Managing People vs. Managing Systems
As a business owner or manager, hands-down, the most difficult job faced is managing people! In fact, there are countless business books and training seminars teaching the ins-and-outs of people skills for managing employees.
Truth is, people don't like being managed. As a result, many people will tell you they don't like their boss. Why? People simply get tired of someone telling them what to do. Some see their boss as tactless, unfriendly, self-absorbed, and selfish, etc. In addition, many believe the boss makes too much money with too little effort. Wow!
Choice Words for Managers from Some Employees
Now before anyone gets their hair in a knot; it’s true, some bosses do have the love of their employees. Certain employees “just love” those bosses who let them arrive late to work when they want to, or go home early when they want to. Easy to “love” a boss who allows people to have those interrupting conversations with everyone in the building, whenever they feel like it.
Furthermore, those employees will “just adore” the boss who doesn’t confront them for taking too long on smoke-breaks, talking to their significant other on their cell phone, or using the company dumpster for home trash. The list of niceties, that inspires “love” from such employees, is long!
However, I can see it — for those managers who hold people accountable, riding herd, patrolling service and production areas, on constant vigil — people can become defensive, and their “love” for the boss can grow a little cold. In fact, when the boss is not around, even the “loving” are known to utter such endearing terms as, “Old Iron Pants,” “jerk,” “idiot,” or worse! My favorite nickname, given to me when I first became a supervisor, was “bummer.”
Looking back, I guess I did bum people out a bit. Heck, I fired people for smoking pot, showing up late, and for something as innocent as drinking on the job. What was I thinking? Guess I should have been more “lovable!”
A Much Better Way of Managing People | Even Kids?
Okay, I’ve beaten up on some of those unloving employees enough! But really, people hate being managed, period! In fact, I don't like it. My wife tends to manage every aspect when we make our bed each morning. Good thing she’s the love of my life! And employees, don’t like the feeling of someone Lording over them.
Thankfully — there is a better way of Managing People!
Quick story, for an example …
Rick, a salesperson at my former print manufacturing company, was intrigued with our small business management systems, especially the Daily Routine Checklists system. All key personnel in our company had a personal Daily Routine Checklist they kept in progress throughout the workday. At the end of their shift, they would sign and submit it to their supervisor for review.
Rick decided he was going to try our checklist system on his kids at home because his wife was always struggling and arguing with their two young sons to do their chores. Coupled with, constantly cajoling them to pick up their clothes and toys, do their homework, brush their teeth, etc., it was a constant frustration.
So, Rick built two checklists, one for each son, and hung them on their bedroom door. The checklists had prompts for performing various tasks — before school, when getting home from school, and until their bedtime. Importantly, they knew to complete the chore before checking off the prompt.
A couple of weeks later, Rick was laughing and telling me, how his sons loved checking the boxes on checklists. In fact, Rick said they couldn’t wait to show him their accomplishments each night before they went to bed. The fussing and arguing stopped. At least, for doing their chores!
So, there you have it — people like managing themselves! And, employees being part of a well-organized system, that they can manage easily each day, makes life and workdays less stressful for everyone!
For the boss, by managing the system, “managing people” is as simple as adding and/or removing prompts for action on a person’s checklist.
Did I mention? Great systems work — even for Kids!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.