I received a very irate phone call after yesterday’s post, in which I said that managers make their own stars and if that wasn’t happening then they needed to look at their own MAP, since it’s the basis of their management skills.
My caller informed me that I didn’t know what I was talking about; that poor performance was poor performance and that saying it was anything else was merely an effort to excuse it. He said all this at length, with great passion and fire.
I asked him to describe his management approach. The essence was that he had learned the hard way that most people weren’t like him; they didn’t really care about doing a good job, so he set very specific tasks and kept a close eye on what/how they were doing.
He said that his people got the assigned work done, but took little initiative; didn’t offer suggestions to improve anything and rarely put out more effort than was necessary—confirming his belief that they didn’t care.
He was angry because a peer group, managed by a guy who spent most of his time chatting with his workers and “codling them,” had just come up with a process improvement that would save the company millions.
He said that it didn’t make sense to him; he thought the guy was a wimpy manager, more worried about being liked than making sure the work got done.
I asked about turnover in both groups and he said that it was lower in the other group, because the manger was so laid back, and higher in his, mainly because he ran a demanding organization and people didn’t want to work that hard.
I didn’t argue with him, I mainly listened, but, with every word, he confirmed my long-held belief that stars are the result of managers’ MAP.
Finally, I asked how his manager worked. He said that his manger laid out the goals, didn’t interfere, and let him get on with the job. When I asked how he would feel if his manger managed him as he managed his group, he told me he wouldn’t tolerate it, but that it was a stupid question, since his boss knew that he cared, just as he knew that his people didn’t.