Interview with Jane Treber Macken
author of The Art of Managing: How to Build a Better Workplace and Relationships
Infinity Publishing (2007)
Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is joined today by Jane Treber Macken, author of “The Art of Managing: How to Build a Better Workplace and Relationships.”
Jane Treber Macken is a highly acclaimed business consultant, who has served as manager with companies in the energy and mortgage brokerage fields and served on the faculty at John F. Kennedy University. Her new book “The Art of Managing” discusses the attributes of successful people and teaches how to use these attributes to be successful in business and relationships.
Tyler: Welcome, Jane. I’m happy to have you here today. I understand in “The Art of Managing” you explain that there are three key attributes to success. Would you begin by telling us what those attributes are?
Jane: The three key attributes to success are caring and compassion for others, serving the community, and working on Self which means mind, body and spirit. These key attributes are responsible for building successful businesses, lasting relationships and a more balanced life.
*Caring and compassion mean showing a deep sympathy and empathy which is an intellectual and emotional identification with another person; there is mutual understanding; and, especially an ability to share another’s ideas and emotions. Successful leaders show patience and connectedness to others, including expecting no more or less from others than they were willing to do. In talking with their employees, they had high qualities of trust, a sense of fairness and were extremely patient. It’s like, “They are able to put themselves in the other person’s los angeles dodgers sweatshirt .”
*Serving others and the community means engaging in some role in the community – service or charity. Leaders growing up in small towns or large families usually have a great sense of community. Everyone knows everyone else’s business and there are few secrets. But, when you need help and support, the community or family is there for you. These trusting relationships carry over into these folks’ adult lives and often result in genuine caring for others. Even if not raised this way, you can develop these skills through community involvement or mentorship.
*Working on Self means paying attention to your mind, body and spirit; that includes expanding your knowledge through travel or education, eating the right foods, exercising, getting enough rest and meditating (sitting quietly, pondering, letting thoughts percolate up). Working on Self is really about honesty; honesty with ourselves…truly understanding ourselves. Honesty builds relationships. Our shadow fears dishonesty in Self. Our shadow causes us to REACT emotionally rather than RESPOND to others. When we react emotionally, it is part of our hidden shadow. It takes a lifetime to work on these emotional reactions to rid yourself of your shadow.
These are the blind spots we all face. However, once you rid the shadow, you respond more frequently. Think of your shadow as a toy box. From the time you are born, all the negative messages you put in the toy box. All these emotions (fear, anger, sadness, guilt, rage, shame) are in this toy box. Something a person says or the way he/she looks at you may evoke an emotional reaction. Reflect and go back in time to when you first remember a similar word, situation, person, or incident. Work through the original incident by replacing those memories with what should have been to make you feel okay. By replacing negative messages with positive ones, we overcome negative programming and become more in harmony with our relationships and environment.
Tyler: Thanks, Jane. In other words, we all bring our shadows, or maybe we could say “emotional baggage” with us into the workplace. A manager needs to understand we all bring our personalities to our jobs. In “The Art of Managing”, you talk about how we can apply psychology to business. Would you expand a little on how that idea works?
Jane: “The Art of Managing…How to Build a Better Workplace and Relationships” is a book that bridges the worlds of business and psychology. The business world is about tasks and activities, and the psychology world is about getting to know ourselves, what motivates us, and how we interact with others. Leaders learn how effectively and successfully to manage their relationships, have lasting relationships and a more balanced life.
*Learning and understanding how to form teams, how groups develop, how to motivate employees, and how to analyze an organization for effectiveness and efficiency will help their business prosper.
*Gaining insights into themselves and becoming better leaders and team players will benefit them personally and professionally.
Managing the workplace is really about managing relationships. People are still the most important asset.
Tyler: What do you feel is the biggest management mistake that managers tend to make?
Jane: In my opinion, the biggest mistake that managers tend to make is not being honest with themselves and others. They may not honor their true feelings/beliefs and do what they believe others want them to do. This builds resentments within and folks truly know when someone is not acting authentically. Managers must embrace honesty with themselves…truly understanding themselves. Honesty builds relationships.
