As with most things in the world, the more quickly you realize how they are connected to one another – the more successful you will become at handling them. For somethings this applies more than others, but for anyone who has achieved a level of success in at least one area of their life, you know its because of your understanding of related items that go you there. I’ll give you some examples.
Are you a good singer? Well you probably realized early on that you had to train your breathing to get there.
Are you a good dancer? I’m sure doing some cardio to build endurance, or stretching for flexibility are probably some areas that accent your dancing abilities.
And so on.
I was reading an article that reminded me of a disputing conversation I had with a struggling manager of a repair shop a year or so ago.
Firstly, the article spoke about how loyalty to your employees (from the view of management) can be a bad thing. The reason being that if you are loyal to your staff you may possibly overlook shortcomings rather than take disciplinary action. This led me to believe that the author was really only interested in the negative enforcement, not the area of coaching. In a way, it makes sense, right? If you as a boss are friendly with your staff, you might let somethings ‘slide’ rather than say ‘your break is 15 minutes, not twenty’ or something similar. This made me furious – like it is a choice to be assertive or personable?
Secondly, the conversation was with a shop manager who we will call Jack. Jack was very standoffish and ran a shop with continuous turnover of employees. This caused much tension to deliver a quality finished product or to maintain professional relationships with partner companies. Many people would quit because of his wild temper, and others he would fire for the slightest things.
One day, he had fired his assistant manager for needing to stay home with his sick three year old daughter. The backstory being his wife had passed and whatever illness the daughter had – the daycare wouldn’t let her stay. Jack’s response was ‘you got a job to get to, I expect you here when you’re supposed to be or I don’t need you here at all’. This was an ultimatum Jack made regularly when he would let someone go.
As the day passed Jack was overwhelmed with running the business by himself. The workflow was too much for one person to do on the short term no less to wait for him to hire a new manager. Jack being Jack, had already made his threat and wouldn’t step back from it. He asked me if I would work for him. I laughed.
Jack proceeded to tell me how he can’t overlook these shortcomings for the sake of family, or because he felt personally invested into one of his associates. He elaborated to say he couldn’t because if he showed that weakness he wouldn’t be respected by his staff.
My response was ‘what staff?’ and looked around his empty shop.
Jack was upset, but realizing that he was alone here. He dejectedly tried to justify his inadequate management saying how sometimes when fishing, if you are reeling and reeling and can’t get the fish in the boat – you have to cut the line and move on.
My response to him was spoken from years of fishing with my father out on the M.T Pockets in the Great South Bay of Long Island. Why would you cut the line? Would any actual fisherman (or fisher-woman) cut the line because their catch was too big? It is already on the hook, the hard part is over. And now because you need to reel extra to get what you want, you’d rather start over? There are absolutely times when you might snag the ground, but other than that no fisherman cut loose their tackle for nothing. I’d rather reel in a sea robin than lose my gear- no?
He was silent. Not necessarily from what I said, but because he had built further upon his struggles with rash cuts of his line and was – for the time being- out of hooks and weights. He then repeated the same thing to himself he said many times ‘i know what i’m doing, i own this place’.
Loyalty works both ways, and from working both sides of the management fence you need to be assertive and personal to truly succeed. Is it a difficult balance? Of course it can be, that’s why not everyone is meant to lead. And if management isn’t for you, that is okay. This fisherman is out on a boat that needs a captain, mechanic, painter, etc. All of these positions can make some good money and, with the right leaders – be a happy place to work.
Jack and his shop are no longer in business. But how can the building of your business stand if you keep ripping bricks out of the foundation?