Aaron and I were talking about a subject that interests both of us, management. We both have an ongoing interest in the subject as I was a manager for over 25 years and Aaron has been a manager for over ten years.
When I became a supervisor, 1980, I was humbled by the responsibility of being the crew leader of three full time staff and nine student staff.
I first wanted to understand what my, new staff, needed to be able to accomplish the housekeeping duties that we were charged to accomplish on a nightly basis.
I knew that I responded favorably to supervisors who spoke to me with respect and treated me as an equal…rather than a subordinate. I remembered that a few kind words from a supervisor or a manager or the Superintendent of the department, inspired me and caused me to want to do an increasingly better and professional job.
Also, I had experienced what it felt like to be, talked down too and criticized publicly and made to feel insignificant. I had experienced a supervisor uttering profanity when they gave me work instructions.
I knew what it was like to be new on the job and nervous and apprehensive and trying so hard to accomplish a good job…that the opposite occurred.
As a new supervisor, I wanted each member of the team to feel valued and vital to the success of the operation. I wanted everyone to feel like members of a caring family.
The great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said, ‘I really do not care how much you know…until I know how much you care…about me.’
The Golden Rule tells us that we should treat others as we want to be treated.
Implementing the Golden Rule…is easier to say than do.
A a manager you may be doing the most thoughtful of things for a member of your staff and you may be patient with them and kind when there is a constructive correction needed and interested in their job satisfaction…and then you hear that the employee is openly and vigorously criticizing you and your management style.
You must treat the criticizing member of your staff as if you never heard the criticism.
I have been asked, numerous occasions, what my management philosophy was?
When I was, suddenly, given the Superintendent’s duties for the Building Services department, the Director of Plant and Service Operations introduced me to his immediate staff and then asked me if I would like to say anything.
I told the Director and his Associate Directors, that I was going to make Building Services enemies our friends and that I wanted our friends to love us.
I made it a habit, during my career, to treat those who were the most critical of me…as my friends and supporters.
One of my foreman told me once that she had noticed that I treated my enemies just like my friends and that if a person did not know, who was in each camp, they would never be able to distinguish by my interactions with them.
She went on to say that she wondered that…if at times…I did not treat my enemies better…?
I felt no greater satisfaction than when a person told me that they had not trusted me or cared for me…but that through the years they had grown to appreciate my dedication to everyone in Building Services.
As a, human, when people say bad or negative or untrue things about you…it hurts.
I told my foreman, more than once, to not relay to me the personal negative comments that they heard regarding me…unless they overheard that someone was trying to get me fired or killed.
However, management…leadership, is not about you and it is not about me. It is about treating everyone in a fair and caring and considerate manner. It is a stewardship position…you do not own people and they are not your subjects.
If constructive criticism is required it must always and only be about specific job performance and it must always be done in private.
If there is praise and commendation to be uttered regarding a successful professional member of your staff…exclaim it from the top of the tallest’ mountain for everyone to hear and appreciate.
Don’t be given to rhetoric or bluster or speak of personal traits that are not job related.
Everything that you tell a member of your staff that you are going to do for them…you must move heaven and earth to ensure that you do exactly what you said that you would do.
If you are told something, confidentially, you must…lock it in the vault and throw away the key.
As a supervisor and a manager/administrator I believed that I was simply the University’s representative to the members of my staff and that it was my awesome responsibility to portray SIU as the caring and compassionate and stellar and elite institution of higher education that it is.
For the entirety of my 32 years and 2 months and 3 week career at SIU…I believed that I was associated with colleagues that were the best of the best and that their wisdom and dedication and professionalism was unparalleled.
I understood that it was a humbling honor to be allowed to work with such an Housekeeping Team that were at the height of their skills and paramount among their peers throughout the State of Illinois and throughout the United States.
It was not hard or difficult to treat these wonderful and caring and first class professionals with total respect!