So, what is your management style?

There are many ways to run a business, some good, some better


unny, motivation sometimes for writing in this space, but a sitcom last night and a brief conversation with a member this morning about management styles got me thinking.

One of my first jobs as a gas station attendant was working for an employer who believed I was his for eight hours a day and that I would do what I was told for eight hours a day.

Whether it was productive or meaningful work didn’t seem to enter into the equation; he was paying me and I would work, period. Another employer of my youth told me I wasn’t being paid to think after I offered a solution to a problem that was preventing the entire staff from moving forward. Good way I think to instill initiative and ownership — not really. No wonder I ventured out on my own and joined the ranks of employer as opposed to staying an employee.

I have studied many management styles, read numerous books on the subject and had the opportunity to observe the styles of others. There are two basic styles; autocratic where I am the boss, I will make the decisions and we will work my way; or permissive where the leader involves employees in decision making and encourages input from those performing the work.

As with all things the best managers I have seen in action use a combination of the two. There are some decisions that can only be made by the one who has the most to lose by way of their investment of time, energy and money.

It is also important to ensure those people you trust; your employees — and if you don’t trust them; why did you hire them — remain engaged, value their employment and have the opportunity to give their best to their employer.

When you hire what you think is the best of the talent pool available to complete roles in the business you either don’t have time to do or don’t have the skill set to do, you best remember why you hired that individual when it comes to making decisions about their responsibilities.

A noted Child & Youth Care Professional, Barbara Coloroso told me about her “backbone” model of child raising. All kids need to be given the opportunity to make decisions in order to teach them how to be responsible.

When they are young the only decisions they can make are those that are not morally or physically threatening. As they show the responsibility to make the right choices they can be allowed to make more and more decisions including those that could have more serious consequences.

The same practice holds for employees, as they demonstrate the ability to take part in the decision making process they need to be allowed more and more opportunity to use the expertise your hired them for.

If you insist on holding all the reigns you will never be able to get away to enjoy the fruits of your labour and you will likely find you have a higher than normal employee turnover rate —  Another cost you do not need.

Kim Burden is the executive director of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce and a regular columnist with The News.


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