Perfect Manager Flies a Starship


If you have been to a bookstore lately, you have probably noticed there are more books on management than there have ever been.

Obviously, if there was one way to do it, there would only be one book.

Management varies by technique, style, personality and method. One thing that holds true is a great manager achieves results by having the team perform above and beyond expectations without resentment or ill feeling.

Beyond the bookstore, there are a multitude of courses and seminars that purport to teach the "key secrets" of how to become the world's greatest manager.

But, believe it or not, the best of the best is right under your nose, or actually in front of you on your television set.

The show that I am about to mention was the most expensive TV show ever produced and one of the most widely syndicated in TV history. The producers of the series spent a sizable sum on management consultants to assist in the writing and concepts.

Yes, for those of you who have not already guessed, I am talking about "Star Trek: The Next Generation ."

If you have never seen the series (several local stations currently air reruns), it is not bang, bang, shoot 'em up stuff. Rather, it is serious topical issues of today portrayed in the future.

The ranking officer of the ship is Capt. Picard, one of the finest managers you will ever watch, study or hope to become. He possesses all the necessary talents and skills to manage anything from a starship to General Motors Corp.

Here are some of the many traits he displays that can be applied to any manager of any company.

  1. He knows the ship inside and out: in fact, as well or better than most of the crew. A well informed or knowledgeable manager can transmit this to their team.
  2. He doesn't care about being liked, but he commands respect (this, of course, is earned and takes time).
  3. When a problem arises, he calls his staff into the conference room and they discuss the situation, and invites and listens to the staff's comments.
  4. When a member of the crew does something that falls out of line, he calls the crew member to his office (in private) and gives a one minute reprimand and does not belabor the point.
  5. If a member of the crew has a problem or needs to see the captain, he always has an open door, where again he listens to the person and gives them an honest response . . . period.

Picard is the "perfect manager." He is close to his people without getting too personal with them. He keeps his distance from them, and keeps his personal life to himself and one or two senior staff people.

He is a great listener, and is not afraid to make a mistake. If he does take a chance and it is the wrong decision, it is a learning experience.

Finally, it seems he is a subscriber to the theory, "once ignorant, twice stupid." If a staff or crew member makes a mistake, that is OK as long as it does not happen again.

And you will never hear him say, "I told you so."

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