Insurance Industry News from ProgramBusiness.comTough Positive Management!
Preface: This is the fifth in a series of eight articles on issues of importance to the management of organizations and the leadership of people. The first article created a Management "Jambalaya" using various ingredients - "leftover" ideas that still have application in the world of people and work. The articles that follow will use the same series of ingredients and a "fresh" approach to create an entrée – nutritious food for thought.
Disclaimer: This article includes the term Management in the title. The originator of this column suggested this name and I’ll honor his request. In my opinion, it is more about Leadership. I believe things and processes are managed and people are led. I believe all of business at its most basic level is about PEOPLE. PEOPLE who buy and use what we make (customers) and PEOPLE who make or deliver or provide what customers buy and use (manufacturers, distributors, providers, etc.).
If you disagree with this basic premise, that’s fine. People differ – that’s what makes business a challenge. You say pot_to… I say pot_to.
The Ingredient / Entrée – Tough Positive Management
The question is: Can management (leadership) be tough, positive, and effective?
I’m 56 years old. I stand 6’2" and weigh about 220 pounds. My mother is 4’11". I’ve been taller than Momma since I was in grammar school. Momma wasn’t physical in "managing my childhood" – she didn’t have to be. Intuition told me that I didn’t want her to get physical. She was firm. I respected that.
Geronimo (Mr.) and Kilroy (Mr.) were the daddies of some of my best friends. Both were Combat Veterans. When I was a boy, if I went into their houses, I’d take off my shoes at the door and lower my voice for fear of disturbing them. Today if I walk into their houses, I do the same.
These men never spoke a harsh word to me in my life and as a child I wasn’t about to give them a reason to do this. They were bigger than me and an awesome presence in my life. We weren’t friends; they were parents (family leaders). We didn’t negotiate their orders. If we asked why, they simply stated "because I said so." There was no ambiguity in our world. That was positive. I respected them.
Today, I’m bigger than both of them and yet I still stand in awe of them. As a boy, I respected their physical presence. As a man I respect them – who they are, what they know, and what they did and do. Most of all I remember the structure they provided in our world and I (we) respect them for it. It was positive.
That was then, this is now. As I walk through the mall, I see women taller than Momma and men bigger and "badder" than Geronimo and Kilroy negotiating with their children. These "kids" are running wild and their parents are attempting to rein them in with those most feared words, "Get over here now before I count to three. One, Two, Three…" Ambiguity.
Our world had structure. Parameters were clearly defined, expectations were created that we would honor these parameters, there was oversight of the process, we were held accountable, and the consequences were real and applied. It was tough but we respected our parents and the process.
Too often in today’s world in the name of fair, political correctness, kid’s self-esteem, popularity, consensus, etc. parents don’t provide clear parameters, expectations are not communicated, oversight is not consistent, accountability is "iffy", and consequences don’t always "track" behavior. For the kids it’s a much easier process but it does not build the respect for the parents or the system.
Effective Organizational Leadership is similar. It’s about creating (leading) in the establishment of an environment (parameters) for an organization and establishing a process (expectations, oversight, accountability, and conseClick for the whole story...