Many of today’s managers, even relatively young managers, were taught how to manage people by “tough” managers from the past. The degree of “toughness” depends on industry and era. You could have been trained in a restaurant kitchen by a chef who idolised the Gordon Ramsay style of teaching others – belittling, shouting, throwing things. You may have worked under a gruff foreman who only communicated the things you did wrong, told you that you were stupid and that they may as well do the work themselves. Or you may have worked for a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world, who believed she had to “out-tough” the toughest.  These, and similar styles, are not styles of management for today.

These styles of management still exist, but often because the manager is struggling with being firm, demanding performance and high standards but doesn’t know any other way.  You sometimes hear that “It worked for me” But did it really? It is time to learn a new way of leading and managing.

How can we manage for today and still achieve high standards of performance? 

Firstly we need to separate what you want to achieve from how you do it. It is OK to require high standards and levels of performance (so long as you are not being unreasonable), but it is not OK to bully people into doing it.

A few things you can implement into your management processes to help people to achieve your standards and goals are:

  • Integrate your orientation, personal development and performance management processes so that they support each other to communicate expectations of performance levels and to develop the skills and attributes of your team. They should empower staff and provide motivation to achieve.
  • Communicate in a meaningful way. Ensure that your communication processes allow for two way communication and feedback; that ideas are sought, captured and acted on, and that messages reinforce the culture of performance in a positive way.
  • Coach people to do better, provide regular feedback, reinforce the good and correct the not so good. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they want to do well, are capable of doing well, but have not yet learnt all they need to know.
  • When it becomes apparent that there is a serious performance issue, deal with it at the time. Implement fair and consistent consequences with the goal of improvement.

Every organisation, every team member will be different and things may not always go to plan; but if you are firm but fair, consistent in your approach and treat people with respect, it will work most of the time.

If you would like to discuss management and leadership further, get in touch for a chat, or register to come to our Leadership Unconference on November 25.