Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, January 8, 2007

Some musings on management

First up, sorry for the lack of updates (since last year lol . . . yeah, that wasn't funny, I know). Life has been a bit on the hectic side since new years' day.

Since starting at my new waitressing jobs I've been plunged into the wonderful world of someone-different-in-charge-every-time, and thus have had a bit of a crash course in dealing with different management styles.

I've discovered that there are basically two types of manager: "Panic Button" and "Cruise Along".

"Panic Button" managers are always in a tizz, even when the cafe is dead quiet, and when it gets busy they completely freak out. They can't deal with change: if there's two people behind counter and two people in front of counter, you don't dare change position, even if you suddenly need three behind and one in front, because they can't cope with your flexibility. They completely freak out if they see you stand still even for a second, and aren't afraid to physically push you around (not angrily, just to indicate where they want you to be) and they use pseudo-affectionate nicknames ("honey", "chicken", "pumpkin" etc), perhaps because they're too busy to remember names, and they always speak to others in a condescending tone.

Now, "Panic Button" managers are effective, in the sense that they're not ineffective. The cafe runs. Stuff gets done. And the staff look really busy, because they're too scared of being yelled at to stand still. Of course, they may not be achieving anything worthwhile and may in fact merely be moving to give the appearance of having something to do; and the staff may be expending half their brain-power on making sure that the manager isn't about to yell at them for something. But everyone is working, so it's all good, right?

Then there's "Cruise Along" managers. "Cruise Along" managers are still the boss, but at the same time they're everyone's mate. They trust their staff to be doing the right thing at the right time, and as long as the staff are doing what needs to be done, they don't care who is doing it. They give friendly directions if their staff are without something to do, make orders sound like suggestions that the staff just happen to comply with; and when there's really nothing to do, they don't try to make the staff do it anyway. They're happy to take a break, have a chat, giggle a bit and make the day interesting. When things get crazy they grin and bear it, and float on top with a laugh or two at the situation.

Now, the "Panic Button" managers would never credit it, but "Cruise Along" managers get more done. Oh, it doesn't look like it, because how can people get things done if they're not racing around in a tearing hurry and trying to do everything at once? But it's amazing how much work people can burn through if they're relaxed and confident rather than looking over their shoulder the whole time.

You can no doubt guess which kind of manager I prefer working under!


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