Most of today’s best radio managers have literally had to manage people by trial and error. There’s no training process for radio management. While it may not be specifically outlined in your duties, you’re also overseer of the station’s morale. Managing the morale has usually not been one of the main criteria for becoming Program Director or General Manager. Yet, these two positions often dictate the station’s management style and the morale that results.
As a consultant, I’ve noticed the importance of maintaining the staff’s confidence as a leader. You can’t lead if those following aren’t convinced you’re the one for the job. You’ve got to rise above your own personal feelings and let your immediate emotional response pass before you determine how to respond in a conflict.
The basic element in managing and creating positive morale is the art of honest communication. People don’t execute what they don’t understand. Good communication is a priority of the highest level. People best accomplish that which they embrace, or at the very least understand the importance of.
Taking responsibility for one’s actions is another key element in effectively managing people. Owning up to “doing the right thing” at all times is a masterful way to demonstrate integrity while gaining respect of the staff. Whether you caused a problem or not, take the responsibility to bring it to the attention of management so it may be addressed. You have to respect the person who admits to mistakes, asks for help or guidance to correct it, and then does what’s necessary to make things work.
How do you best describe your management style? Are you hands-on, laid back, or some place in between? Is it important to “park your ego at the door” in managing people? Each manager has different ways of managing morale. You must hire the best people who can understand and are willing to conform to your standards of excellence. Provide them with the best tools your budget allows. Involve them in all aspects pertaining to department and individual goals, and then establish a system of meetings and reports which allows you to track their progress without interfering with their day-to-day endeavors.
Once a GM or PD has mastered his or her own style, creating a management mission statement for your station or group is an effective way of enlisting your staff and encouraging them to work toward the same goals. Asking them to participate in the process increases morale while creating ownership in the principles important to the collective group.
The ultimate mission statement which I use as a “way of life” is if you believe your station or group is the best place in the state or country to work, ultimately the best people will want to work here.