Finding & Developing Your Personal Management Style - Transmission Digest

Finding & Developing Your Personal Management Style

You are a unique individual. There is no one else exactly like you in the entire world. The way you look and act, the way you think and feel, they are all yours. You have certain strengths and weaknesses that have helped and or hindered you your whole life. One of the keys to being a successful manager of people and business is to recognize and build on those strengths and work toward eliminating as many weaknesses as possible.

Finding & Developing Your Personal Management Style

It's Your Business

Author: Terry Greenhut, Business Editor
Subject Matter: Shop management
Issue: Your style

It’s Your Business

  • Author: Terry Greenhut, Business Editor
  • Subject Matter: Shop management
  • Issue: Your style

Fifth in a series

You are a unique individual. There is no one else exactly like you in the entire world. The way you look and act, the way you think and feel, they are all yours. You have certain strengths and weaknesses that have helped and or hindered you your whole life. One of the keys to being a successful manager of people and business is to recognize and build on those strengths and work toward eliminating as many weaknesses as possible.

As you mature in the profession your methods may change somewhat as you learn and experience more, but your core values won’t change much if at all. For example, if you are a person of high integrity, everything you do will reflect that. You will never be intentionally dishonest or try to cheat an employee, a customer, or a supplier. You will design solutions to problems that fit your core values; you won’t change them to suit a particular situation.

The good news is that there are different management styles so you aren’t going to have to fit into one mold. You can choose what works best for you and that may be a combination of the different management styles. Being able to recognize your preferences and biases helps to develop a style with which you can live. People will follow along if you are consistent and predictable. They hate it when the boss or someone they do business with keeps changing the game. Above all, be as real as you can. Keeping up an act that isn’t really you is a monumental task. You’d have to work at it 24/7, and if you falter at all people will start to see right through it and you may lose the two most important factors, the trust and respect of the people with whom you do business and manage.

Although each of us is unique and will achieve goals each in our own way, we basically fit into one of three management types, which isn’t to say that we can’t inject attributes of the other management styles to make us more well rounded. We could either be the Value Driven Manager, the Political Manager, or the Results Driven Manager.

The Value Driven Manager:

Most everything this type of person does, both in his or her business and personal life, is determined by their sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. These managers would cheat themselves out of time or money, but never an employee, a customer, or a supplier. They would measure an employee’s or a supplier’s performance based on their honesty and integrity more than any other factor. As a shop owner I recall that the unforgivable act of an employee was lying to me. Of course I cared when mistakes were made but I could forgive them and try to retrain the offender so they wouldn’t happen again, but the one thing I couldn’t abide was a lie. When an employee would tell me that he didn’t do something when I knew darn well he did, I saw red, and that person, although I might tolerate him or her, I would never really trust anything they ever told me again to be the truth without first checking it out myself.

One question I always asked myself when making a sale to a customer: Am I providing value at least equal to the price I’m charging? If not, I either shouldn’t be selling it at that price or I need to find a way to build more value into the sale.

It’s important that you convey your values to your employees. They need to know how serious you are if you want them to follow along. When hiring new employees try to find out their values up front so you aren’t surprised after they start working for you.

Don’t hire people who you don’t think will measure up to your standards because they probably won’t. Remember, firing people is much harder than hiring them, so you might very well put up with someone for a long time who should have been gone. We’ve all been guilty of that at some point. Interviewing carefully and not hiring out of desperation will help you avoid that type of situation.

The Political Manager:

Not political in terms of being elected to an office. As a manager or business owner you already have the job so it’s not like you’re running to get it, but you are constantly running to keep it. A good political manager then is someone who keeps the ball rolling in terms of promoting the business with different marketing methods and by meeting new people at various events who might one day be customers or be in a position to help you grow the business, keeping relationships strong with existing customers, and striking a rapport with employees that makes them want to work for you.

To be political you must be outgoing, and I know that’s difficult for some of us who have been mechanics and are all of a sudden thrust into the world of ownership or management. We are used to relating to vehicles more than people. Many of us are introverts who shy away from social situations, but that needs to change if you want to be successful. You have to get involved with people and causes that can help your business.
Keep abreast of events that are taking place in your area, then not only attend but get involved to a point where others will see what you are doing to help. When you meet people in what I like to call non-threatening situations, meaning that you aren’t trying to sell them anything, and they have the chance to find out what a good person you are, when they do need the type of services you offer, they are much more likely to come to you.

The Results-Driven Manager:

This type of manager is focused almost entirely on the bottom line. He or she keeps statistics on every phase of the business, always looking to tweak out every bit of profit. They work on efficiencies that can save money and often push their employees to produce more, even if their production rate is already high.

These are no-nonsense managers. If the numbers aren’t there they will make changes quickly to systems, personnel or both. They are not easy to get along with unless production is high and comeback rates are low. If this type of manager cuts it too close by skimping on the quality of the parts or by taking chances on reusing parts that should have been replaced, his or her comeback rate will increase and, of course, production will decrease. Should that happen, employees need to go hide somewhere because this manager is also not the type who wants to take the blame for anything that goes wrong. Thinking only about the bottom line is not a good course of action for a manager to take. Although it is important there are too many other factors to consider.

Which type of manager are you?

Hopefully you are a combination of all three with a strong sense of values, a knack for seeing political opportunities, and are no-nonsense when it comes to getting results. Pushing too hard in any one direction can hurt more than it helps. There needs to be some, even if it isn’t much, flexibility in your style. People with whom you deal need to know that you are approachable and that you will accept good suggestions and re-evaluate issues when it is called for.

There is an inverse proportion you need to know about that some managers only learn the hard way. It is this: The more you curse or yell, the less you get out of people. Some managers think that type of action motivates their crew, but it doesn’t. It only serves to make them live in fear and want to hide out from the boss. They won’t make suggestions or do anything above and beyond exactly what they are supposed to be doing for fear of retribution, so they go along day after day producing just enough work not to get yelled at and they hide any mistakes the best they can. They don’t like the boss and if another offer comes along, sometimes even at less money, they will be gone in a shot.

I had a competitor years ago who was so unstable that if a couple of things went wrong or even if it was only one big and costly thing he would rant and rave and then fire the whole crew. He would push their tool boxes outside and lock the doors before the employees would come in the next morning.

Then, like an alcoholic wife beater, he would realize what he did and hire most, if not all, of them back. As a result he couldn’t keep a good crew and the work would suffer for it till it finally put him out of business. Although that is an extreme case, some degree of it exists in many workplaces making it very difficult for people to come happily to work each day and produce.

To get the most out of people they need to be praised when they do things right, not yelled at or threatened when they do something wrong. Think about how you would feel having to go to work each day under the constant threat of being fired or screamed at. Not pleasant, is it?

Always try to keep in mind, as you manage people, how you would feel being on the other end of either good or bad treatment by your boss or how you would respond as a customer or supplier to being treated well or poorly, then work toward creating a management style of your own that takes all of that into account. Remember that your success as a manager isn’t so much about what exactly you do as it is about what the people you do business with think and feel about what you do.

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