Slow Down

In 2013 most people have a full schedule five to seven days a week. The hectic pace that most of us live at is not physically, mentally, or emotionally healthy. Many people don’t know when to slow down and take a break.

It is difficult to take care of home (e.g. children and spouses) if we always have a high stress level. A high stress level makes you irritable and the smallest thing can send you over the edge. Stress manifests itself differently in everyone. Some people over-eat, some can’t sleep, and some may have headaches or develop ulcers etc. All of us need time to rest!

Wisdom is saying it’s time for me to slow down. Starting today instead of posting every Monday I will post every other Monday. My next post will be two weeks from today.

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C-suite You Can’t Do Everything

From the outside looking in, the C-suite is a desirable place to work. However, the occupants of the C-suite have an enormous responsibility. Obtaining an office in the C-suite is a professional achievement that few accomplish. It takes years of hard work, dedication, and having laser focus. Once you’ve obtained an office in the C-suite, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Relish in the fact that your labor was not in vain.

But, now that you’re in the C-suite, it’s also time to get to work. One of the first things you should do is figure out which part of the organization you should focus on. Should you focus on internal issues, external issues, or both? There are many executives whose positions require them to focus on both — and there is nothing wrong with that. However, balancing the two can prove to be difficult.

Internal and external matters require different perspectives. Concerns regarding the public image of an organization (external) are totally different from improving a process in procurement (internal).

The laser focus you displayed before you arrived in the C-suite is the same focus you’ll need while in the C-suite. You cannot confuse internal issues with external issues and vice versa. If your focus is internal, then the only issues that are germane to you are internal. Likewise, if your focus is external, the only issues that are germane to you involve representing the organization and the like.

Sometimes internal and external issues overlap but for the most part they do not directly affect each other. Here are two instances where they do overlap. First, a cumbersome approval process in the marketing department can delay the rolling out of a new marketing campaign. Secondly, a negative racial perception of a company can increase the number of diversity classes it’s customer service representatives have to take.

In order to maintain laser focus, it is imperative that you hire someone who can take your place when you’re not there. Your ability to stay focused on internal or external issues depends on who’s supporting you. A position in the C-suite should be occupied by someone that is capable of handling the responsibilities that come with the position. For those of you that desire to be an occupant in the C-suite, be prepared to put in years of hard work, dedication, and laser focus.

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Managers Need Training Also

If you follow my blog, you know I beat the drum of training, training, and more training. Adequately trained managers make for excellent managers. First, they will love what they do on a day-to-day basis and secondly, they will improve the bottom line of the organization.

Times are tight right now. When a company’s budget gets tight, one of the first things to get cut is training. Executives rarely see the value in ensuring their employees have the most up-to-date information and know the latest techniques. What would happen if a company’s managers were not properly trained to manage their employees? This would cause chaos throughout the entire company.

When I speak of training, I’m not only talking about ensuring that rank-and-file employees are trained. I’m talking about everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the cook in the kitchen or the person working in the mailroom. No one is above learning something new. If we aren’t constantly learning then we aren’t improving ourselves.

Just because someone has the title of “Manager” doesn’t mean they can manage people. The fact that many managers lack the adequate skills to manage people is a reflection on upper management. Does it reflect upper management’s attitude towards training or their attitude towards promoting and/or hiring people to managerial positions? Regardless, the outcome is the same.

Hiring/promoting managers that lack the adequate skills to perform their duties says that executives have a misguided perception of managers. As I stated earlier, I understand that budgets are tight right now. However, training managers is more than worth its weight in gold – managers are the glue that hold an organization together.

Managers are responsible for communicating information from the executive level down to the employees. They are also responsible for communicating the needs of the employees to the executive level. They are called mid-level managers because they are in the middle of the organization. Managers are as important to an organization as the ice cream is to an ice cream sandwich. Without the ice cream in the middle it’s not a sandwich. This is how vital managers are in every organization.

Few fully grasp the enormous responsibility a manager has. Here is a list of some of the skills a manager should possess: time management, ability to delegate, good communication (verbal and written), decision-making, and leadership. This list of managerial skills provides more skills and an explanation on the importance of each skill.

Executives should not discount the importance of ensuring mid-level managers have all the tools they need to be superb managers. Once again, an ice cream sandwich without the ice cream isn’t an ice cream sandwich. Likewise, an organization without properly trained managers is ineffective and unproductive.

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An Iron Fist or A Humanistic Approach

There are two ways to manage: like a dictator or like a human being. A supervisor can manage by the spirit of the law or the letter of the law. Most supervisors that manage using an iron fist are legalistic. I agree, there are times when a supervisor needs to stick to the letter of the law. However, sticking to the letter of the law should not be your day-to-day style of management.

Your management style will determine the effectiveness and productivity of your employees. Actually, there are seven management styles: autocratic, consultative, persuasive, democratic, chaotic, laissez-faire, and paternalistic. Certain styles lean towards a dictatorship and management styles others lean more towards a humanistic approach.

As I said in my post last week, don’t look at yourself as a babysitter for adults. This negative perspective of your position as a manager will lead you towards being a dictator. You will feel the need to gain/maintain control of your employees.

Managing like a dictator will only go so far. There are ways you can treat your employees like human beings and still run a tight ship. The two are not mutually exclusive. It will take some work, but this balance in your managerial style can be achieved. This list of different
management styles is an excellent way to achieve this balance.

Periodically, one of my supervisors would tell our team, “We’re all adults and I’m going to treat you like you’re an adult.” Even if your subordinates do childish things from time to time you should treat them as adults and evaluate them as adults.

Many people view a humanistic approach to management as being touchy-feely. Many managers are not dictators but don’t want to be considered as touchy-feely. It is possible to treat your employees like human beings and not be touchy-feely. Call it what you want, but most people would rather work in a peaceful environment as opposed to an oppressive environment.

The overall attitude in the workplace has shifted from 30 years ago. Today’s workplace calls for managers to be more understanding (e.g. humanistic). Managers understand that employees have to take time off to care for a sick child or an elderly parent. They also understand that more people are family-oriented and want a work-life balance. A humanistic approach to management does not have to be touchy-feely but it does have to be realistic. The difference between an iron fist and a humanistic approach is that employees will resent the former and appreciate the later.

If you have a question or comment leave it below or email me at

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