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Dear David: Effective management tips for all generations

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By David Romano

Dear David: 

I’ve been a general manager for the last 11 years and make it a point to attend educational events at conventions focusing on managing a millennial team. My struggle is that I’m having just as many problems managing my older staff. Do you have any suggestions on how I can manage my team regardless of age?

Dear General Manager,

There are many nuisances to managing different generational teams, but effectively managing a team is pretty basic. Ironically, managers in some of my organizations were having similar difficulties. However, once they adopted the following concepts, their ability to manage their teams improved.

Be courageous. A leader’s courage is based upon his knowledge of subject matter, confidence in his abilities and understanding of his functional role. Employees will not tolerate being told what to do by a manager who does not possess self-confidence.

Maintain self-control. Be in control of your actions, especially in pressure-filled situations. Without self-control, you cannot lead effectively. Self-control sets an example for your personnel. This is a case of “Do as I say” and “Do as I do.”

Be consistently fair. Employees expect to be treated fairly. If they do not have a sense that their treatment is measured, fair and just, they will not pay you the respect you need.

Make clear, decisive decisions. An indecisive manager broadcasts to the staff that he is not sure of himself. Be clear, be decisive and stick with your decision. You may not always make the correct decision, but you will be respected in making one and following through.

Plan effectively. You’ve probably heard Joe Paterno’s quote, “The failure to plan is planning to fail.” A manager who works reactively without definite plans is comparable to a plane without landing gear—it will land, but the result will be everything from bumpy to disastrous and fatal.

Over-deliver on expectations. Always lead by example. People don’t care as much about what you say as they care about what you do and how you go about doing it. A leader must be willing to do more than they demand.

Have a pleasant demeanor. Being rude and overbearing is not a quality anyone should have. Leadership demands respect, both of others and of you. Staff will not respect a leader who does not conduct himself in a proper manner.

Be firm but empathetic. A leader must understand his people and their problems. Remember, the customer is always right, except on occasions when she is wrong. As leader, there will be times when you must defend your staff.

Pay attention to detail. In retail, it’s important for you to see the store through the guests’ eyes and through the staff’s eyes. Remain vigilant and look for ways to improve the customer’s experience and make your staff’s functions easier.

Cooperation is key. A successful leader understands cooperation and applies it consistently. He uses cooperation as part of his standard operating procedure and, through his example, causes his followers to do the same. Do not confuse cooperation with weak command and control. A weak leader will only gain cooperation begrudgingly.

David Romano, formerly the founder of Romano Consulting Group as well as Benchmarkinc Recruiting, is currently the director of Dallas-based Romano Group. You can contact David at david@romanogroup.com.