If you know what management-type boss you are and then hire and supervise employees according to that type, they'll be happier, more efficient and likely to stay with you longer.
That's according to Gregg Hadley, University of Wisconsin-River Falls farm management specialist.
“If you think out what employee type you need based on your management type, things work a lot better,” Hadley told the Wisconsin Custom Operators at its January conference at Wisconsin Dells.
Type A managers are all business: The workplace is for work and no slack is allowed. They would do best to hire people who can handle stress and like to work hard. These managers generally think along the “three strikes and you're out” line and aren't interested in an employee's personal problems.
“Their perfect person would probably be someone who just got out of a hitch in the Army or Marine Corps or something like that; somebody who just takes orders and goes and does the job,” Hadley said. Potential employees who become volunteer firemen or first responders probably are more suited to a “no slack” workplace, he suggested.
If you manage on the “three-strikes” approach, he warned, your employees need a good, up-front training program or “you're setting up employees for a downfall and yourself up for headaches trying to replace them.”
Type B managers want the workplace to also be fun, don't mind a little slack and are willing to discuss an employee's personal problems. They likely are “continual coaches,” he said, who want to take away the fear-of-firing mentality and make workers into great employees.
“They want people who have a little bit of experience who are able to communicate and are willing to have a free exchange of ideas.” Training programs don't have to be very intensive and will probably be ongoing, Hadley said.
There's nothing wrong with either type of manager, he continued. “I've seen people be successful with three strikes and you're out. And I know of a guy in the dairy industry who has been managing a farm for more than 20 years and has never fired an individual on that farm.”
The key is to hire the right person for the right work environment, he added. “I like fun in the workplace. I would be miserable in a place where work is just work.”
The disadvantage of having an all-business, no-slack environment? Bosses who try to get every bit of efficiency usually have to deal with “big problems that tend to explode.
“When you have a little slack, you're not as efficient all the time but you tend not to have big problems.”
A drawback of a workplace-can-be-fun environment, other than less efficiency, is that the fun part can get carried too far, he said.
When interviewing prospective employees, Type A managers should ask questions geared toward finding out if the applicants are happy taking orders and working in stressful environments. Type B managers should develop interview questions to find out if their potential employees are innovative and like to have a little fun on the job, Hadley said.
The hiring approaches most employers use include: chance, emotional, clinical and systemic.
“Chance means that a gentleman who is the 39th body into this room is hired. Emotional means, ‘Something just clicked with me.’ That person may answer every question I ask wrong, but there's just something there.”
The clinical way of hiring means that the manager is looking at qualities, but they may not relate to the job. An employer may see the potential employee's toolbox, said Hadley, and say, “Boy, the chrome was shiny; I really want this person on the job.” “Well,” he added, “the chrome may be shiny because he never used the tools or it could be that the person was just very conscientious.”
Employers who use the systemic approach want employees to prove what they said in their job interviews. If a potential employee said he could run a chopper, the boss will probably hand him the keys to see what he can do.
The clinical and systemic methods of hiring are the more desired of the four, Hadley said. Some managers allow employee input in hiring, but they have to remember that they'll hold all the risk and should retain ultimate control.
“I've seen people at businesses that do team-based hiring and suddenly the team of workers is nobody the owner would ever hire. You need to stay away from that.”