Get Serious About Management
By: Robert H. Kent, Ph.D., CMC
|President of The Mansis Development Corporation, Dr. Kent is a specialist in the structure and management of small and medium-sized organizations, and frequently serves as a personal coach and management consultant to executives for solving their management and employee performance problems. Before founding his consulting company, Bob held senior management and executive positions in federal and provincial government and private corporations. He has been a director of several health care and service organizations and a consulting member of private and government task forces in the areas of government finance, organization structure, personnel management and executive development. Since 1972 he has lectured in management at several Canadian and American universities in the faculties of Management, Administrative Studies, Medicine and Continuing Education where he has been an award winner for excellence in teaching and professional expertise; and he has published over 125 books and articles on management.
Not enough managers take management seriously. That's the feeling many
of my consulting associates and I get while knocking our heads against
walls trying to market better management practices. Unfortunately, in some
large bureaucracies, "management" is just a job title, a badge,
or a trophy and not perceived to be a function. Managers who take management
seriously seem to follow these rules.
- Get to know your subordinates well. You ought to be able to list all their
strengths and weaknesses.
- Make a point of holding regular group and individual meetings with employees
to discuss problems, issues, concerns, new plans and to solicit their ideas.
- Ask your employees for their feedback on your performance, especially on
your skill at giving clear direction.
- Play the appropriate role. Set the example by your own behavior; have a
passion for excellence, pro-action and teamwork; but keep your cool. Captain
Jean Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise isn't such a bad role
- Hold all your employees personally accountable for their on-the-job behavior
- Bend over backwards to ensure everyone knows what to do and how to do it.
Make it hard to misunderstand your directions or to fail. Your job is to
make sure everyone becomes a success.
- Have the guts to confront employee performance problems fast. Never procrastinate
or turn a blind eye to poor work or inappropriate behavior.
- Manage your supervisors and see to it that they all manage their people
properly and constructively. Do you really know what they're doing when
- Give everyone credit, praise and recognition when it's earned. Never hog
achievements in which others participated.
- Continuously enhance the self esteem of all your employees, at every interaction,
even when correcting poor work.
- Place "people management" at the top of your priorities; but
then plan and spend the time to do it. It's not an add-on but a significant
part of your time commitment.
- If it's your own company, build your good management practices into the
business. In today's knowledge society, people are not (surprisingly) your
most important asset. Your most important assets are your knowledge, skills
and abilities (including your processes) to attract good people to your
business, and to manage, motivate, train and develop them.