What Is Management? Part 3


Management today

Most managers now realize that one size does not fit all.Rather than rigidly adopting one management style, the pace of change in modern society demands a more flexible, dynamic approach to problem solving, goal setting and staying on-mission. The “contingency approach” to management adopts this respect for changing priorities, resources and economic conditions. It looks to the specifics of the current situation and uses whatever tools, including application of classical or behavior-management techniques, to come up with the best way to proceed. The contingency approach demands leadership on the part of managers, which some may consider a downside.

You as manager

Now that you understand some of the historical and philosophical underpinnings of what management means, you canwrite your job description.Did you include leadership and motivation? In addition to planning, budgeting and directing day-to-day activities, didyou include your responsibility to address the human factor, and how that can create unique situations? In a service business, which is what your fitness facility is,there is no one right way. Your members come to your club to be treated as individuals, and only another human being relating to them at a human level can do that. If you spend most of your training time instructing floor staff on the proper way to re-rack dumbbells or wipe down equipment, don’t be surprised if you have robotic, indifferent employees who don’t last more than a few months. Instead, imbue your staff with a sense of mission about your desire to deliver the ultimate in individually focused customer service, and show them that you value their communication and people skills as essential to accomplish that result.

As in the Hawthorne Experiments, shine the light of appreciation on your employees,and they will amaze you with their response. The role of management is to persuade others to do better. Harry S. Truman once said that one of his principal activities as president was “to bring people in and try to persuade them to do what they ought to be doing anyway.” Getting this to happen is a sign of good management.

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