Managing Your Management Style

Types of managers

Management. Ask a room full of people what they think about “management” and stand back. The floodgates will open and everyone who has ever had a job working under a manager will share their horror stories. You’ll probably hear words like micromanage, overbearing, demanding, unreasonable… Be honest, whether you are a manager or are being managed, whether you own a small business or work for one, or whether you are a manager in a large company or a department employee, don’t you have that opinion of management?

Why is it that management gets such a bad name? Is there something inherently evil in the DNA of managers? Maybe. But more likely the problem with management is a combination of fear and a lack of knowledge.

Fear? Lack of Knowledge? Really? How did they ever start a company or rise to the level of management if they are scared and ignorant? The fear is most often a fear of letting go – of delegating real authority to the people they manage. And the knowledge they lack is how to impress their values and goals on those they manage so they don’t have to fear their team will fail without their direct involvement (read: micromanagement).

So, how can management improve? Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks has this to say in his book, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time:

"Early on I realized that I had to hire people smarter and more qualified than I was in a number of different fields, and I had to let go of a lot of decision-making. I can't tell you how hard that is. But if you've imprinted your values on the people around you, you can dare to trust them to make the right moves."

If more business owners and managers would overcome their fear of letting go and learn how to communicate their goals and values to those they manage, maybe, just maybe, that roomful of people would finally have some positive thoughts about management.

Have you had a good manager? What made them good?