You Make Management a Dirty Word


Say the word aloud.

Does it make you cringe? What comes to mind when you hear this word? Your experiences with a poor manager?

One of my favorite areas of business exploration is the CRM/Social CRM space. There are some great conversations occurring across the social web about how businesses should and can connect the dots between social and transactional data. Yet, this healthy flow of dialog always gets interrupted with the debate over the acronym. On more than one occasion, I have heard the cry for the M (standing for management) be removed or some other letter for some reason or another. Then the conversation takes a nose dive and becomes all about the semantics of the acronym.

Lately, this argument has had me frustrated because I thought this debate was useless and we were getting away from discussing the business process and putting theory into practice. And then, today, I had a light bulb moment while commenting on a post (original post) about customer experience and the ill feelings toward the word ‘management.’ This debate may actually help shed light on the areas that need to improve before we put theory into practice.

If you get rid of management, experience will follow. Management is not about dictating customer experience, but about guiding and educating the workforce to provide the best customer experience possible.

What is the job of a great manager?

  1. Be enthusiastic – A great manager shares the vision and shows excitement about exploring this new space or challenge.
  2. Hold team accountable – A great manager does not settle for mediocre results, but helps the team set measurable objectives and meet/exceed those challenges.
  3. Empower workforce – A great manager educates the team, thus empowering them to make rational decisions.
  4. Be a communicator – A great manager builds a professional relationship allowing for two-way dialog discussing performance, expectations and organization mission.
  5. Cultivate workforce – A great manager surrounds self with people who have strengths the manager does not  and develops/matures their strengths and weaknesses without the fear of replacement.

What happens before the customer experience? Management. Management is an internal function and the reward of successful management is external. The organization needs to do a better job of managing the workforce, by educating them about social data, integrating social strategies and data with other business processes, and so on.

We get so hung up on the word ‘management.’ It is a dirty word colored by our own experiences with a manager and makes everyone cringe. But management is needed and cannot be thrown to the curb because of semantics. It is not the customer we are trying to control, but the business process internally.

Being a manager is very similar to being a parent. You are the role of authority, so you can provide a safe haven (in the beginning) for a child to learn and grow, and ultimately enjoy positive life experiences. Social is not a band-aid for experience. It is an opportunity for management to educate and evaluate other customer touch points across the organization.

How can we change this debate over letters in an acronym to a conversation that pushes us forward?

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