David Sullivan's picture

A Good Manager Goes a Long Way

I have a vivid memory of sitting in a management class during my MBA thinking about how the information we were receiving was either elementary (meaning everything I really need to know about people I learned in kindergarten) or impractical.  After experiencing the difficulty of aligning employee incentives with the company’s incentives through pay structure I understand better and appreciate what we were taught in that class—sometimes you just have to have good managers who know how to appropriately motivate their employees.

Our human nature is to act in a way that benefits us individually.  However, many times this great quality causes us to trade an immediate gain for a future loss for both the company and ourselves. Often, employees “work the system” to maximize bonuses and pay, causing management to miscalculate the cost involved in providing a product or service to the customer.

The best-intended bonus program, piece-rate pay structure, or spiff incentive can never replace the need to truly manage employees.  Adam Smith was correct when he stated that not only should the labor be divided, but the entire process needed to be managed effectively in order to successfully maximize output.  Business owners be warned: Don’t undervalue a good manager, they will, in most cases, make you more than they cost you; and are the backs to build a thriving company.


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