Years ago when I first started in management training I had a great mentor who shepherded me through the basic parts of floor management with McDonald’s.
The operations and technical procedures were over-whelming to a “college” boy looking to learn the ropes and make it to big time management. The pace and the demands were well beyond my capabilities and the forty plus crew all knew their jobs far better than I knew mine.
Every day my mentor and trainer patiently taught and explained the process and the details of learning how to conduct the orchestra by knowing the basics well, “going deep” with the details, and spending time encouraging instead of criticizing. He clearly understood the importance of management training. The stresses of operating one of the highest volume restaurants in the country were enormous, and the attention to detail was truly impressive. The leadership part of my job seemed impossible because I was surrounded by incredibly talented and experienced personnel and they would often “run me over” to meet the business demands.
Throughout each day my mentor would coach and teach. Gradually he began to pull back and allow me to operate the business. It required enormous skill and an incredible ability to anticipate the next steps. My mentor would often sneak up to me in the middle of especially difficult circumstances and quietly ask me; “Where should you be right now?” It was frustrating because I was wrapped up in my frenzy to achieve, and didn’t want to be provoked into thinking instead of acting. Patiently, he would ask until I responded correctly, and gradually I learned the key to moving away from personal action, and instead moving into anticipatory management.
The fact is that this lesson is probably the best management training I ever received.
When you are listening to your clients, customers and employees and hearing their frustrations, watching the short term decision making, and observing the lack of planning, please consider the question…..Where should you be right now?
You will often get an exasperated response and it is true that when the Ox is in the ditch, even on Sunday….we need to get it out. But, we must ask ourselves as we coach, and teach, and encourage…..where does the client need to be right now? Management training is an important key to leadership development.
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