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Management, Nolan Knight, SCMG, Scott Sensat

The Oxymoronic Manager

Oxymoron: A combination of contradictory words
I’m sure you’re familiar with some of these oxymorons… Jumbo Shrimp, Plastic Glasses, Student Teacher, Pretty Ugly. As we look at some managers and the actions they take, it becomes quite evident that their actions can be clearly seen as nothing more than oxymoronic.
Keep in mind, the definition of management is the process of turning talents into performance. So as a manager, anything you do in the name of managing that contradicts this definition now becomes an oxymoron, hence, the oxymoronic manager. Get the picture?
Here are three oxymoronic things we have seen from managers over the years…
Effective One-Hour-Meeting: “Effective” and “1-Hour Meeting” are complete contradictions. But how many of us have been to one? I’m guessing some of you have been to one in the past week! Usually the important things discussed in a 1-hour meeting could have been covered in a matter of 15 minutes or less. We’re not saying there should never be a 1-hour meeting but when it comes to effectively managing your team, ditch the long meetings and go for short, (2 to 5 minute) individual daily meetings with each person that reports to you. Save the 1-hour meetings for the leadership-type brainstorming sessions. The rest of us have work to do!
Non-Negotiable Options: We’ve listed four non-negotiables any business should have as boundaries that all employees must operate within. Funny thing is… many managers communicate these as “options” to their employees. Sure, maybe they don’t say it directly but their actions or inactions pretty much tell the story when non-negotiables are not followed. Take the non-negotiable of you can’t consistently come to work in a bad mood or with a bad attitude. Look around, how many employees came to work in the past week with a bad attitude? Is it a non-negotiable or an option? Hear any good gossip in the past week? Is it a non-negotiable or an option? Starting to see a trend? A non-negotiable without consequence becomes an option. Turn your non-negotiables into options and your best employees will leave or become less engaged because of it. You’ll never know what hit you!
Always Available: How can this be? If you’re meeting with a customer or employee you can’t be available to someone else. This is one of the biggest excuses we get as to why managers don’t want to utilize a calendar. By claiming to be available the manager now becomes less available. Effective managers work by appointment. This in turn makes them more available. Case in point… one of your advocates drops by the office but you’re currently meeting with a customer that had a minor issue on an account. Your advocate waits a few minutes and decides to come back later. He’s told you’ll be in all day. He comes back. You’re at lunch. He comes back, you’re with another customer. Your open-door policy just shut the door on your advocate. Here’s another typical scenario… your employees constantly interrupt you with basic questions throughout the day. Try scheduling that morning meeting with the employee and you’ll see the interruptions drop dramatically. Why? Because you’re now coaching that employee to save these issues for discussion in your daily meeting. Starting to get it? Train your employees and customers to schedule appointments. Sure, emergencies happen, but even with that, a schedule will make you ten times more available than the so called “I’m Always Available” oxymoronic manager.
Bottom line… Don’t be an oxymoronic manager. You’ll only attract oxymoronic employees which will result in your team or business becoming the ultimate oxymoron… You guessed it! The Biggest Loser.

About SCMG

Vision Implementers with strong opinions on Leadership, Management and Employee Development. Helping organizations and people “get it” for over 20 years. Visit our website at to learn more about us.


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