Father Son Conflicting Management Styles

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Pops1984, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Pops1984

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    Jan 22, 2015
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    Hey Guys,

    I have a question that perhaps some of you may have a little experience in. First off, my family owns a construction company that employs roughly 160 people. We have been in business for a while now. My father is President of the company and I am VP. My father is of the old school mindset, were screaming and yelling, is the only way to manage people and get them moving. I myself tend to be more level headed and talk through problems, work them out and keep an open mind that people make mistakes. My father seems to think that I am letting people walk all over me which I don't think is the case, while I seem to think that the screaming and yelling tends to make people counter productive. It tends to cause quite a few big arguments between us. We both seem to have respect from our employees. I am just wondering if anyone here, which I am sure there are a ton of people who have ran into this problem, have any solutions as to solving it. I would like to show him that you can manage without coming off as a drill sergeant. That you don't need to scream to get your point across. He particularly tends to do this to our office staff, then in return tells me I have no control over them. Any advice will help.
  2. HooktoWin

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    Nov 24, 2014
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    Hi Pops1984, I'm sorry that you're going through this.

    It's a tough situation to be in; I butt heads with my dad in the past as well so I can relate.
    There's a lot to unpack here so I'll try to be concise. What you do will depend more on your temperament and personality than anything else.

    Screaming and yelling doesn't produce respect and admiration. It produces compliance. People obey because they feel they have to.

    When it comes to people there are 4 basic temperaments

    • Control wants to be in-charge in charge. They do their best to structure situations, events, life, so they're "in charge". They often butt heads with other control and perfect types. Often control others out of fear, insecurity jealousy.
    • Perfect these people want things to be done right/perfect/properly. Shoddy work drives them crazy. They can be harsh and critical though they mean well.
    • Fun prefers pleasure, fun and enjoyment to discipline and hard work. Other temperaments look down on them.
    • Peace just wants everyone to get along, they hate fighting and are often abused or mistreated.

    You're not the same person as your dad, so you're not going to do things the same way.

    Here's what I did.

    Step 1: I made a deal with my dad. I asked him for 6 months to try things my way, without criticism or interruptions. To give my method a fair shot. If my methods worked I got to continue doing things my way in the future. If it didn't he'd be free to continue doing things his way (notice how it's still a win for me).

    Step 2: I treated my team like adults. I set strict boundaries in the beginning (with everyone). In the beginning if a boundary was crossed they experienced the natural consequence. If they screwed up with a client, I didn't cover for them. If they were late, they missed out. If they failed to keep their end of the deal they received the consequence that came with that. I let everyone know what my boundaries were and I was careful to remind everyone about them. My experience has told me that it's easier to be strict at first and then relax later rather than trying to work on this ahead of time.

    Step 3: I created (or used) systems to hold people accountable. Instead of creating an employee review process where it's management vs. employees, I used a system that enables management and employees to work together. I asked employees about the things they wanted to accomplish by the end of the year to justify getting a raise. There's more to it than that but, the vast majority of employees responded well to that. They realized they'd be reward if they worked hard. I didn't have to yell, scream or verbally abuse them. I just figured out how to make them my partners rather than my enemies.

    Step 4: I relied on systems rather than feelings, opinions or biases. I took an anonymous employee survey. I asked about things like discipline (what we should do if X happened), bonuses, what would motivate them etc. When it made sense, I used as much of this as possible. When employees failed to live up to the expectations they set, they weren't surprised by the consequence or outcome.

    My dad shared his perspective with me in a blunt way.
    He didn't think I had what it took to manage things on my own and he didn't feel he could trust me the way he needed to.

    I created a plan and asked for a trial. I asked him for a commitment and relied on outside tools (like systems) to help me get the results he wanted. In the end he saw that I could handle myself. He still didn't agree with my methods but the results were better and he couldn't argue with that.

    The great thing about this plan was the fact that the whole company was involved in some way. Everyone preferred my plan to the old way. So if he decided to reject my plan he'd be rejecting what the entire company wanted, Dad against me and the rest of the company.

    Good luck!


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