As a manager, publicly fire poor employees, in full view of the staff. Never mince words or discuss it behind closed doors, or tell the other employees that they left for “health reasons”. Firing an employee is never good for the company, but if it's necessary, you can at least use the firing to motivate your employees to stay on task.
Evolve as a Leader
Being all of these – the office patriarch, the good cop and the bad cop all at the same time – is never easy. That's why there are endless books written on successful office management. Don't be rigid, but stand your ground and evolve your management style through trial and error. No one ever said it was going to be easy.
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