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For those of you who don’t already know…

In Management on June 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

…I am a nerd. Sad but true.

I was doing my thing this morning, putting conditioner in my hair, washing my face, brushing teeth, etc. You get the picture. What is going through my mind? Business. Management. My idea of what good management is. Sad.

Take, for instance, owners vs. managers. I don’t know a ton of business owners, but in my 37 years, the business owners I have known did not really make good managers. (Yes, I’m serious. This is the shit I think about. A NERD.) I may have read this somewhere, maybe talked with my second ex-husband (hi, Jason!) about it. I am not claiming all these ideas as my own. This is just how I feel about it. (What I am saying here is that it is Saturday morning, and I am not going to take the time to look up references to give credit to those who might have had these ideas first. If we are all cool with that, let’s continue. If not, stop reading now.)

I think sometimes owners have a conflict of interests, so to speak. They have a little too much invested in the situation to make good management choices. There are certain people who are naturally good managers. They are organized in their thought processes, intuitive to human nature and are able to delegate effectively. Owners should find these people, hire them then step back and let them make the business thrive.

I formed many of my ideas about what is good management from Charles Dickens. I grew up reading Dickens. He had a way of teaching empathy for fellow humans. A good manager understands that. She understands that what is important to her is important to those she manages. If you are a manager, and you think it is important to get home to your family a little early on a holiday, most likely your employees will too. If you feel that taking a few hours off to see your child’s kindergarten program is a priority, make sure your employees know they are encouraged to do the same. A Christmas Carol should be required study for every person going into business for themselves. What did Mr. Scrooge learn from his ghostly visitors? Living life is more valuable than gaining wealth. Not that I have anything against gaining wealth, as long as it is not at the expense of a life well lived, yours or your employee’s.

Animal behavior studies should also be included. As the song says, “You and me baby, we ain’t nothin’ but mammals…” (Bloodhound Gang…there, reference and link, ha!) We really are just animals. Much of what drives us and motivates us is psychological. We can easily be manipulated and persuaded to do things. I remember reading an article in The Stockman Grass Farmer about gentle animal management. I can’t remember who wrote it. I worked in the advertising department, so any reading was for my own interest and not part of the job. However, I loved reading that magazine. (Allan Nation is one of those awesome people I am glad I got to hang around with at least for a little while in my 37 years.) This author said that the best way to manage cattle was to lead not drive. When cattle are driven, they become obstinate and nervous and just don’t want to go where you want them to go. They will, however, follow a gentle leader who knows their psyche and responds to them based on that knowledge.

Are we really that much different? Ever heard the saying, “You get more flies with honey”? It is the same concept. If a manager takes time to learn a little human psychology and apply it, I think he will be a more effective manager and really get a lot of outstanding work from the employees. Learn what makes people tic. I bet you get more and better performance that way. I read somewhere that people perform more for praise than a raise. Personally, I would like both in combination, but you get the idea. A feeling of accomplishment is a big time motivator for a good employee. I am assuming you have taken the time to hire good employees. The other kind really have no business being in your company.

Ok, nerd moment over. Time to get ready for my date tonight. I’m thinking Maggie Moos and a nice drive is a good first date. What do you think?

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