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Your management style

Is it working for or against you? Your management style Is it working for or against you?

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped
-Elbert Hubbard

Like the ability to tell a joke, you either have it or you don’t. While not all of us can become a Jay Leno, some elements of style that help keep your SOHO operation running smoothly and profitably can be learned. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips from the good and bad examples of others that I’ll share with you now.

Don’t appear too affluent to the staff. Many years ago, legendary photographer and entrepreneur Don Feltner advised me that if my studio ever became really profitable, I shouldn’t buy a Cadillac. “Driving an expensive automobile creates resentment within the staff,” he said. At the time, I believed him and stuck with practical vehicles such as Volvo station wagons and Jeep Cherokees that could haul photography equipment. I never got around to buying a Cadillac, but purchased a used Porsche after I sold the studio.

Your actions set the employees’ work style. A reader recently contacted me about her experience at the SOHO operation where she works. The company was moving to a new location and the owner asked every employee to work during the weekend so they would be ready bright and early on Monday at their new location. He then took off to go skiing on that same weekend. On Saturday, the boss called one of his lieutenants, who was busy coordinating with the movers, and chastised him for not taking care of some detail. The only problem was that he was calling on his cell phone from a bar at the ski resort.

The staff will cut you some slack. Even if your management style resembles Mother Theresa’s, there are always employees who will find something to complain about. Any reasonable employee will realize that you’re the reason they get a paycheck, and won’t expect you to look and act like one of the troops. Nevertheless, ask yourself how the people who do the work view your actions. Rupert Murdock doesn’t worry about this, and neither will you when you have as much money as he does.

You’re on the same team. If you’re providing a good work ethic example to your employees, you have a right to expect that they’ll deliver, too. If they don’t, have a talk with them and try to find out what the problem might be. Some employees find it difficult to go through their professional lives without being miserable and making all around them miserable. Try to get problem employees on the same playbook, but if they don’t want to work up to standards, take a page from the NFL and cut them.

More on management style can be found at WorkTracks, but all of these style points relate to how well you, as The Big Cheese, handle success. When struggling to attain financial rewards, it’s easy to stay focused on the goals and objectives that inspired you to start the business in the first place. Just don’t lose that focus after you make a few bucks.

Contributing Editor Joe Farace is the author of more than 1000 magazine articles and 23 books, and right now he’s driving a new Beetle. Only the three-year old down the street is impressed.

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