Being a hands-on manager is a good thing. It’s a style that means that you are willing to do the same work as their employees, and learn the business from the inside out. Leaders’ skills affect employee engagement which influences productivity and impacts the bottom line.
Because leadership behaviors can be measured and improved, organizations can increase employee engagement and impact productivity by investing in leadership skill development at all levels of the organization.
Andrew McGill Fenderbosch is the CEO of Monster Vacations Group, one of the top sellers of Vacation Timeshares — and he trains and works with all his employees and teaches them what he has learned.
I sat down with Andrew Fenderbosch for a bit and found out how a hands-on management style can help marketers.
What is the benefit of hands-on management for marketers?
There are many parallels that can be drawn between a sports athlete and a sales or marketing professional. One example which is widely reported on is the need to develop a certain “mental toughness and confidence” on the field or in the arena.
While growing certain skill sets are important, it is rarely the determining factor for success, whereas a person’s state of mind is mission critical. When athletes find themselves in a “slump” it typically takes outside guidance to help course correct and get back on track.
Similarly, a sales or marketing agent is prone to slumps in production and also needs outside counsel to help right the ship. A hands-on manager or coach plays a crucial role in identifying patterns and trends that could be affecting their team’s results.
The more hands on and involved a manager or coach is the more likely they are to identify these affects quickly and help make the needed adjustments so their star performers can get back to the spotlight.
Hands on management for the marketing agent help keeps them in a perpetual state of peak performance. Our confidence typically relates back to strong performance of some kind whether it be in school, on the ball field or in the workforce.
An involved manager will promote and remind marketing agents of their past successes and what characteristics they displayed during those times of success. When management or a corporate structure purposely creates too much space between employees and management then performance slumps are more likely to be common in the workplace.
Hands on simply means taking an active role in helping the performance of team members which is very difficult to do if your interactions are infrequent and uncommon. Historically, people benefit more when working closely together and have the ability to learn from others. Hands on leadership is essential to accomplishing this.
Aren’t people like Tony Hsieh advocating amazing freedom of employees, no managers; isn’t that the new way of the future?
There are undoubtedly instances where managers are unnecessary and create career roadblocks for others they are supposed to be supporting and developing. However, it is also very unlikely that a company will retain managers over a period of time that don’t improve performance and employee morale.
Empowering employees to make decisions and take responsibility for their area of business is the way of the future, but doing it without managers is not. Studies show that a person’s ability to multi-task is limited severely when pressure is applied to the situation such as meeting work deadlines.
One of the key roles for management is in their freedom to work with a variety of team members, remove roadblocks, open up channels of communication and provide suggestions for success. Many managers are also responsible for writing schedules, staffing, training and so on.
This list of responsibilities would inevitably be re-tasked to other team members if management was not part of the corporate structure forcing another layer of multi-tasking to its employees. Now imagine a scenario where a company has no management and you are the employee.
The company needs three new team members and you have to help recruit them by writing the ads, responding to resume’s, conducting the interviews and making the final hiring decision. After three new employees are hired, you help them with paperwork and conduct all training necessary over the ensuing weeks.
At the same time you are training the new team members another colleague has an emergency and needs you to cover her work load. Did I mention in this scenario you are still required to do all of your work and achieve your sales or marketing quotas?
Would this be a stressful environment with many roadblocks to achieving your individual success while at the same time trying to help others do the same?
How would the company handle a scenario where this employee is missing her individual budgets, but has many other responsibilities given to her by the company?
Do they (not even sure who they would be with no management) allow her personal performance to be forgiven and run the risk of becoming a company that does not hold its marketing or sales agents accountable? Do they discipline her and run the risk of a disgruntled employee who is helping this company in many facets, but she is not getting any credit for doing so?
The reality is we should have high expectations of our employees, give them freedom to make decisions and then follow up to inspect results. Management does not deter these things from taking place, but rather initiates them and helps keep them intact for the long-term. Removing managers would be about as safe to a company as removing ingredient labels would be to a consumer.
What are ways that you can motivate marketers who work for you?
Helping someone achieve their goals is the ultimate motivator. Taking one-on-one time with employees to sit down and talk through their goals is always the first step. Once you have an idea of their goals it is important to help prioritize them by time-frame needed to achieve.
Put the goals on paper and brainstorm with your employee on what steps need to be taken to achieve them. From there your job is to help keep them on track. If you have the discipline to make this a consistent, on-going piece of your work then you will have an amazing group of people who are self-motivated and achieving goals frequently.
What are some examples you’ve seen of companies that are under-managed, and what happens?
Under-managed companies tend to miss projected targets and deadlines consistently. Workloads also rise when teams are under-staffed and stress is more frequent among these groups. Employee morale tends to decrease while turnover usually increases.
Of course these things will also likely happen in appropriately managed companies as well, but their frequency will be much less.There is a fine balance to achieve between under and over managed, but the likelihood of reaching targeted budgets while keeping staff members motivated is much lower if your business is under-managed.
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