Management Style

When I first moved into a leadership role, my style was inclusionary to a point.  That point was when I felt decision was taking too long.  Well that is how I would rationalize it.


Well experience has taught me a great deal and my management style has changed.

I describe it as Trust, Respect and Consistency.

trusthandsTrust that each and every person comes to work each with the desire to work hard and leave at the end of the day feeling successful.

  1. A leaders job is to define what success is for each role, specifically how that success can tie directly to the growth or profitability of the organization
  2. A leaders job is to ensure their teams can feel empowered to focus on the priorities that will drive success instead of getting caught up in the noise of Urgent, BUT not Important tasks
  3. This trust is not without the control you have to validate the progress on the work is actually being done and when completed done right.  This is trust with confidence.

respect.jpgI will respect all the work and experience that every person has done and is doing.  I may not agree with how or what they were doing, but that takes nothing away from what they have done each and every day they worked at the organization.

When I start at an organization I am the LEAST seniority person there.  Everyone else knows the informal rules of the place better than I.  I do respect that foremost.

I will strive to be consistent.  consistent

  1. Simple things like showing up for work the same time each day, so everyone knows when you will be there.
  2. Bigger things like how treating each person that difficult combination of the same, but also how they wish to be treated
    • That individual who likes engagement, spend the extra time listening regardless of how well you know what they are saying
    • That individual who is uncomfortable with talking, make those engagements shorter and where they are most comfortable, but more frequent
  3. When you say things are a priority, make them a priority each day through your actions.
    1. If project A is the top priority, but that loud argumentative peer keeps asking you and your staff about project B, C or other you need to stand up publicly.
      • My best suggestion is to play dumb with that peer – continually stating you don’t understand why what they want is more important then project A, but would they explain it. – Works like a charm.

This consistency is what will breed the trust of others in return for giving them your trust and respect.




Rule #7 Laughter is a sign of a well performing team, not slackers

Sure, if all that is done is people hanging out in each other’s desks chatting up and exchanging the latest jokes, fantasy sports picks and recaps of the weekend well your problem is not your staff, but you. But, that is handled much better by smarter people than I, like –

Stephen Covey – too many books to mention

Tom Rath – Strength Based Leadership

Patrick Lecioni – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Marty Wolff – a plug for my favorite emotional intelligence/change management guy

My point is that during my 20 plus years in small to large organizations I have seen various reactions from management when they see/hear a group of employee’s gathered and laughing together.    

The ‘what the hell’ reaction – manager either looks over disapprovingly like a hawkish librarian or walks over and directly “Let’s break this up” or indirectly “Excuse me everyone, I need to talk to one of you”.    


The ‘this is a place of business’ reaction – manager explains that we are serious here and all are working hard and there is no cause for this banter and frivolity. Okay, that is a bit of Oliver Twist style management.


 The ‘can I join in’ reaction – manager scampers over to the group to be part of the team.

There are others. Each of the above are wrong reactions. The response versus a knee jerk reaction should be a simple smile at the group and perhaps nodding up and down to show you approve.


Okay, breath – woooosh. I am okay now. Most of the time organizations place groups of people at odds with each other as one tries to feed the other information, forms, and so on. Pushing down or up the line requests or orders. They need to work well together and that starts with them having a relationship that will help them communicate and understand each other when problems arise. And problems will arise, damn shooting they will.

Therefore, you want to smooth out the problems.

Get the focus on the solutions and not on who caused what to happen.

Well, let them laugh and show them it is okay.

This is a touchy subject for me on two counts.

  1. That I as the employee were talked to about spending too much time having fun and not being ‘serious’ about his work.
    • Trust me I was never involved with any busy that you should be that serious about – not curing cancer, defending the country or ensuring that playcall was correct upon review.
  1. As a manager in several roles including executive, I had to respond to it being brought to my attention that members of my team were seen gathering and laughing and that I should be aware that the ‘perception’ that activity projects.
    • I would listen and express to them that the perception is countered by their successful execution what we do, the laughter is not a by product, but the fuel for that success.





Build a culture of fun, hard work, and no fear of failure. It will breed success.

Start with the fun part.         

Rule #6 Spend more time in other people’s offices and cubicles than your own

Spend more time in other people’s offices and cubicles than your own, especially between 9 and 4pm.

This is a simple rule that we all get caught up in when we have in our mind a ‘major’

  • report
  • presentation
  • budget
  • performance reviews
  • contract to review
  • project plan
  • etc…

to do and we virtually lock ourselves in our office for the entire day.



The door may be open to comply with your open door policy, but your body language indicates to those people who come to you for     

  • advice
  • help
  • direction
  • approval
  • etc…

that the door may be open, but you are closed for business today.

We have that work to do that requires focus, but it should not be for the entire day.

Use good time management practices of working on that ‘major’ thing first thing in the morning for 15, 30, or 60 minutes and then stop.

Meet with the people you need to collaborate with, but out of your office. Your team needs to see you each and every day you are in the office.

  • Check on that project status.
  • Give a high five for that customer who was satisfied because that person went above and beyond
  • Give a head slap to that person who has falling behind or not giving the effort needed
  • Take the temperature of the group
  • Check in with a peer on how that trip they just returned from went

Then, get back to the office for another 15, 30, or 60 minutes on the ‘major’ effort.

Your are part of a team, you need to be with the team (your area, your peers area, the company as a whole).