I mentioned in my post called, How to Interview Potential Employers, that I recently interviewed several managers who love their jobs for an article I am writing. I conversed with six very interesting managers about their jobs. As is usual when faced with article word limits, I could not possibly use all the GREAT stuff these managers offered.
Here are several comments from each manager that are too good not to share but that I could not fit into the article. I invite those of you who love your jobs, and those who do not, to compare your experiences with these managers.
These managers love their work!
Denny: Shift manager for a large semiconductor plant.
George: Leads a research and development lab for a large semiconductor company.
Karin: Senior IT manager for a European development group.
Ken: General manager for a large residential real estate company.
Matt: Group director of sales development for a large radio broadcasting company.
Timo: Director of reservations operations for a high-end travel company.
Describe your leadership and management style.
Denny: In any given week I will migrate between coaching, directing, and supporting. Most of the time I try to be cool, calm, and collected on the outside regardless of what is going on inside. If I run around with my hair on fire, then 300+ people will run around with their hair on fire, which usually does not foster a productive environment.
George: I strive to provide honest and direct communication up, down, and to the side. I recognize positive performance often and publicly. I address negative performance immediately and privately and don’t let it go on for long or I’ll damage the team and my trustworthiness.
Karin: I am caring, open, and try to listen well. I am definitely people focused. I tell my team I’m their pet rottweiler. They do the work, they decide which way they want to point me, and then I’ll bark. But the bark goes back the other way if they are careless or stupid. So far, it’s worked. They only ask me to bark when it’s really important. The rest of the time, they sort it out themselves.
Ken: I am positive, supportive, and focused on helping my realtors learn instead of doing it for them.
Timo: I believe in leading by example. By working hard and playing hard — having fun while you´re doing it. By being compassionate and caring. Holding people accountable, but helping them succeed. Place an emphasis on ensuring the tools, support, and training are in place for team and individual success. I establish the pace of the environment — and it´s brisk!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
George: I enjoy coaching and mentoring at both individual and team levels. (Coaching – the way to get the job done — how can I best execute on this task to get it done. Mentoring, less focused on the task and more focused on the individual and career)
Karin: I enjoy my job because the people I work with smile and say good morning, not grunt without raising their heads.
Matt: I love watching people develop, seeing a manager get his or her team turned around and organized in a way that is a phenomenal success. There´s nothing better than watching and helping a sales manager implement a plan and seeing him or her hit the numbers.
How is it that you make a difference at work?
George: I make a different by encouraging the growth and effective performance of other people. I love it when somebody who has been just getting by catches fire and they really get into his or her work.
Ken: I "m trying to create an environment where people are energetic, enthusiastic, motivated, and positive. I focus on communicating possibilities not problems.
Share your fundamental beliefs about management.
Karin: There"s a dog owner saying – there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Management is a little like that – there are no bad teams, only bad managers. Listening is vital and it’s the hardest thing to do in the world.
Ken: Understand your core values so that whatever you are delivering is authentic and you can be enthusiastic. Your results are going to come from helping people accomplish their goals. Understand what makes people tick and how you can help them.
Matt: You should help your people do what they do the best. Success can come in many different packages. Everyone has a different path to success. Find really good people, find out what they do really well, and help them do it over and over again.
What advice would you offer colleagues who do not enjoy their work?
Denny: There are really only three options: stay in the status quo; change your work or how you approach it to increase your satisfaction; or find another job in your company or outside of your company. I´ve done all three.
George: First, develop an understanding of your talents. Think about what aspect of your work you enjoy. Explicitly search for work that plays to your interests and not to the things you don’t enjoy. Don’t be afraid to make fundamental changes if it is scarier to see yourself staying in your current job for the rest of your career.
Karin: Move and get out. Re-think your life. Decide what you want to do and go for it. Don’t hang on in there. You won’t grow, you won’t progress forwards, and you´ll do yourself no favors at all. It’s not a job for life world anymore. So go find a job with which you are better suited. Don’t be a victim of your own indecision.
Ken: If you´re involved in a company/job you can"t get excited about, you need to make a change. You need to look for the things that will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Focus on the things that give you more joy.
Matt: Get another job. I don´t think anyone should wake up in the morning and not want to go to work. You need to change what you are doing. There is a job for everybody. I wake up excited every day. Know what you are good at and do that.
Timo: Take some time, away from all of life´s distractions, and really understand what you are passionate about, and what interests and excites you. Once you have a true understanding of your personal passions make a career based around that. Then it won"t be work"?? it will be something you love to do. Don´t have regrets. Don´t get stuck in a rut.
Timo: It´s amazing what you can do when you don´t know you can´t do it.
Denny: Some people buy business books. Fewer read them after they buy them. Even fewer truly work to understand what the author is saying. Very, very few people have the capability or desire or whatever it is that causes you to convert that new learning into application. If you do not do anything different in your business as a result of learning new material, you have wasted your time buying the book or going to the class.
George has a great way at looking at managing up. He treats his managers largely the same way as the people who work for him. In other words, he treats those who work for him largely like he treats his managers. It´s not about power, or hierarchy — it´s about ensuring that he is working productively with everyone. George knows this helps him be successful and focused. He takes and shares copious notes at meetings to be sure there´s clear communication about agreements about who´s doing what. He believes in addressing things crisply and acknowledging the elephant in the corner of the room. Great quote: I am accountable for the results so I have to be accountable to how I am lead.
Matt: I want to continue to grow. If I ever get to the point that I don´t feel like I am doing more than I did a year ago, I will move on. I enjoy everything that I do.
Denny: The default approach for working with for a difficult boss is to complain about his or her weaknesses around the water cooler with your colleagues. Although it may temporarily feel good, this is really not very productive and does not accomplish anything positive. A better approach is to have the mentality of compensating for your bosses weaknesses. It is much more productive for the organization, reduces your personal stress, and your boss will be very grateful.
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest, how much impact do you feel you have on the piece of the business that is your responsibility to run? Group average = 9.3
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest, how engaged are you in improving the business? Group average = 9.67