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The Difficulty of Managing During The Good Times

The Difficulty of Managing During The Good Times

tED magazine handed out the 2018 “30 Under 35” awards at the NAED LEAD Conference on Thursday, July 19.  For the first time in the seven-year history of the awards, 24 of the 30 award winners have “Manager” or “Supervisor” in their job descriptions.

Time to face facts:  This supply chain is getting younger.  And being at the LEAD Conference will help them be a better manager in the future.

The conference kicked off with keynote speaker Aaron Thomas, a high school principal and football coach at a small town in Iowa.  Thomas’ father was the football coach before him, but he was murdered in front of some of his players 9 years ago.  How Aaron Thomas and his family handled the tragic death of not just a family member but a community leader showed their true character. ESPN featured the family in a special story.

It’s interesting to find how managers (and future managers) will handle the bad times.  If you go to Google to search for advice on how to manage during difficult times or a poor economy, hundreds of options appear. But regardless of how you feel about politics, right now our economy is a lot better than it was 10 years ago when we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis this century.

I can remember looking great, solid employees in the eyes and letting them know that we were letting them go.  I can remember cutting budgets to the bone, restricting travel to zero, and taking multiple pay cuts.

It’s not like that today.

My son is about to start his senior year in high school.  As a soccer player, he has the opportunity to play in college, and has narrowed his list to four schools that are interested in him as a player, and offer the majors he wants to pursue. At this point, I am doing everything I can to let him make this decision.  But I really want to offer my opinion.  Because the answer is he needs to pick the school with the best leader.

College sports is not all about winning championships and doing keg stands on the weekends.  There will be weeks when the team loses 3 or 4 games in a row.  How is that leader going to manage that situation?  And then during those weeks of losses, someone is going to get caught doing a keg stand, and how is that leader going to handle that situation?

My son has options when it comes to the next four years.  While this economy is so strong, so do your employees.  If you look at the latest JOLTS report from the Bureau of Labor, there are more jobs out there than there are people to fill them.  Right now, your managers don’t have to worry about telling people they can’t work for you anymore.  Your managers have to worry about your employees telling you they can’t work for you anymore.  There are too many options out there to assume your employees are staying.

Aaron Thomas brought up a great point during his speech at the NAED LEAD Conference. Many of his father’s former players went on to do great things. Some played professional football. Others became business leaders. When a major storm blew through their hometown in Iowa, they didn’t write a check to help with the repairs. They all came back. They rolled up their sleeves and they re-built what they believe in. There is something to be said about the culture your managers create, the value of working with you, and the vision to keep your employees “your employees.”

Managing during difficult economic times is not easy.  It turns out, managing while the economy is this strong isn’t easy either.

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Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

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