Thursday, August 17, 2006

Learning to manage

When I said I was back to work this week, it was kinda/sorta of the truth. I've actually been at a class all this week teaching me how to manage people.

Yeah, stop laughing.

The thing is, I've managed people before. In a previous life, I was the associate editor of two weekly community newspapers. Whenever the editor was away, I was technically in charge.

However, as I'm learning this week, I'm not sure if editors always have the best people management skills. I mean, many of my editors have motivated me to complete my assigned tasks by basically threatening my life.

There's a line in a recent Warren Ellis graphic novel - JLA: New Maps of Hell - that I like. I can't recommend the book; it's one of Ellis' weaker efforts. But there's a great bit involving some of the Superman cast. Where Daily Planet editor Perry White is looking for Lois Lane and Clark Kent. His line: "Where's Lane and Kent? I want to drink their blood."

I've had editors like that. Where death is the favoured motivating technique in getting reporters to finish their stories before deadline. And I picked up on that and it became how I managed people when I was in charge. It didn't work on more senior reporters who had been around the block a few years. Threatening them with death is laughable. If the chronic drinking hadn't killed them at that point, they're far too sturdy for me to do them in. But as you might have figured out, enticing them with alcohol - effective motivating technique. However, death threats did work on younger reporters.

I've learned this week that perhaps, perhaps this is not the best way of getting people to do their job. This is a shock to me. I'm going to have to completely reevaluate how I manage people...when I get someone to manage.

Yeah, I'm doing a management course, yet there is a notable lack of people for me to manage. I mean, I have the word "manager" in my job title, but I thought it was just one of those words that they put in there to make you feel special. But no, apparently they mean it. I have no one right now, but I'll get someone next year. So this is all excellent prep work on how to handle the one person I'll be managing. I sure hope they appreciate all I'm learning and that I've discovered that threatening to drink their blood is wrong.

So what I'm learning is that communication is important. Or rather, positive communication is important (hence the not threatening to make them weep). Assigning goals, being accessible and recognizing different personality types and how to work with them.

I've also learned that I'm an introvert, which I'm sure is a shock to many. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I also like facts (Sensor, not intuitive), tend to be more of a feeler than a thinker (which is an assessment I'm skeptical on) and a perceiver rather than a judger. Or an ISFP. It's kind of interesting to learn some of the stuff, actually. Maybe I should get Cathy to do the test. That could be fun...


dups said...

Well Craig, I'm just going through similar courses now... would you believe that I'm an extrovert? No really... apparently I am. Apparently I am the colour red, some blue and some yellow, and apparently I am not a feeling person at all... there you go. And on Briggs-Meyers or whatever it is I am ENFJ or something... the teacher looked at me and said "And Dups is a perfect example of a driven Extrovert. If I told you to be shut up for the next hour you wouldn't be able to do it, could you?"

Damn tests.

towniebastard said...


Theresa said...

Who are you????
I am a former CBC'er in Iqaluit who lived in Goose for a number of years and now hang my hat in NB.
Your blog is very interesting.

colette said...

Hey, I have minions in my new job! They're great too. My way of managing them is to not manage them. Very Zen. One thing I do have to constantly remember is not to do the typical chick thing of prefacing a request with stuff like "If it's not too much trouble...." or "If you're not busy...." said in that annoying sing-song voice. I don't ever use the voice but I've caught myself with the girly goshshucks thing one too many times. Drives me absolutely batshit.

You'll be fine Craig. Although the thought of you in a management class is mildly amusing.

(cue Escape from New York) Dups! Dups Wijayawardhana! I thought you were dead! (end cue Escape from New York) Welcome back! Are there pictures on your website yet?

Clare said...

many of my editors have motivated me to complete my assigned tasks by basically threatening my life.

Sounds eerily like the RCMP. Unfortunately none of my supervisors attempts/tactics seemed to work with me. I once had a supervisor actually offer to give me money to bring my stuff up to date.

towniebastard said...

Claire, the threats of murder were generally one of two final stages that my editors used on me. The other was sobbing and begging.

Theresa, I once had no problem putting my name on the blog. Many of the people that visit here already know who I am. However, a combination of several factors made me take my name off the blog, at least for a little while.

First, I got a job with the government. And while I am cautious about what I write, there's always the concern the govt would not approve of a personal blog.

Second point, at least one person has already been fired from a job in Iqaluit for blogging about two years ago (granted, she was admittedly unwise in some of the things she wrote). So sooner safe than sorry. There's actually a reporter with Nunatsiaq News blogging right now and saying some stuff I wonder if s/he might come to regret at some point.

So sorry if I'm sounding a touch paranoid, and it's not like it's hard to find out who I am if you're really determined. But I do choose to err on the side of caution for right now about my identity. I hope you understand.