I have just come back from a three-week road trip to Montenegro. Nothing unusual in that you might think, except I did it in a 51-year-old open top car.  As you can imagine, it was quite a journey, especially as we stuck to the small roads, travelling from town to town for 95% of the journey.

On the road, there was plenty of time for me to reflect on things and one of the questions I found myself coming back to is ‘What is management?’ Not so much the text book definition, but rather how do we do it in practice? So, one night in my hotel room, I came up with the following list of activities:

  1. Instructing
  2. Motivating
  3. Checking (or controlling)
  4. Acknowledging
  5. Rewarding
  6. Punishing

I then set about looking at each in turn. For the first, taking the case of a teenage child with a messy bedroom as my example, I came up with six basic lines of approach:

  1. A direct instruction – ‘Tidy your bedroom’.
  2. Suggestive instruction – ‘Would you mind tidying your room?’
  3. Visionary instruction – ‘Have you thought about tidying your room?’
  4. Good natured instruction – ‘Be an angel and tidy your room, please?’
  5. Reward based instruction – ‘If you tidy your room I will… (add bride / reward here).’
  6. Begging instruction – ‘Please, please tidy your room.’

Unfortunately, it had been a rather long day which was rounded off with a deceptively strong bottle of red wine over a heavy dinner, so I didn’t get any further with the others.  However, bearing in mind it all seems pretty straight forward, I wonder why in real life management can be so difficult at times?  After all we are all rational beings, are we not?

I think I may have been away too long!  🙂

Have a good week