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Business Management Through the Ages

May 3, 2008
Some say the first position in business management was Adam's job to effectively manage Eve. We all know how that went. From time immemorial, organizations ranging from Adam and Eve's two person operation all the way to the today's international corporate monoliths have faced the challenges associated with managing people.

There have been famously successful CEO's who have exhibited leadership skills dating back to their Cub Scout days. Most of us, however, have to work much harder at it. Luckily, we have a wide array of advice in print emanating from the string of management gurus going back over a century. Each generation since the advent of the Industrial Age has embraced their own set of experts in the realm of business administration.

Oftentimes, especially in a start-up scenario, the leader will often have to wear several hats. No job is beneath a manager of a newly formed business. Leadership is often forged in the crucible of the adversity associated with a fledgling business. Initial employees witnessing their boss down in the trench with them is invaluable in creating and engendering the respect which is requisite for a leader of any entity.

Popular kids on the playground are able to relate to and empathize with others. They are able to assume the view and perspective of those around them. This trait is almost always present in leaders of great businesses. It is impossible to decipher the correct way to properly motivate a given individual if you are incapable of identifying their particular wants, needs and drivers. Those who remain self focused not taking into account the outlook of the other party are not destined for successful management careers.

It may be cliche, but the adage of "leading from in front" exists for good reason. Commerce can be analogous to battle, and in both scenarios the troops will fight hardest for the leader who has garnered the most respect and admiration. This most often results from the leader exhibiting the willingness to get into the trenches with his troops not viewing any task too menial. Many managers operate in an ivory tower. They are aloof and detached from the daily grind of their staff. Common sense portends the fate of such executives.

From comic strips to television sitcoms, the communication (or lack thereof) within the business office has been ridiculed. Much of leadership relates to communication, yet most leaders assume their employees can magically read their minds. Being able to effectively communicate tasks, ideas, and more esoteric concepts such as corporate culture is paramount in ensuring the success of any organization. Many managers attempt to communicate with each employee in the exact same style and demeanor. Unless you have a staff of genetic clones, this method will prove disastrous. Each employee is a unique person requiring different management techniques. If this were not so, we'd have a computer program that would be able to manage us all.

Even more important to remember is that communication is a two way street. A good leader is also a good listener. Employees need to feel free to express their opinions, questions or concerns. An "open door" policy is a wise decision for any new manager. Listen intently when a member of your staff is speaking to you. Workers who feel their input is valued will exhibit increased loyalty to their manager.

One of the more trickier facets of management surrounds employee discipline. Inevitably, within any organization, a manager will be faced with this often unpleasant task. Managing the star employee is easy. Improving the weakest worker is the sign of a great manager. It is not possible to formulate a universal guide to employee discipline. Each person, hence employee, is unique. One general rule of thumb, however, will serve all new managers well. Praise in public, discipline in private.

In time, you will develop your own style as a manager which best suits your personality. Unfortunately, most often the only way to learn is through the trial and error method. Learn from your mistakes. Seek guidance from a mentor. Avail yourself to the world of free resources that exist at your fingertips online. No matter how long you have been managing people there is always more to learn.
About the Author
Visit this site for many fascinating articles on business management topics in general, and for particular topics such as: where to find an Mp3 Audio Book on your desired business topics. By Riv Schoel
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