In a series of occasional and ‘just-when-the-moment-grabs-us’ blogs we’ll be posting some articles that deal with the deeper side of being in business and featuring the thoughts and opinions of our team members.  First up are my thoughts on the topic of “People-Management is just like Cattle-Herding. Discuss…..”

And my answer is an emphatic “No!” and now I’ll explain why…

It’s not just petty and mean to treat employees like cattle, it’s also bad business. The best employees won’t stay in a broken culture where fear has replaced trust. Beaten-down and fearful employees can’t take care of customers, build great products or innovate their way out of a paper bag”. Liz Ryan, Human Workplace.

Well said Liz!

Good business is about good humanity

Being genuine and allowing the people that we employed – we chose them after all – to be equally as honest and authentic. It is important to allow fellow workers to bring their missions and visions into the workplace.  If as leaders we are too draconian or rigid we miss out on possibilities that are innate within people.  I trust the team implicitly to do the right-thing by our clients and therefore for the business. I have high standards and expectations and I think it is reasonable to be clear about these and for the acceptable (optimum) behaviour boundaries to be followed. I happen to love business numbers! They are what I use to reinforce efficient prioritisation.  Numbers ground me & foster knowledge within the team regarding measurable targets and timescales.

I lead by example – demonstrating the behaviour that I believe to be valuable. As the old adage goes – actions speak louder than words. I work hard and my personal motto of “Ita Ut Fiat” (“so it becomes”) reminds me to watch my character; as it becomes my destiny.

I do not believe that I know it all and that I should shoulder all decisions and responsibilities!  I am like everyone else; juggling my own foibles, trying to concentrate on my strengths and not let my weaknesses get in the way too much!  I surround myself with passionate and skilful people who are open to working in collaboration.  I encourage the team to push themselves hard, for stated purposes, and to be sensible but confident about the risks that this involves.  My hope is to foster an environment where people feel able to innovate with no fear of come-back. Tough choices are of course part of being a business-owner and are never pleasant – but they are a good opportunity to reinforce the authenticity that the business embodies and in that way can, perversely, be a positive force just so long as it is done professionally, fairly and decently.

I am privileged to work with a joint-business owner who shares this ethos. He is a person of great veracity and who has been instrumental in helping me feel the most powerful and permitted I have ever been (in a career which has included senior management in several blue-chip corporates where I may have earned great money but in comparison I was powerless to affect major-change/improvement).

“Herding like cattle”? More like “Soaring like Birds”…!

So; what’s your preference?

Do you have a particular approach to managing people that you’d like to share with us? Get in touch or leave a comment below.

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