Tweak Your Management Style for the 21st Century Workforce

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When eyeing the next upward move in your career, look to your former bosses for guidance. Talk to them. Evaluate them as a leader. While you’re analyzing them, you’ll discover that a particular set of characteristics comprise every leader that you admire.

As I am taking the Management Fundamentals course on HOW Design University, one of the first prompts is to reflect on your previous managers. So I sat down and really thought about the influential managers in my working life.

The Superb Managers and The Execrable Managers:

When I worked as a graphic designer for my university’s newspaper, my supervisor, even though he was mind-boggling busy, took the time to educate and help us grow in graphic design. He was relatable. We could talk to him about any subject, even subjects outside of design and the newspaper. He was fun to hang out with. But, most importantly, his direction provided education and earned respect.

At my current place of work, idea exchanges are open. I love the ability to communicate with my supervisors about new ideas and directions and know that they’ll listen and give their honest input. Even if their input negates my ideas, the fact that they are willing to discuss keeps me motivated.

I think most employees have experienced terrible management sometime during their working life. For me, I’ve only witnessed destructive management twice. I’ll only discuss the one I had during college at a retail photography studio that will remain nameless. During the Christmas season, which was from October to January for this studio, a comfortably-sized studio transformed into a packed sardine can of exhausted parents and hyped up children. The new switch in management placed more value on the revenue stream rather than their employees’ well-being and customer satisfaction. The management double booked our appointments on the hour every hour. We closed shop at five but because of the overbooking we often kept working until nine or ten at night. Obviously, customers were upset because every appointment started late. Employee morale nosedived. We worked non-stop, skipped lunch, and tried to appease the understandably frustrated customers. I quit after that holiday season despite being happily employed there for more than a year and the generous Christmas bonus. When a company shows how little they value their workforce and customers, they will lose both. (And yes, even considering the Christmas bonus, the lack of care they showed us and their customers meant more to me than the money.) And they did lose both.

Managerial Characteristics:

From my experiences, and I’m sure everyone has had both execrable and wonderful experiences with management, we can deduce a few things about what great management is: it’s compassionate, relatable, open, earnest, instructional and authoritative. How else would you describe a great manager? Feel free to comment below.

When tweaking your managerial style, it’s important to consider the characteristics of a great manager and how you could apply them in your daily routine. Check out other considerations about managerial style in the modern workplace from this HOW Design University course, Management Fundamentals, in the clip below.

How a Manager Should Adapt to the 21st Century Organization:

The course continues with more valuable and insightful knowledge into the managerial role. I recommend this course for those already managing and for those aspiring to become a manager. You may learn more about the course here.

Fine-tune your creative leadership skills further by attending the HOW Design Live Conference in May. The conference’s leadership program will help you develop a clear vision, discover the tools you need and harness the force of design to achieve your business or personal leadership goals.