Buy the Book!



Tough times, higher productivity, demanding customers, organizational restraints and an environment that is about as predictable as a knuckleball serve as the backdrop for the return to, the often overlooked, but crucial set of skills that have been around since the first train wreck of the 1840’s ushered in its formal beginning. The birth and growth of the role of manager is the result of an accident that could have been avoided. Over one hundred and fifty years later, the approach to managing is symbolic of that train wreck, and the oncoming collision between ‘business profits’ and ‘people issues’ represents one of the emerging challenges in which managers are placed in the middle and told to prevent the accident. However, the much practiced skill of yelling ‘HALT’ has rarely prevented an organization from running into itself. Managing is the application of a set of defined skills to a process (management) designed facilitate the accomplishment of tasks performed by people to achieve an organization’s primary objective. Note, the operative word is the ‘organization’s’ primary objective, not the manager’s ‘personal’ objective. This reality, combined with the overwhelming need to do ‘something different’ in order to compete, suggests that businesses search the heavens for new answers to difficult problems. The problems may be complex, but the answers may be simple. Perhaps the search is not a matter of looking up, but looking around.
An examination of the internal approach to what constitutes good ‘management’ should be one part of a larger examination of the organizational soul. While one Regional Vice President of a local retail organization lamented that ‘good’ managers are hard to find, the counter argument to that statement is that good managers are easy to ‘build.’ The thinking behind this approach is that managing is primarily ‘skill-based’ as well as an applied process that is rooted in an organizations’ mission. It is the uniqueness of the times that warrant a full throttle break from Management 90210, and a return to the basics of Management 101. Those basics include teaching, training and supporting the role of managers and the process of management with a focus on:
Communication skills: This set of skills never go away, nor will they ever because it sits at the heart of the management process. Managers have to ask questions, listen to what is being said, think about and process what is being heard, and convey direction through one-on-one or group interactions. The advent of email was to supplement the communication process, not replace it altogether.
Problem-Solving skills: Some of the unique problems that land in a manager’s cubicle rarely require a new and elaborate approach to finding a solution. Most of the time, pulling together employees for a half hour and using a basic problem solving approach will resolve many simple problems before they become complex.
Decision-making skills: The process of management is about timely decisions made and solutions implemented. Managers, by definition, have a certain range of decision making authority. It is always wise to gather input on decisions that have an impact beyond an individual department, but it is important to remember that input leads to recommendations, the manager still has to decide.
Delegation skills: It won’t get done if the load isn’t shared. Assign whole tasks and the needed authority that contribute to the completion of work and the growth of staff members.
Morale skills: Managers are expected to set the tone for the attitudes within the work environment. What makes for a great workplace is not the luck of having happy employees, but the atmosphere established by a manager who understands the importance of making sure that everyone is ‘OKAY’.
The work of a good manager is not a matter of how they work, but how they go about getting work done. It’s as basic as that.

© 2013 Lee E. Meadows
Website Design by