- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 3282 Hour
- Reading permission
A good manager is like a good parent. There is always the final objective in front. For the parent, it is for the child to develop into a good, healthy and successful human being. For the manager, it is for the business to develop into an ethical, growing and prosperous part of the economy. |
The good manager and the good parent work towards making their respective objectives a reality. More often than not, the methods are the same. If the child is naughty, the parent has to patiently explain why the behavior is wrong and also be firm and sometimes stern so that all will see there is a set of rules which are there only to help achieve the objective.
Likewise, if the staff is errant, the manager has to lead by example, show impartiality and exercise discipline. If the child or staff achieves something that fits into the objective, the parent or manager will show happiness and give reward or praise. It goes without saying that the objective must be stated clearly first.
In the case of the manager, what must be achieved by when and how must be laid out clearly so that everyone knows before the day or week begins. And just as the parent will provide feedback to the child that he or she has done so much better than the last time, for example, finishing the homework on time, so too the manager by way of providing feedback as much asking for good suggestions to be discussed with everyone.
However, it is increasingly becoming so nowadays that children and staff like to exercise their own traits and thinking and may not follow such an approach of regimenting by rules, rewards and discipline. When such a situation arises, the parent and the manager will have to improvise and use other supplementary methods. That's where the quality of a leader comes into play. The objective still remains the same but the way to get the child or the staff to achieve it may have to take a different path.
Often this means the parent or the manager becomes more a friend to the child than be seen only as the authority. So, how does one become a friend to someone who has been made to see you only as the supervisor? The way is to be inclusive. Hold more discussions and show the staff that you also can see things from his/her point of view. Assign him/her more responsibilities to show you can place more trust on the staff to handle things on their own but within limits and guidelines that you set clearly upfront.
Give face by one-to-one when telling the staff what are the shortfalls, but raise the shortfalls in general terms without mentioning anyone by name during staff meetings so that everyone gets into the picture of what standards are required of them, and why, without any prejudice or favor.
Learn how to read peoples' characters, and what motivates them. Provide more encouragement even when improvements are minor. Not everyone can improve immediately to the standard that one thinks is low.
Just as a parent is patient with the growing child, so too the manager with the learning staff. There will of course be staff who are difficult to control and whose behavior may affect the other better ones. In this case, be firm so that the others can appreciate there are standards to be met in order to achieve the objective of the business.
People also like to listen to stories. The human dimension is important in communication, so a good manager will always have a new story each day to tell the staff during the meeting or lunch together. Laughter, humor, wisdom, fairness, being able to see what will go wrong before it happens, and teaching staff how to show initiative ....these are some of the qualities of today's modern manager.
But that is not all. Sometimes the manager may be outstanding and appreciated by her staff but then again it happens the boss of the business is not very good. The manager then is like a bridge between the boss and the staff. So the manager must also have the skills of a diplomat, especially if what the staff want that they think they have earned, the boss will not give because he thinks only of his own business, forgetting that a business is based on the combined effort of everyone working to the same objective. This situation is slightly trickier but still we have all seen too many of such situations to not have to worry too much about them.
Each staff has his or own strength. The cook in the kitchen may be great in bringing out special dishes but he is terrible in keeping the kitchen hygienic. The cleaner may be too slow but she is thorough in keeping places clean. One waiter may show poor attitude towards customers, another may be forgetful, a third may be ambitious and want to become supervisor quickly, another may have personal problems, and so on.
The good manager will learn how to juggle all the weaknesses like a juggler throwing and catching six or seven balls into the air without one falling off, and then mix and match what they are each good in so that all won't be affected by one another's weaknesses. In other words, make the good points nullify the bad ones in one another.
I can link you to at least eight books for the first-time manager but here's one easy to read and interesting to try and apply:
Someone has written a summary of it here:
From Hangzhou to Suzhou i have walked past shops in the morning where the staff line up and sing songs before the shops open. You can see their supervisors giving them pep talks before the day starts. Good work, proper behavior and dressing, good customer service, honesty, perseverance, productivity etc...
These are indeed important but the people who are doing them may not know how important they are. In some of the developed economies, they are actually embedded in the work ethics of the staff so much so managers don't have to use too much effort to try and make such things happen. That is progress because after that it is just focusing on expanding the business and not just on training and control. Then everyone benefits, more money is made and there is job satisfaction, career progression and business growth.
I thought it would be difficult for me to write this piece but i have just banged it out of this keyboard without much thinking; there are many others who will have better ideas and points to make; i have been tired and may need to check if i am diabetic (fainting lately). I have also been concerned about the olympic torch relay around the world and worried for China.
But i always remember water0402, and can be counted to return to write something for her. I have just drunk a cup of tea, feeling very happy she's been made manager, facing new and weighty responsibilities! But if she is tired of work and wants to go back and finish her studies, we should all also encourage her. After all, the work will still be around but one should finish what is good that has been started.
Sometimes it is better to fail once in a more responsible position than to succeed many times in a lower one. If you fail once in the higher position, and then can pass the lesson down to a hundred attentive staff, the mistake can be avoided at least one hundred times after that.
The best managers don't manage. They lead and inspire.
oh, here's a photo of the Great Wall; fancy!