March 26, 2009


Filed under: Human Relations — Robert John Ed @ 4:52 pm

I’ve been listening and reading to management ideas and philosophies lately.  I’ve an inkling that restraint is a very important trait for many people within a business environment, but especially managers.

We all have to show restraint to some extent in our every day lives.  Not overeating every time food is around is an easy example.  There are many others such as waiting for things to go on sale rather than buying at the first chance you have enough cash, or holding out for the best job offer (HA!).  Little economy humor for you there.  BTW if you can’t laugh at much, you can’t live much.  Then again, it wasn’t all that funny.

Anyway, there are a great amount of times in our day to day lives where restraint is needed.  In business it seems much more important to developing relationships.  Yesterday we saw a Target presentation regarding healthy relationships at work.  I won’t attempt to explain why people need to get along when they spend 40-60 hours a week in the same general vicinity looking to achieve the (hopefully) same ends.  I will say that the lead in this presentation made a great point about observation and the importance of stating what was observed instead of what was inferred.  Small, but exponential, difference.

It got me thinking about actually managing people.  I’ve had a great deal of project management experience in the past, as well as a great deal of people reporting their work to me in order to coordinate a group effort.  But I would never have labeled myself a manager and I imagine that will change in the next few years.  So I think a lot about what makes management effective.  Most of my professional life I’ve been expected to deal with ambiguity 75-90% of the time.  A typical project for me in the past:

1.  Develop ideas on marketing and improving touch points through the sales cycle
2.  Pitching that idea to the CEO, working through details and getting buy in
3.  Create a plan and budget (Plan was almost always extensive, budget was not)
4.  Source external needs
5.  Oversee internal functions (design, IT, etc.)
6.  Coordinate all parties and timelines, roll out marketing plans
7.  Diagnose effectiveness either (quant or qualitative)

That’s abbreviated, but it’s a decent picture.  Those are the kind of projects where you’re expected to have a tenacity and drive towards completion.  You pull the train, in other words.  As a manager and in a lot of other cross functional roles, you may not be there to be the engine.  It takes restraint to understand that.  You aren’t always that role.

In management, much of the time you need a great deal of restraint in differing manners.  The event yesterday detailed a situation where functional experts were supposed to discuss avenues for improvement as yearly goals.  As a manager there, you have to show restraint in putting any ideas or thoughts you have regarding the subject; it holds a great deal of sway on the way those that answer to you think.  Your goal should be to get a complete and rational understanding of what the individual EXPERTS (those that answer to you) have to say.  Abstain from speaking your mind.  Listen and learn.  Then go about making decisions for the best outcomes of your organization and people.

Restrain yourself.  Listen and learn.  It warrants reiteration.


1 Comment »

  1. Very interesting……I like. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Adrienne — March 31, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

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