Back in 2013, I wrote an article for The Parking Professional entitled, “Whistles and Pom-Poms.” The article focused on the dual nature of a good manager (cheerleader and coach) and how to balance those characteristics to better support and grow staff. Since the article ran, I’ve not only had a chance to strengthen my own managerial techniques but have been able to observe managers up close and witness the ebb and flow of day-to-day employee challenges and solutions.
There is one hangup I’ve noticed many managers still struggle with when trying to take a team from mediocre to great. It can often be difficult to introduce a higher standard or new way of thinking when your team is used to a more relaxed environment. It’s kind of like announcing that there is a new sheriff in town, but your staff sees you as the same old sheriff.
This can be addressed the same way we address a computer when it freezes up or stops taking commands. No, I don’t mean take it out back and shoot it. I’m talking about a reboot. When we reboot a computer we are told to press those three magical buttons: Control – Alt – Delete. We don’t know how they work and we don’t care. We just know everything starts fresh once we see the Windows logo and hear that harmonic note.
It may be a mystery with computers, but here is how it works in management; to reboot your management style you must first establish or re-establish control. This may call for pulling rank, but in a nice way. Deliberately communicate to your staff the nature and boundaries of the manager-employee relationship.
Present the alternative to the old way of doing things. This is where you introduce new procedure or reintroduce those things that have gone neglected. Finally, delete useless or counterproductive elements from your operation. This can include distractions, redundancies, wasted time, and even staff members who will not grow with the operation. Just like your computer, these three buttons should be pressed at the same time Once you hear that harmonic note your team is on its way to greatness.