In the past few months I have been thinking of management styles, techniques and plain and simple the profile of a manager in the dawn of a new era. This might seem like a fairly boring statement but In my opinion, management and especially the profile of a manager has changed dramatically.
I am one of those people that didn’t study management at all. When I left the SAPS as an instructor I was shaped into being a manager that told people what they should do and they simply had to do it. In the years that followed I had the privilege to work with great people such as Jorge Ferreira from Protea Coin and other great leaders. I suddenly saw a whole new world of leadership and took note of those skills I felt I needed to enhance and learned from their good qualities.
The next obvious step was to look at the management skills that were required to ensure a low personnel turn over and a team that delivered quality service and professional skills. In my career I have been through the curve ball many times. Put into a position to lead graduates and highly intelligent, dynamic and professional individuals, but I also got those that were perception managers that simply fooled everyone including myself to believe that they were outstanding managers.
A few months ago I realized that I have been running after a personal goal so intensely that I completely missed a very obvious and definite change that took place within the management industry. Successful managers have changed! From what I perceived to be the qualities for an ideal manager has transformed without me even realising it has done so.
By now you are probably thinking I am on some drugs or maybe even worse, completely asleep! Well, if what I discovered is old news I sincerely apologise but I thought making it open for public scrutiny will be an ideal way of improving myself as an individual.
Within the training industry there are many guidelines about management and the pros and cons of each of these styles. But there is no clear indication as to which techniques are the best simply because each situation and each individual are unique in the best way of how to manage them as well as in how management styles will suit a specific individual. In a true sense a manager should know when to utilize specific management styles to accomplish specific goals or to achieve the best success with specific individuals.
So just how does it apply to my observation? There is a major difference between a manager of 15 years ago and a manager today! That major difference in my opinion is this:
- 10 years ago we had people with a different upbringing working for us compared to now.
- Kids of today are told more about how good they are and how wonderful they are compared to the previous decades where they were kept in their place and disciplined differently. The new workforce is entering the market and thus requires a different skill from years ago. Motivating them is a whole new ball game and the same applies to disciplining them.
- The “Brat Pack” as I like to call them is all wiser, less respectful and achieves more if not told directly that they know nothing of much importance. The old saying of “RULE 1: A manager is always right! RULE2: If a manager is proven wrong refer back to rule1”; no longer applies.
- The league of managing by example is in the up and up. Although this has always been a great way of achieving results it has not always been the preferred technique by many in management positions. The old style of managing people by sitting at the desk and ordering them around no longer works as effectively as before. New managers need to be more involved in their team members and in the execution of their responsibilities than years ago.
- The employees are more protected and have more rights than before. This directly influences management styles and although this is a quality that has changed ages ago it has a greater impact now as South Africans are much better educated on the subject than ever before.
- Job demands have changed dramatically and thus require much more from managers than years ago.
- Everyone that has read Sun Tzu's “The Art of War”, would agree with me that the new manager has to focus more on the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their team members than ever before.
- What I notice more and more is how so many Dale Carnegie hopefuls are entering the market. They all seem to miss the point that the Dale Carnegie approach, although extremely valuable, was designed in a time during the early 1900’s when leaders and managers were filled with the “Low relationship and high task orientated” managers. The balance was so bad that the soft approach that Dale Carnegie advocated was revolutionary and unheard of by most. However in today’s world it seems the balance has tilted in the opposite direction. Managers have become soft and often find themselves in a High relationship and low task orientated position, without wanting to.
- Managers are younger. Due to the rise in the amount of Small to Medium sized businesses you find a flatter organisational structure and younger less experienced managers in positions where they often have greater responsibilities. They are dynamic individuals that achieved many milestones in their young lives, but haven’t got the experience in dealing and managing individuals because of their age. They often shield top-management from their employees but at the same time are easier to work with and to manipulate by top management.
- It seems that networking amongst competitors and their managers are on the increase as it improves strategies for business management.
- The closed management approach is less and less successful. No longer are the old and trusted business management techniques as effective as a more open minded strategy where managers are looking for new ways and new technology to enhance their management styles. Lateral thinking is definitely a very valuable asset for any manager in today’s fast technological growing world.
To me as an individual it is interesting to hear other’s opinions about this topic. Managerial techniques has always fascinated me, and realising that I myself still have much to learn from others love to hear your comments on this issue.