Contrasting Middle-School Management Styles

Management Styles
Middle-School Management Styles

Like millions of kids out there, my son is just winding down the school year.  He’s a good student but also a free spirit and sometimes goes beyond his limits to the point of being disruptive in class.  Over the course of the school year, I’ve observed some interesting dynamics between him and two very different teachers.

Command and control management style

One teacher has a command-and-control, my-way-or-the-highway management style of classroom management and – not surprisingly – is regularly butting heads with my son.  He at times ridicules students when they ask questions by telling them they should know the answer, robbing them of the confidence to ask questions. In parent-teacher conferences this teacher’s report was that he frequently has to keep my son in line.

Adaptable management style

Another teacher relates to him.  He adapts his classroom management style to each student and gives my son the freedom to be himself.  He encourages his students to be creative and has made his class a fun environment in which to learn.  At the parent-teacher conference with this teacher, he told me how much he likes my son and wishes they were next door neighbors so they could just sit and chat.

Whenever any of my kids face adversity, whether it’s personal failure, difficult people or just bad luck, we try to treat it as a life-lesson; life isn’t always fair and they will face adversity on a nearly daily basis in life.  The more they learn to deal with it, the more successful they will be.  I thought about that as I met with and heard stories about these two teachers throughout the school year.

We work with people that have styles and approaches that aren’t optimally matched with our own.  To be successful, we need to deal with all of these different styles.

See my related post: A High School Inspiration That Lives On

In the consulting environment, you may have a different manager for each project and deal with a diverse mix of client managers as you move from client to client.  A critical success factor will be how much you can emulate the second teacher in this story and adapt to the various styles of managers, co-workers and subordinates.

What type of management style do you find most effective?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
The Need for Control
I’ve always hated control freaks.  I’ve known and worked with quite a few.  Maybe because of my experiences with them, I’ve always tried to resist the need for control. But as ...
READ MORE
The Illusion of Control
I live what I believe to be a typical existence of a family man in the suburbs.  On a typical weekend, I’ll get together with friends, drink a few beers, ...
READ MORE
Do You Have Too Much Reliance On Process?
I remember growing up, watching my mother put recipes together.  She was meticulous in making sure that her measurements were exact.  And the meals she prepared were predictably consistent. A reliance ...
READ MORE
Accountability vs Blame
  Everyone makes a mistake on occasion.  I’ve seen the smartest and most meticulous people write down the wrong time or date for a meeting.  It happens.  And as long as ...
READ MORE
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
An article in the New York Times from July of 2011 entitled "Can a Playground Be Too Safe?" discusses the trend over the past few decades of making playgrounds safer.  By ...
READ MORE
On Being Bold: Step on the Gas
A few years ago, I purchased a classic car – a 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible.  It’s been a fun car to drive around town on nice summer days.  It’s ...
READ MORE
Imagine No Employees
Outsourcing has become common over the past several years.  Nearly every organization deals with outsourcing of some sort. It is a bit controversial. When companies outsource with offshore workers, we hear ...
READ MORE
Are You Following or Creating Your Own Market? A Parable
There was once a man we’ll call Pete, who visited the market and witnessed an upward trend of consumers buying potatoes.  He knew several potato farmers.  So he talked to ...
READ MORE
Motivation: Positive and Negative Incentives
When I was in high school, I had a fantastic U.S. History teacher.  He had us subscribe to Time Magazine and we were required to read an editorial from the ...
READ MORE
Feedback Loops through the One On One
Managing teams in any environment is a challenging undertaking.  You’re trying to accomplish some goal as a team. But each member of the team has their own individual goals that ...
READ MORE
The Need for Control
The Illusion of Control
Do You Have Too Much Reliance On Process?
Accountability vs Blame
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
On Being Bold: Step on the Gas
Imagine No Employees
Are You Following or Creating Your Own Market?
Motivation: Positive and Negative Incentives
Feedback Loops through the One On One