Successful Leadership and Management Style


My management style was inspired by the lessons engrained in childhood by my parents. They taught me to be respectful, especially with people’s time, which relates directly to project management. My background in law school provided me with great mentors during my career and my work as a compliance officer for a broker dealer where the golden rule of ‘know your product, know your customer’ stems from. Putting the right person with the right investment really applies to life in general. Most importantly, my daughter has had the most profound impact on my management style. She’s taught me how to communicate through the generation gap, patience and honesty.

Whether you are managing people, processes, information, or expectations (employee and client), two main things need to be focused on and applied. Know your product and know your audience. The product is the very thing you are managing, what you are in control of or whatever you are trying to communicate and relay. Each person under your leadership is a different, specific audience, and most can’t be managed the same. Ask yourself, “How do you efficiently and effectively communicate your ‘product’ to each ‘audience’ member?” Especially with employees, it is critical that you don’t try to treat everyone the same exact way. Take the time to get to know your employees on a personal and professional level so you can figure out what makes them tick. How do I motivate this person? How do I communicate with them best, verbally or written; do I have to be logical and to the point or can I use humor?

Sit down with your employee once you figure out your communication path and ask them if they truly understand their job (their product). Employees need to feel that they have empowerment within that role. It is essential that employees know why processes are in place in the company and what is expected of them. Long-term managers sometimes think this is a given because that’s how it’s always been done, assume that everyone in the company knows that and forget to explain the why’s. Try having your employees explain to you what their role is. Then fill in the gaps if necessary.

George Harrison sings, “If you don’t know where you’re goin’, any road will get you there.” Managers must present a ‘roadmap’ or a written plan for their employees, so that they understand the exact goals and expectations of their job and what they need to do to get there.

Make sure to customize an employee’s job with the right tools and resources. Once they know the product (their job), know your expectations (the road to success), it is up to you to make sure they have what is needed to reach their goals. If your employee works best with No. 2 pencils, it is your responsibility to provide. If these three things fall into place, micro-managing should not be necessary.

Your ultimate goal in a leadership role is to gain trust and respect from your audience. Using this form of management should create an open door between employee-manager and ultimately a successful team.

AboutDoug Kordel

Doug Kordel, a graduate of The University of Dayton School of Law, joined Proforma in 2003 and leads the development of Proforma’s leadership and management teams, addresses high level operational issues and spearheads the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes. Doug also directs all aspects of Proforma's legal affairs and ensures protection of its legal rights. His expertise includes franchise law, corporate and transactional law, employment law, and dispute resolution. In 2013, Doug was named the winner of Crain’s Cleveland Business magazine’s General & In-House Counsel Summit Award. Prior to joining Proforma, Doug served as both in-house and outside legal counsel. He also holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Toledo, majoring in Information Systems and Operations Management.

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