Because there’s a steady stream of new managers in the corporate workplace, it’s necessary for the requisites of management to continue to be learned and relearned.
The WSJ has a recent piece that begins, “Wise bosses know that, sometimes, the best management is no management at all.” Well, I’d have to disagree with that statement to a certain extent, because it assumes that the meaning of “management’ is hanging over an employee’s shoulder and dictating orders. And, anyone who knows anything at all about management, from either an employee’s perspective or a manager’s role, knows that that isn’t true. In fact, that’s why we, in my company, go to great lengths in helping our corporate clients to hire the very best employees – so that, for the most part, those employees can function on their own, supplied with overall guidelines but with a minimizing of constant, distracting direction. Managers have a lot to do in the real role of looking after the general operation of the company – keeping all those moving parts moving together and in harmony, in other words. Managers lose their grip on this important, key function if they’re constantly enmeshed in the minutiae of the company and are, in essence, living it and working it in the place of their employees. In fact, although attention to small things is important from a management perspective, it’s even more important for the general manager to not have to be personally involved in those to any great degree. Frequent involvement in minutiae causes the manager to lose sight of the overall needs of the company – and it’s one of the classic ways in which managers fail. Tommy Lasorda knew what team work was all about and he described it this way: “I believe that managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly, you kill it. If you hold it too loosely, you lose it.” Teamwork and management – knowing how to interact well with one’s employees to make them feel significant and relevant but also knowing how to engage in what tasks are actually management tasks.