By Ron Pestone – Back again after a couple of weeks on the road. Part 1 discussed management by fear. Part 2 discusses management by respect.
Another camp, the one I subscribed to, is to manage by respect. Your people are not looking for another friend, what they want is to work for someone they can respect. They are not always going to love him but they sure as hell will always respect him. You know the type, they set a high bar for what they expect in their employees and the high bar they set begins with the high bar they set for themselves. In short their very example of how they conduct themselves sets the tone for the company. While more often than not they can be very demanding about what they want from their employees they are toughest on themselves.
It begins with how they see their employees. They see them as people and not as numbers. They understand they have families, they bleed, they cry and they laugh. They understand that they have concerns as well as short comings and as long as they make a positive contribution to the company they have a home.
These managers do not need it all for themselves they are not narcissistic. They think of others sometimes, managers in the other camp never do. When there is a problem they discuss it in private. As a rule they never ridicule or humiliate their people in public. Now don’t get me wrong these managers are not weak patsies. They make it clear what they expect and if a private conversation with the offending employee does nothing they show him the door. Good managers fire bad guys and they do it for a reason. If you don’t cut the bad guys out the whole company will be affected.
I do not know why this happens and while I have had this discussion many times with many managers and owners no one seems to have an answer why this almost always happens. If you take a good guy working for you in the field and you pair him with a bad guy you almost always end up with two bad guys.
One of a managers responsibilities, and he owes it to all the good guys working for him as well as the company, is to cut the bad guys out of the company. Years ago a top executive in a huge public authority told me it was one thing being nice it was quite another thing to be foolish. Good managers are often nice but rarely foolish, they cut the dead wood. There is a saying in the business, “never carry dead wood unless you want to make a fire”.
The two most important attributes managers have in this camp are sharing praise as well as profits. They understand that saying and doing are two different things. As they say, “ talk is cheap”.