You Own a Business – Time To Pick a Management Style?

Being a leader carries with it much responsibility.  It takes on even a bit more weight if you’re leading a company of your own creation.  You can’t fail!  What a bloody bummer that would be!  You may start a business on your own, or you may start up with several employees.  Either way, you may eventually have employees that you’re leading into business battle.

What’s the best management style?  That is a most ridiculous question.  Do different situations require different management styles?  Certainly. But can you step out of your shoes and manage in a style that’s decidedly un-you?  I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Nevertheless, I am always reading and listening to interviews with other leaders, because I certainly have room to grow and much to learn.  This interview with George Cloutier, the 63-year-old founder and chief executive of American Management Services, paints the picture of a man that puts profit above all else and doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

I often discuss the future of LeBron James with my cousin Joe.  I love LeBron and watch almost every game the Cavs play.  However, I often think that LeBron will never win a championship. Yes I know he’s young, and yes, he’s younger now than Michael Jordan was when he won the first of his six championships.  But LeBron is just such a nice guy. He wants to be liked. Michael Jordan was famously competitive. So is Kobe Bryant. So is Tiger Woods (insert joke here?).  LeBron is not a cutthroat, step on your own mom’s neck, win at all costs type of a guy.  I hope he can still win one.  What should LeBron do? Should he just try to become a killer on the court? Should he start berating teammates, using fear to motivate? Should he stop doing his choreographed pregame handshakes with all of his teammates? Should he try to be something he’s not?

Mr. Cloutier seems like the Michael Jordan of business.  Profits and business first, family and people second.  Perhaps that’s oversimplifying, but I didn’t get the warm fuzzies when I read that interview.  And you know what? That’s OK for him – I would not advise him to get in touch with his soft side, to try to treat people in a different manner in order to really unlock their true potential. This guy has a system and it’s apparently working for him.

While I can learn much from reading this interview, I can’t directly incorporate all of Mr. Cloutier’s tactics into my business practices.  It’s just not “me.”  You can read every self-help how-to business book, but you have to be comfortable in your own skin, and you have to be true to yourself and your values.  Trying to manage in a way that’s not “you” will have you expending an inordinate amount of energy, and your chances of success are certainly diminished.

What do y’all think?

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  • http://rexduffdixon.com/ RexDixon

    Looks like LeBron will win one soon. :) I just made a similar comment a couple of years ago, said Reggie Bush would never win won. Oooops! :)

  • http://russellparrott.com/ parotstalk

    Chris, found you via outspokemedia, like this blog a lot, it's all about your personal learning and sharing that with others – brill. I love this part “You can read every self-help how-to business book, but you have to be comfortable in your own skin, and you have to be true to yourself and your values. Trying to manage in a way that’s not “you” will have you expending an inordinate amount of energy, and your chances of success are certainly diminished.” It should be a motto for others. Hope don't mind, made you my “blog of the day” on my new blog – hopefully others will come and value your excellent and relevant work.

  • http://www.thebasemententrepreneur.com/ Chris Reimer

    Of course! Thank you for making me your blog of the day. Glad you found my blog, and I'm enjoying yours, as well.

  • http://russellparrott.com/ parotstalk

    Chris, No probs – you have some great stuff here. At the end of the day it's all about giving and what – hopefully we can do is give knowledge – by the way here's a idea for you why not offer “The Basement Entrepreneur Tees” on your site for commenters etc. I'm sure you could come up with something original.

  • http://www.stepaheadorthotics.com/ plantar fasciitis pain

    Management styles are characteristic ways of making decisions and relating to subordinates. Different management styles can be employed dependent on the culture of the business, the nature of the task, the nature of the workforce and the personality and skills of the leaders. This idea was further developed by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt (1958, 1973) who argued that the style of leadership is dependent upon the prevailing circumstance; therefore leaders should exercise a range of management styles and should deploy them as appropriate.

  • http://www.WeAreSpoke.com Brian Schwartz

    Nice post Chris. I read this interview when it first came out and thought the same thing: “there is no way I could use his style”. Some of his points are goo and they work for him, but I don't think I could do it. There is an interesting tie back to your other post (about interruptions) which got me thinking about work / life balance.

    Mr. Cloutier states you should love your business more than family and personally I would rather be poor and with my family than be successful and love the business more than them.

    Finding your own style is important. Maybe the takeaway here is authenticity? That's worked for him, because that is his personality. Others lead by example (or rah rah speeches, or a hands on coaching style), but whatever you do you have to be yourself.