ProdPod: Episode 107: Managing People for Productivity

Reading Time (est.): 2 minutes


In all my years of management, I’ve learned a few things which have proved consistent, that I have wrapped into a developing, high-level leadership framework for organizations, so I thought I’d share it with you.

  1. People need to be managed for greater productivity as a team;
  2. Management takes the form of people guiding people (not tools), culture managing people’s behaviors, and/or rules proscribing or prescribing behaviors that then are enforced by the group members or by managers; and,
  3. People work best when they have shared, common goals and their personal autonomy is supported.

I adhere to how Daniel Goleman defines leaders, simply put, as anyone with a sphere of influence. It’s not about the organizational chart, but that we all have people who lead us and follow us at different times. And, you need to be prepared to lead when those times arise.

Managing People

While there are different flavors of managing people, from the ineffective extremes of micromanagement to laissez-faire management, there is unequivocal organizational research that demonstrates that teams need to be managed. And utilizing some moderate management theory between those two extremes is likely to make your team more productive.

Management Takes Form

Management comes in three categories, in my mind: (a) people guiding people–you cannot relegate management to a machine (at least not yet) by applying the appropriate intrinsic, extrinsic and social motivations; (b) creating a culture that supports positively the behaviors that create productive people is always better than the alternative; and, (c) policies and procedures need to be metered out, as appropriate for the entire organization or by team, provided by the leadership team or by consensus of its members (and a democratically developed policy or procedure receives the benefit of buy-in from the most people).

Shared, Common Goals & Empowerment

Like any good sports team, you need to have an “in” group with a collective purpose and then you need to do what Dr. Ken Blanchard talks about in Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute. As Blanchard professes, make information accessible through appropriate, trust-building means, “create autonomy through boundaries,” and finally, reduce the amount of hierarchy in your organization.