Question #120

Describing one’s own management style is a bit of a folly. Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise.” As a manager, the first maxim that I always keep in mind is that I can always improve and will never be an expert at management. Ernest Hemingway captured my feelings best when he stated, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” So with this tenant as a backdrop, I will attempt to articulate my management style.

I believe that the key to effective management is authenticity. There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles that claim to have the definitive list of attributes for being a good, excellent, or outstanding manager. Depending on which list you read some say there are four types of management styles others say there are six. While these lists can certainly inform us about good management techniques in the end management style is about knowing yourself and being confident and comfortable enough to embrace what you see when you look in the mirror. As a young man, my father taught me this lesson. At the time I was a teenager and like most teenagers, I was finding my way through the awkwardness that defines the teens. My father told me something that has stuck with me. He said, “Son, you have to get to a point in life where you look in the mirror and believe, when you tell yourself, that you have just as much right to be on this planet as everyone else.” It wasn’t a message of bravado,  He was teaching me that the first step in doing good, in anything, is to accept and embrace who you are.

The elements necessary for effective management like trust, motivation, communication, and assessment all rely on the catalyst supplied by authenticity. When you’re honest about yourself it positively affects the relationships you build with the people you manage. Many management writers advise that you adjust your management style in response to a given situation or person. I disagree with this advice. I believe management style comes from your core values. It is something that is innate. If you try to adopt styles that don’t fit your inner core values people will interpret it as dishonest and view you as a phony. On the other hand when I am true to my own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures I’ve discovered that people are drawn to me. I am able to build trusting relationships more quickly. People are motivated by the vulnerability displayed when I behave in an honest authentic manner. Communication is much more effective. It is easier to be much more candid when providing constructive feedback. All of these management necessities are made possible and improved when I am authentic. Below are my core management beliefs. These are the bedrock elements from which I approach management every day. As I stated in my opening remarks I welcome advice on how to improve in my execution of management. However, these core values define the authentic me.

Glen Taylor’s Core Management Style Beliefs:

  1. Management requires candor. Improvement cannot take place without honest, real-time candid feedback.
  2. Enhance people’s strengths and make their weaknesses irrelevant.
  3. Accountability is best framed as continual improvement rather than punishment.
  4. Failure is inevitable; what is important is what is learned.
  5. Learning is essential; invest in people’s growth.
  6. Cooperation in the form of teamwork is necessary for success.
  7. People are professionals. Set clear objectives and then get out of their way.
  8. Have a bias for action. It’s the only way things get accomplished.
  9. Live or die by your values.

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