your management strategy
fiddle" was the answer given by Leonard Bernstein of the New
York Philharmonic Orchestra. The question that was asked was, "What
is the most difficult instrument to play?" You might think
had something to do with the difficulty of the musical score traditionally assigned to the orchestra's second violin. But Bernstein
made it clear he was not talking about music. He was talking about
teamwork within a business.
wants to play first chair," he would continue. "Nobody
wants to play second fiddle."
a business owner, you know full well the importance of your second
fiddle - your manager. Business managers know the importance of
their second fiddles, whether they are buyers, stockers, office
staff, cashiers or delivery staff. The business where an owner or
manager does not recognize the importance of these players or who
is unable to gain the support of them is a business that will not
be around too long.
concern for the second fiddle works both ways. Those who play second
fiddle typically play it best when they know they are appreciated
and that their efforts take them closer to their career goals, however
humble or sophisticated they may be.
an owner, ask yourself what would happen if your manager were suddenly
not available to manage your business. Would the business continue
to function? The answer needs to be both yes and no. Yes, because
the owner would know the responsibilities of his manager and could
step in to take his place.
the answer should also be no, for if there would be no difference
with or without your manager, then you either have a bad manager
or one who is not being allowed to prove him or herself. Ask yourself
if you think your manager could be persuaded to go to a competitor
if the pay was comparable, but the challenge to his skills were
greater. Would he welcome the opportunity to make a difference?
business owners make a point to spend a considerable number of hours
on the sales floor each week. Unfortunately, in many cases the owner
is making decisions even when the manager is in the building. This
is the same as paying a manager the wages of a manager but not asking
him or her to do the job.
a business owner who demonstrated an active involvement of his staff,
we noticed that for every hour there were team members in the building,
there was a manager who had total responsibility for the store.
The owner explained this decision to his staff by stating that he
knew how he would react in a situation.
What he needed to see was
how a manager would react in a situation. What better way to find
out than an occasion when the owner was in the building, but was
allowing his people to manage? As a result, this owner learned what
he could expect from his staff and managers, whether he was out
of the store for an hour, an afternoon or on vacation.
owner reasoned that if he were to give a key to the building to
an employee, and there were several hundred thousand dollars of
inventory in the building, the owner had, in effect, entrusted that amount of money to the employee.
If this is the case, why not allow the employee to make a decision
when the amount of money involved in the decision would probably
be less than $20?
downside to managing by this method is that our employees often
do not learn how unique and beneficial this management style was
until the leave and take a job elsewhere. It is, however, a risk
that more businesses should take.
is not only an opportunity; it is your responsibility to promote
your management technique to your "second fiddle" and
his or her subordinates so that your "orchestra" is in
tune. Your customers will greatly appreciate it, and the bottom
line of your profit-and-loss statement will reflect it.