While machines can be replaced, data restored and buildings rebuilt, we know that the one true precious resource is people. It is for this reason that being able to manage different people plays a larger than expected part in one’s career.
A means to an end
The first thing to realize is that a job is a different means to a different end for different people. Some see work as escapism from their family or home situation. Others see work solely as a way to pay the bills. Baseball slugger Barry Bonds recently admitted that baseball served to provide for his family.
No cheesy lines about bringing a smile to the faces of kids. In his case, and this is no surprise, his father was an athlete, so young Barry viewed that profession as just that: a profession. Even when someone with such a special and unique job candidly admits that his job is a paycheck, you can imagine why so many average Joes fail to see it any other way.
Admittedly, many people see their jobs as far more than that. Some are driven by money, others by respect, others by status, and still others by fame. Depending on exactly what drives these employees, it is very easy to push them to deliver more.
Any great manager will admit that his greatest role is being an effective cheerleader. If you can get others to generate an above average output, then you have done half your job. You only complete your mandate if you train your employees to be the same way with their troops in turn. This is the Jack Welch way and this is how one becomes the complete manager.
As you can imagine, education plays a large role as well since higher education means a higher ceiling. Employers acknowledge this as it is a sign that you are flexible, a learner, and possess some skills that others may not.
Most people would be more content if there was no ceiling. My personal opinion is that regardless of color, standard of living, creed, or religion, anyone can remove the ceiling if they prepare themselves for it and are willing to work hard. I am by no means implying that the level of difficulty is the same across the board, rather, it is a glass ceiling for all, and glass can be shattered.
It is very hard to categorize people, but ultimately, many in management view employees in some of the following categories:
Some people are followers and are more than willing to be instructed on what to do. These types of employees are aplenty in larger corporations and represent the vast majority on payroll. Also, there is a propensity to have such employees in established, mature, conservative, and routine industries. Such employees are usually loyal and deliver what is expected, but seldom do more. Companies that benefit from market leadership and strong, ethical, dedicated, and visionary upper management usually have many such employees.
Sadly, there are many employees who would otherwise fall in this first category, but lack the loyalty and dedication of this first group. This second group is more cynical and usually discredits upper management as not knowing what they are doing. Yet, despite the constant complaints and cynicism, this second group offers little. They view their job as 9 to 5, are the last ones in and the first ones out. Companies that are not in a position of leadership, or who are driven by poor managers, usually have more cynics than loyalists.
And where do the leaders fit in?
Leadership is a very important trait in business. But leaders ultimately fall into the following 2 groups:
These are the ones that lead by words, actions, and are generally seen as the ones who are expected to lead and manage. While many of these people are in official positions of leadership, sometimes you see potential future leaders in unconventional positions on the way up.
Depending on whether they are loyalists or cynics, they either play a part within a company’s future or are shoved to the side by nervous managers. Vocal leaders are in it for success and fame. The more you skew towards success, the quicker you will move up. The more you emphasize fame, the lesser the impact of your career in the long-term.
Other leaders that are equally important are the silent leaders who lead by action. These guys usually do very well in performance reviews and are seen as important by senior management. Silent leaders generally regard management positively, but lack the desire and will to become official leaders. They view their work as that, but have the conviction to do a job well. Silent leaders are in it for success.
The importance of a mix
Surely you have heard the expression, “Too many cooks.” The same applies in corporations and business. Why would you want 10 leaders if no one will execute the goals? You can all have leadership qualities but in the end, not everyone can be the leader.
I recently saw a movie and a quote stuck with me. The more experienced character asked the rookie whether or not he wished to be a sheep or a wolf. And while no business, political, religious, or social leader would ever call followers sheep, sadly, you can imagine that they would rather not face resistance at all crossroads.
Small companies can get away with discussion because decision-making is swift and smooth. But imagine a bank or conglomerate that makes decisions in a top-down approach; do you really think that he seeks second doubts once decisions and orders have been rendered? Probably not.
Resistance may be low, but sadly, so is motivation. It is a given management tenet that change is much easier to undertake when everyone feels like a champion of it. As a result, by not getting people’s input, you not only face a lot of resistance in your execution, but you also have to double up efforts to motivate in the implementation.
While many senior managers may like followers, they understand that their long-term success will be based on their ability to recruit future leaders. For this reason, and in an admittedly machiavellian way, the personal advantage to having different levels of motivation in a company is that the eager ones will stand out quite a bit while the followers will fade into the background.
How do you manage everyone?
The key is to understand what motivates specific people. Once you do, getting them to follow your vision is rather easy. The challenge, though, is for them to trust you as a person; once you accomplish this, what you say is secondary.
Ash Karbasfrooshan is also the author of Course To Success, available at www.CourseToSuccess.com.