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Be the Morale-Boosting GM

Good management starts with building self-confidence among your employees

Powerful managers enlist staff participation.

credit: iStockphoto/sjlocke

Most of today’s best radio managers have had to manage people by trial and error. There is no one training process for radio management, nor is it simple. You’re also overseer of the station’s morale.

Managing personnel has not always been one of the main criteria for becoming program director or general manager; yet these positions often dictate the station’s management style and the morale that results.

As 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. In a conflict, you’ve got to rise above your personal feelings and let your immediate emotional response pass beforeyou determine how to respond.

The most 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.

Take responsibility for your actions; it is the only way to manage people effectively. Own up to “doing the right thing” at all times. This 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. We respect a 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 someplace in between? Is it important to “park your ego at the door”?

Each manager has his or her ways of accomplishing effective ways to manage morale. You must hire 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.

Further, a management mission statement for the station or group is an effective way of enlisting staff and encouraging them to work toward the same goals.

Ask staff to participate in the process. It increases morale while creating ownership in the principals important to the collective group.

The ultimate mission statement, which I use as a “way of life,” is that 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.

Gary Begin, with partner Steve Bianchi, is a radio consultant, researcher and strategist with Identity Programming, a multi-format consulting firm specializing in small- and medium-growth markets. It is based in Jackson, Tenn., with offices in Warwick, R.I.Reach him at (731) 437-0536 or via [email protected].