I have been working for a while. My first paycheck was obtained with the help of a work permit at the age of 15. After a few years of baby sitting and volunteering as a camp counselor, I was eager to bring home a check with my name on it.
I’ve worked with the public (the customer), employees, kids, young adults, parents, supervisors, managers, executives, CEO’s, boards of directors, vendors, skilled and unskilled workers, and in almost every industry. My employer has placed me in a dark room with no windows, at a counter, in a factory, on the plant floor, at a desk, in a cubicle, in an office, a closet (it was called an office once a desk was placed there.) on a stool, and in a chair. I’ve worked in non-profits, higher education, elementary schools, secondary schools, corporaations, family owned-businesses, mid-sized firms, multi-national organizations, urban offices, high rises, suburban locations, rural business, store fronts, strip malls, and out of my home office. So – I’ve seen some stuff.
This week a client asked me if I thought management had changed over the time I’ve spent working. So I thought about all the job’s I’ve had and more specifically, all the bosses I’ve had, as well as what I’ve learned and what’s I’ve observed in my work.
Basic good management skills are the same today as they’ve been since I started working. The fundamental aspects of the job apply — the ability to get work done through others through interpersonal involvement.
As an employee, I know that the best managers gave me clear goals, support to achieve them, feedback to improve and reinforce behaviors, and opportunities for development. They were role models who communicated well. They asked for input, ideas, and feedback, and then demonstrated that they listened to those things. They helped me see the big picture and shared the organizations goals and challenges. The poor managers didn’t.
Good management wasn’t ever about the use (or lack thereof) of technology, or the latest fad or business book or metaphor. It wasn’t tied to the stock price, or a pay raise, or a bonus. It never had to do with fear. yelling, or short term bottom-line outcomes.
I just don’t think good management has changed. No matter what “they” say.