Once again, I’m amazed how this class ends up falling in line with my current thoughts or debates going on in my head or over some wine with my wife. Growing up I did not have a job outside of the family business, real estate. My brother and I would help my dad do the majority of maintenance (never did roofs etc). After I graduated from high school, I painted apartments and did handy man projects. From there I took real estate sales classes to obtain my license. Once this was complete, I began learning the property manager side. Having the brief knowledge growing up making repairs I had a good start with problem solving. Looking back, I would have said my dad was the “do as I say” style to me and that was appropriate at that age and level of knowledge.
As I have become more involved in the management over the years this is a debate, I can say we have monthly. “Do we really need their input”? Servant style leadership is ok for some businesses but has no place in others. For example, an EMT on site of an accident should not take time to make sure every other person on site agrees with his way of cutting the door open and getting the driver out of the car. Less experienced employees need to watch and learn. I have always been the quiet type initially, you can learn a lot by listening and watching others.
Recent examples of my struggles involving employees include software upgrades and some marketing material. Our property management software was server hung, not cloud based. Going to the cloud costs as much as a part time employee so naturally you weigh the pros and cons for a PT person or upgrade. At least the software can’t call in sick right? After several meetings with us decision makers we decided to ask staff what they thought. Of course, they all loved it and it will save so much time… I was not in favor of making the switch. We ended up making the switch a year ago and have not yet used an advantage the cloud version offers. That is changing now.
On the other side we created a marketing piece between the 3 appropriate managers and had a final draft. The 100% servant leader among the 3 of us decided to get some other input and ended up mudding the entire project.
I believe there is a time and place for each management style. Our office is not a multi-million-dollar company that can afford to try new ideas because employee A feels better. We are a family business that has over 80yrs of experience and procedures that work. I personally have found the younger the employee the less desire there is to be aggressive and take charge of the situation. Taking charge comes from watching and learning the different tactics when needed.
The key is blending different styles and keeping your company in business. I have no issue with getting employees involved at the start to gather ideas and concerns on the topic. Management should take those, do research and make the final decision. Sometimes we may go seek follow up input but the more you ask the more times answers will vary. The project may never end! I have 19yrs of experience in the industry, I know what works and what doesn’t. This does not mean I am not open to different ideas or ways of doing things but I will also take control and let you know when it’s going bad.
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