When it comes to management, businesses are too often seduced by the latest gimmick and gizmo. For example, I have been recently reading about the latest corporate fads for management, such as: voting for the boss; reinventing the budget committee; setting up Wikis for the customer; predictive analytics; global team building; knowledge transfer; and the list goes on and on. Now, I will admit there are a couple of good ideas scattered throughout this Mumbo Jumbo, but I tend to believe we go overboard on the absurd and overlook the obvious. For some reason, people find the allure of smoke and mirrors more irresistible than common sense.

Perhaps the biggest thing overlooked is that management is a people oriented function, not a technical or administrative function; it’s about people. Management is about getting people to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, and how you want it done. Face it, we get things done through people, not through machines which are nothing more than mechanical leverage in our work effort. Like it or not, business is about people. Management, therefore, should be less concerned with the latest gadget or slight of hand, and more with mastering people skills.

When companies become consumed by fads, I think they tend to overlook the fundamentals of management; for example:

  • Interpersonal communications/relations skills – speaking, writing, persuasion, negotiating, interviewing, diplomacy, etc.
  • Instituting discipline and organization, (as opposed to free-spirited mavericks that are stubbornly independent).
  • If you want teamwork, you should first learn about coaching and leadership.
  • How to control the corporate culture, including decorum, protocol, ethics, as well as the effect of physical surroundings. This includes professional courtesy extended to workers, customers, vendors, and prospective clients.
  • Establishing and managing priorities and deadlines. This includes how to become less reactive and more proactive in planning processes.
  • Promoting pride in workmanship (craftsmanship); this includes properly equipping and training workers thereby creating a sense of belonging and ownership of the work product.
  • How to fairly and equitably evaluate, compensate and discipline worker performance.
  • How to empower people by delegating responsibility, motivating them, and holding them accountable for their actions. In other words, teach the workers to assume more responsibility and supervise themselves.

It is these skills that move mountains, not the latest wrinkle from Microsoft, cell phones, or some other harebrained scheme. Management is really not that complicated, it’s actually quite simple and goes back to the moral values we were all taught as kids, but, unfortunately, the human being for some reason tries to make things more complicated than they need to be. Basic management may lack flash and sizzle, it may not be couched in esoteric concepts and terminology, but you know what? It works.

No Virginia, there is no panacea.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s eBook (PDF), “The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture” (free DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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