An enormous amount has been written regarding management styles, best practices, techniques, and theories. I applaud the authors, social scientists, academics, and business leaders whom have put their thoughts into print and have greatly forwarded the occupation of professional management. In fact, I have read many of their books and their collective thought has made me a better manager.
My first suggestion to you is to become a voracious reader and learn as much as you can from these thought leaders in management and leadership. My second suggestion to you is take this knowledge, combine it with your personal experiences, strengths, weaknesses, values, likes, dislikes, and personality type and define the management style that works best for you.
The management style to create should be uniquely you, not uniquely someone else. You may have had a manager that you so highly respected you made the decision to manage just like him/her. Alternatively, you may have read a book that you so loved the concepts that you wanted to manage your staff exactly as prescribed in the book's verbiage. Lastly, you may have taken a management class, seminar, or webinar that you thought was so noteworthy that you want to follow the exact management formula articulated by the instructor. I caution you to do none of the above. You are not your old manager, the author of the book, or the instructor of the class. You are you and you alone.
All that said, combine a little of bit of your old manager, the author, and the instructor and combine it with the things that make you who you are. If you don't and you try to be one of these other people then you will not be authentic as a manager. You will be acting as a prescript for someone else. Not being who you really are in the workplace has many disadvantages, it will
Be felt by your staff and others and they will believe you have some type of hidden agenda
Push you to act in ways that is contrary to your gut feelings, values, and/or personal best judgment
Slow your growth as both a person and a manager because you are reading from a prepared script, rather than writing your own words
Feel uncomfortable in your management role because the actions you are taking and decisions you are making are formulaic, not natural
You would not act this way in your personal life, so why act that way at work. After all, you very possibly spend more time with your professional associates than you do with your personal friends.
If you are willing to take this advice, namely learn from others, but implement their teachings in a way that lets you make them your own, you will see the following:
Which learned techniques you could keep or discard after trying them
That as you grow as a person, you will grow as a professional manager
That as you grow as a professional manager, you will grow as a person
Your will feel comfortable in your own skin, the decisions you make (good or bad) will be uniquely yours and not based on an exact recipe designed by someone else
You staff, peers, manager and others will feel that your actions are consistent with who you are as a person which will facilitate trust between you and others
Upon reading this column you may think that this is easy to do. How difficult could it be to develop your unique management style that fits your persona and that is successful in the business place? The truth is that for some it is easy, for most however, it's hard work and requires a willingness to accept advice from others, learn from your mistakes, and a desire to push yourself to be the best you can be. You are uniquely you, use it to your best advantage.
The primary advice and takeaways from today's column is to know that:
Become a voracious reader and learn as much as you can about management and leadership.
Take this knowledge and combine it with your personal traits to define the management style that works best for you.
If you try to be someone else others will know it and you will feel it.
Being uniquely you helps to facilitate trust with others and helps you grow as both a person and a manager.
This blog is an excerpt from my weekly nationally syndicated column with GateHouse News Service. My new columns can be found in GateHouse Media publications throughout the United States.
Until next time, manage well, manage smart, and continue to grow.