Month: January 2011

ProActive vs ReActive a huge difference

It snowed like crazy last night and today. The city is frozen out. Decision time. Are you a great manager or are you a manager.
Let me give you the best example I have seen in many years. Sean, manager over a critical needs area knew the situation. The entire city was shut down. No one was coming to work. Sean took action. While most of the city was reacting to the hype of bad weather, while most of the city was hunkering down and reacting to the news by making excuses why they could not go to work, Sean acted.
The night before the huge storms he planned his staff. He contacted them, he arranged with them, he shared with them. They were prepared for what was coming. While everyone else, including my work group spoke of nothing but why they probably would not be able to make it into work, Sean’s team was already into a completely different mode and had enacted a solution to a problem that did not yet exist.
Sean arranged transportation for his group through a service that would not be stopped by inclement weather.
My usual 55 minute drive to work was the longest of any of my coworkers. All of them shared the day before that if this storm happened they would not be able to make it in. As I said goodby to them that afternoon, I said to all of them, see you tomorrow and without exception they said, ‘we’ll see.’ But you see, by my words you already know my ACTION. I was coming to work. I had made my decision. I had enacted MY plan. And it was one that I knew I could put into place and make happen. Everyone else was waiting to react to whatever was coming our way. My 55 minute drive took almost two hours today, I knew it would, I planned for it.
After six hours on our desks only one other of my 9 member crew had come to work. Of Sean’s crew all five had made it to work. And as I spoke with my managers, supervisors and superiors I noted that none of them had come to work either.
A manager/boss, sets the tone for the office by their own actions. I and Sean had taken ACTION while everyone else reacted to the storm. Sean had his people catered in for their respective assignments and catered home, picking up his second shifters on the way.
As I sit here, now alone, I note that unless something changes, my second shift will be without staff. How critical is it that this job be manned 24 hours a day? Well, if your facility intends to operate 24 hours a day then the support staff they employ needs to know they are important to the organization and especially to their manager.
Sean not only made arrangements for his staff to be here, he was the one picking them up. He worked all day and then into this night making sure his vital department staff understood their importance to the organization. I only understood that if I neglected my duties probably every other person on my crew would ignore theirs. I planned my course of action and made it happen. Was it easy? When most people give up or give in it’s then that you realize who has the strength of character you are looking for.
Sean is one of the GREAT MANAGERS I talk about. How about you? Did you stay home and hope your staff made it to work? Did you stay home and hope your staff would help you out?
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Maya Angelou & Great Managers?

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.
– Maya Angelou  

That sure sounds great doesn’t it? Don’t complain. But we all complain don’t we? I haven’t met anyone so far who hasn’t. Still hoping to meet that one or two who never do but then not wanting to meet them because it would make me think about how they do that, so I should do it. But in the mean time…

What does a great manager need to do in order to reduce all complaining? 

Listens and learns from a great staff that he has either inherited or put together. If your staff doesn’t like something, allow them, no, encourage them to share it with you. Offer your true interest in hearing and listening to all of their ideas, thoughts and challenges. Encourage them to share all ideas, all worries and make no comments or judgements about them.

 Tell them you are happy they came to you. Tell them how you will look into their ideas or complaints.

And then as you figure out what they really need, what they really meant…  share with them how you will act upon what they said. Keep them in the loop, make them feel special and valued.

 Notice at the beginning that I asked, what do you need to do to REDUCE all complaining. You will never be able to eliminate complaining. It’s part of who we are. But reducing the significant negativity that comes with complaints will make you a much more highly valued manager so that one day you become a Great Manager and one that others will want to recruit or reward for your knowledge and ability to manage great teams of people.

great managers are made not born.