Slow Managers Aren’t the Same as “Slow Food”- Guest Blog Post

 I hope you enjoy this guest blog post by Paula J. MacLean of Silver Creek Press.

Many readers will be familiar with the “Slow Food” movement in North America and Europe. World-class chefs and everyday kitchen cooks have been pushing back against fast, often unhealthy foods that have become part many North American’s lifestyles. Careful preparation, orchestrated service and slow consumption make dining a much more enjoyable and healthy experience.

The organizational equivalent, “slow management”, unfortunately does not deliver the same uplifting experience. In my 35+ year career I have surveyed and interviewed thousands of employees about their job satisfaction. Most are very clear on what organizational practices boost their morale and what thing need to change for morale and quality of service to customers/clients to improve. Employees rarely complain that managers move too fast. A frequent complaint is about managers who are too slow to make decisions that would solve problems.

To be fair, many managers face restrictive organizational policies, heavy workloads and may need to gather more information before making a decision. There may be several legitimate reasons that slow management action. However, managers sometimes take weeks, months, or (I hesitate here, but I can think of examples where a year or more has passed) to make a decision. They seem to have mastered the art of turning legitimate reasons into excuses.

Failure to decide is a decision in itself. Problems go without solutions, frustration rises and confidence in management declines. Sensing that management doesn’t care what happens, employees down the line begin to behave differently with customers and with each other as their job satisfaction plummets.

Management default in decision making is the Slow Food equivalent of a chef having the intention to cook a world-class meal but then leaving the kitchen to go for a long walk. Dinner never makes it to the table, the potential for a great meal is never realized and everyone goes home hungry.

Paula J. MacLean is the author of several best-selling human resource books that provide practical advice on how to be a good supervisor and manager. Visit her website at www.silvercreekpress.ca.


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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