Transactional Managers: Is This Old-School Approach Killing Your Company’s Productivity?

Mike Harden | | Resolving Conflict, Resolving Employee Problems

Let’s say you have a sales manager who says to one of his people: “You’ve got to make 25 calls a day to be successful. You have to turn out 16 proposals and make 15 client calls per week to hit your quota.”
That manager cares about the tasks, not the outcome, and he wants his people to be the same way. He’s taking what is called a transactional approach to work. This approach to management can have a strong influence on the productivity and effectiveness of your team. If you suspect or know this approach to management is practiced in your company, it might be time to revisit and update your policies and procedures.

What’s The Alternative? Go for Results.

Conversely, we have a sales manager who says, “Do what you have to do. I want to see some good results.” A salesperson might make only four calls a day. She might call on two customers a week and write three proposals. She might even be so audacious as to leave a half-hour early. But she’s at 200% of quota for the quarter.
Which type of salesperson is more valuable? The one who follows the rules and accomplishes nothing, or the one who is so efficient and effective that the company can count on her to be successful no matter how long or hard she works? The latter. It’s a no-brainer: she’s contributing far more.

Generational Trends Among Managers

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I do believe there are generational factors at play with these two types of management. In my experience, when younger managers assume leadership positions over long-standing employees, they need to be aware that many of their subordinates might have worked under transaction-based supervisors in transaction-based companies throughout their careers.
That’s what they know and how they operate. This contrasts the approach of younger managers, who typically think more creatively and with a greater orientation towards results.
They need to be aware of the people with whom they’re working and adjust their style to accommodate for folks who may not have that same creative juice or nonlinear thinking style. Maybe they need some more structure and task-orientation to reach the goals; maybe they need some exposure to new ways of doing things. They’ll get there, if the manager leads them.


Mike Harden

Mike Harden has developed exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge over his 40+ year career as an entrepreneur, executive, teacher, mentor, and coach. Today, as one of DC’s premier Executive Coaches, Mike helps good executives become great leaders. Find Mike on Google+

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