Management Techniques Are Useless!

I recently had a conversation with a young entrepreneur who is now responsible for leading a staff. It triggered memories of when I was first given the same opportunity. Not altogether good memories.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t motivate my crew. All of my courses on management were fresh in my memory. I read books by all the management gurus of the day. It wasn’t working.

It took some time, years actually, but a few insights finally worked their way into my thick skull.

I sum up the challenge this way: techniques for organizational management are addictive. You read one book, get a few ideas, implement the insights, and it works … for a little while. Then you have to come back to get more. It’s like the high you get from drugs.

The problem is that the impact of the management guru’s first ideas aren’t as effective the second time around. Your team begins to understand the “tricks” you are using on them, so they are less responsive.

So you need more ideas. Which results in you buying the next book from your favorite guru, even though the last book only had one good idea in the first chapter.  Thus the addiction.

As I said, it took me a while to figure out the real problem. The problem isn’t the management technique. It’s not your people.

The problem is closer to home. It’s your motivations. Whether we are conscious of it or not, far too often we manage people to achieve self-serving goals.

Fess up … a significant reason you are searching for the Magical Management Mix is selfish. You want your employees to contribute to the financial bottom line.  To quote the cartoon, you just want them to do their frickin’ job so you have less hassle and more rewards.

If you remove that motivation of personal gain, do you really think you’d read another book by the latest management guru? Would you even care about how your employees perform?

Probably not. So what does that say about your motivation to bring out the best in the people around you?

That’s why the management guru tricks only work once or twice.  Even if the techniques are incredible, the people you are managing eventually see your motivations, and they don’t buy into it.

The best managers are people who care about their people first. Profits are a yardstick, but not the ultimate goal.  Controlling and directing our motivations is just about the hardest part of the human experience. But when you get it right, you’ll be a great manager of people. And then profits come naturally.

Management books and seminars and all that … they have their place.  Or at least some of them do. But they do no good until you get your motivations right.

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