Top Management

Management Styles

Coaching, Leadership, Organisational Success, People and Performance

Written by: Alan Rodway (YCO)

Here are the differences between them:

Basement Manager:  This person manages for ‘today’.  They are good at organizing tasks and people, and at reacting to problems that occur.  They are predominantly reactive though and spend little time on planning or the future.  They rarely come up with ideas to change the business or innovate and are largely uncreative.  They are usually ‘busy’ because they are the task and ‘today’ orientated.  They may lack influencing skills (see the end of this article for what I mean by influencing skills) and can, therefore, fall into using ‘seniority or control’ as their mechanism to get things done rather than influence.  They can be poor at creating efficiencies for the business, technologically or otherwise, because they are busy working ‘inside the business’ and sometimes lack the adequate technological acumen to do so.  They usually delegate only what has to be delegated and keep control of the rest … they tend to keep control.  They are not usually good at developing people who report to them and therefore not good at aiding career paths.  They are sometimes poorly self-organized and can often appear flustered.  They can too often rely on ‘Do as I say’ rather than ‘Do as I do’.  Their contribution to the bottom line is to help keep the ship steady as she goes but is unlikely to elevate profitability by their own actions.  Who are these people in your organisation?  Is it you?

First Floor Manager:  Two floors above the Basement Manager…. metaphorically speaking, of course.  They are good at managing ‘today’, can be proactive and forward thinking, capable of creativity, have a thirst for their own development, are driven by success, rate accountability and are motivated by success.  They are likely to get frustrated with underachievers but will deal well enough with them if they feel the business is on the right path.  They prefer to influence than tell and see themselves having a solid future with the business if they are supported, encouraged and trained.  They will challenge the status quo and become frustrated if their challenges are simply cast aside.  One of the most important factors for these managers is to be able to look at the people ‘above them with confidence   … if they don’t ‘rate’ them, they will become more and more frustrated.  Businesses need to be alert to who these people are and manage them well … they are a significant part of the future and may leave if poorly ‘handled’.  Who are these people in your organisation?  Is it you?

Penthouse Manager:  This person is on the top floor of the building.  They are better at all of the aforementioned aspects.  They organize tasks and others well and are good at setting aside time to plan for the future.  They consistently come up with new ideas, they innovate, challenge the business and its people (skilfully), don’t get bogged down in ‘today’s problems’ and consistently look for more efficient ways of running the business.  They have a thirst for their own development and are very good at passing on what they learn to others.  Whether they are technology savvy themselves or not, they will be effective in ensuring technology affords the business every opportunity.  They are good at delegating and developing others, as well as creating and facilitating career paths.  They will play a key role in succession planning for the business from a personnel perspective.  All of this requires significant time, so they are good at making that time available to do so.  They rely on their influencing skills to get people to ‘perform’, change and do things, rather than control or seniority.  They get the ‘bigger picture’ and use that as their reference point for their thinking, decisions, and planning.   They are also highly effective in generating teamwork and a positive culture within the business.  Who are these people in your organisation?  Is it you?

Leader:  This person relies on “Do as I Do”, rather than “Do as I Say”.  Their own behaviours set the standard and example for everyone else to follow.  They exhibit high levels of self-discipline and live a more balanced life than most.  They consistently come up with new ideas, innovate and challenge the status quo … and strongly encourage others to do the same.  They produce outstanding results and are completely willing to ‘look at themselves’ and consistently source suggestions from others as to how they can improve.   They don’t allow negative emotions to affect their performance and discourage others from doing that as well.  They do not bother with what they can’t control and have an ability to accept setbacks as part of the journey to success.  They are fine influencers of other people, through their own positive behaviours as well as their communication skills.  Some of their ‘acts’ are even inspirational to others.  People gravitate to them and they often have a ‘presence’ or charisma that’s quite unique.  (Unfortunately, my experience tells me that Leaders are born, not trained, and these people are few and far between).  Who are these people in your organisation?  Is it you?

Entrepreneur:   These people come up with the big ideas, the new things, the left field thinking …. and they take risks.  They understand the notion ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.   Failure does not exist in their world.  They thrive on creativity, initiative and innovation.  They are always glass half full.  They won’t take ‘No’ for an answer if they believe in an idea and sometimes this can be to their own detriment … but the fact that they keep creating or sourcing opportunities means they succeed often enough to be successful overall.  They persist where others would give in (have you ever read Calvin Coolidge’s definition of Persistence? It’s magnificent … see the end of this article).  These are the people who turn businesses around and create new ones. They are exciting to be around.  Their minds never stop on ‘the next thing’ and they can have people around them drowning in their wake if they can’t keep up.  They need to have ‘implementers’ beside them to ensure their creativity is fulfilled.  Who are these people in your organisation?  Is it you?

So what can we do with all of this?  Well, there are two separate questions .. What can an individual do with this and what can a business do with all this?

Well, there are two separate questions .. What can an individual do with this and what can a business do with all this?

The individual needs to figure out which of these categories he or she is in.  But don’t self-assess .. get the truthful opinions of those around you and this can only be done anonymously … as if everyone anyone you work with will tell you the truth when they report to you, are on your level or can be impacted by your reactions.  Once you have an accurate determination of where you are, make your mind up as to whether you are content with that.  If so, great.  If not, honestly assess what you are capable of moving to and want to move to, and then organize your move forward.  So, there are four parts to this:

  1. Accurate assessment of where you are now;
  2. Honest assessment of where you want to move to;
  3. Accurate assessment of where you can move to;
  4. Help with moving there.

All four steps require objective opinion and help … don’t let your future be negatively impacted by your opinions of yourself, in case you’re wrong.

The business needs to figure how “who is which” in the management ranks and “who can be which” in future management ranks.  Again, there is a necessity for objective opinion and assessment in this … internal opinion is too often impacted by history, personal preferences, individual agendas or blinkers.  Second, businesses need to eradicate Basement Managers.  Third, every business needs to have people in every other category, either inside the business or attached to the business in some way.  A business without enough First Floor Managers, Penthouse Managers, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs will flounder in future, and I think more so now than ever, given the rate of change that’s occurring around the world.  A business without Entrepreneurs risks losing its market position; a business without leaders will never generate the behaviours to be successful; a business without Penthouse Managers will not be able to develop and get the best from people; a business without First Floor Managers will struggle with implementation.

You will notice that I have written this with a tone that’s more serious than some of my other articles; that’s to enable every reader to treat the content as objectively as possible.  If I sound like I’m insulting anyone then the very messages within may be lost.  This is very important stuff for an organisation and will take some time to work through … I so strongly suggest you do that, as a professional exercise and give it the time it deserves.

Influencing Skills:  Questioning (techniques), Listening v Talking, Body language, Perception, Empathy, Trust, Do as I Do, Connection with people, Etc.

Calvin Coolidge’s definition of Persistence:  “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”.

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