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Why Managers Can’t Be Like a

“Bull in a China Shop” (any more) ...

by Glenn Shepard

November 11, 2014

Category:  Management





Morristown, TN

Dec 2

Paducah, KY

Dec 9


Click here or call 1-800-538-4595 to reserve seats.

Congratulations to the 2014 Glenn Shepard Leadership Award finalists:

Lauren Walsh, American Quarter Horse Assn; Amarillo, TX


Robert Heidt, Glendale Chamber of Commerce; Glendale, AZ


Lori Howard, Open Arms Care;
Chattanooga, TN


Betty Hernandez, Adcom911;

Commerce City, CO

Mary Victor, Big Brothers Big Sisters; Rapid City, SD

Carl Felix, Bluegrass Family Health; Lexington, KY

Peter Tinsley, First United Methodist Church;
Poplar Bluff, MO

Mark DeGeorge, Community First Credit Union; Ashtabula, OH

John Wills, CCCS of Savannah; Savannah, GA

Jen Leary, Red Paw Emergency Relief; Philadelphia, PA

The winner will be announced in December.

Click here to print this quote.


Some people are uncomfortable with confrontation.


Psychologists have a term for those folks. They’re called “normal”.


But part of being an adult is that you have to have conversations you don’t want to have, and nowhere is this more important than in management.


From confronting an employee about body odor to reprimanding an employee prone to screaming and violent outbursts, managers must have conversations they’re not always comfortable having.


Weenies who ignore problems in hopes they’ll go away so they won’t have to deal with them are not good management material.


At the opposite extreme, people who enjoy confrontation and regularly create conflict are not good management material either.


(This type of behavior starts to gravitate toward the category of Antisocial Personality Disorder.)


While most people don’t go that far, there are a lot of managers whose style is like a bull in a china shop. They’re clear and authoritative, but it backfires on them because of the Law of Unintended Consequences.


The problem is that if you’re too brash, people will resent you. They’ll comply with your orders, but they’ll never commit to you. You might be an effective manager, but you’ll never be a great leader because people will do just enough to placate you.


This authoritarian style of management worked in our grandparents’ time when jobs were scarce and times were tough. Back then people called their bosses “Mr.” or “Mrs.”. They didn’t argue with or question authority. When the boss said "Jump!", they said “How high?”


But those days are long gone. If you’re too brash today, people will quit in a heartbeat.


Your employees don’t have to like you, but they do have to respect you. They won’t respect you if you’re a weenie who always shies away from confrontation. Nor will they respect you if you’re a “Gun Slinger” who’s too confrontational. Good managers know how to walk the thin line between the two.


To Your Success,



Glenn Shepard





P.S. If you have supervisors who need to learn how to walk that line, click here to grab a copy of my new DVD program “Assertiveness Skills for Managers: How to be Firm, Fair and Consistent without being a Jerk”. It won’t cost you anything to try it.



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