Tyler: Jane, could you share with us a success story that happened as the result of using the ideas in “The Art of Managing”, either by your own application of them in the business world or the application of one of your readers?
Jane: I am certified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is a personality preference instrument that has been used by businesses world wide for more than 60 years. When becoming part of a leadership team, it is important that you understand your preferences as well as the preferences of others.
In Chapter 8, Effective Teams, pages 61-66 talks about the ability of the leader to observe and influence a group/team at many levels and understand the team dynamics. This application was truly a success story in that the team began functioning at a higher level. The group dealt with the basics of communication and was able to work effectively as a group in problem-solving and decision-making roles.
Using the MBTI tool for team formation has resulted in successful business results.
Tyler: Would you give an example of how the personality preference instrument works? Are managers supposed to use the tool to understand the personalities of their employees so they can better manage them?
Jane: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument defines sixteen types of people. The MBTI types are based on Jungian theory that we all have natural, inborn preferences for doing certain things. For example, if you are right handed and you write your full name with your right hand, it feels natural. But, if you are right handed and you write your full name with your left hand, it feels unnatural. We are all born with natural preferences for the way we do things.
The MBTI preferences fall into four categories: extraversion/introversion (where we get our energy), sensing/intuition (how we gather information), thinking/feeling (how we make decisions and solve problems), and judging/perceiving (what our orientation is).
*Extraverts tend to focus on the outer world of people and external events and get their energy from others. Introverts tend to focus on their own inner world of ideas and experiences and get their energy from within.
*Sensing people prefer to take in information through their eyes, ears, and other senses. Intuitive people prefer to take information in by seeing the big picture, focusing on the relationship and connections between facts.
*Thinking people tend to make decisions by looking at the logical sequences of a choice or action. They try to mentally remove themselves for a situation to examine it objectively and analyze the cause and effect. Feeling people tend to consider what is important to them and to other people. They mentally place themselves in a situation and identify with the people involved so that they can make decisions based on person-centered values.
*Judging people process in the outer world and tend to live in a planned, orderly way, wanting to regulate and control life. They make decisions, come to closure, and move on. Perceiving people process in the outer world and tend to live in a flexible, spontaneous way, seeking to experience and understand life, rather than control it. Plans and decisions feel confining to them; they prefer to stay open to experience any last-minute options.
The MBTI provides a straightforward and affirmative path to self-understanding as well as understanding of others. It offers a logical model of consistent human behavior, including emphasizing the value of diversity and uniqueness, especially when forming teams and groups.
It is my opinion that effective leaders use the MBTI as a tool to understand their employees’ preferences so they can better manage them.
Tyler: You talk a lot in your book about motivating people. What do you think are the major reasons why employees are not motivated?
Jane: The major reasons why employees are not motivated are the lack of leadership skills of the leader. Motivation is the leader’s ability to urge action in others by influencing their inner drive. Leaders must adopt different leadership styles depending on the situation and understanding his/her employees. If an employee is not motivated, it can be either professional maturity or psychological maturity. It is up to the leader to determine.
*Professional maturity is the ability or capacity to do the job. Does the employee have the knowledge, training and experience to do the job?
*Psychological maturity is the motivation or willingness to do it. How does the employee want to be recognized or rewarded; does the employee show confidence and good self esteem?
Tyler: What advice would you give to a manager to increase the motivation among his or her employees?
Jane: Once the leader understands the professional and psychological maturity of his/her employees, he/she can influence the desired or wanted outcomes. For example, if the person is new in the job and doesn’t appear to be working at speed, it may be a lack of training. Once additional training is given, performance should improve. Conversely, if it is determined that an employee has the skill and appears to be wasting time during the day, the employee may lack the will to do the work. It is then up to the leader to redefine the gap in the job expectations, such as, this is where I want you to be versus this is where you are. By understanding and working with the employee to close the gap, the leader will be setting up the environment for motivating the employee.
Tyler: Can any employee be motivated, or are there just bad apples it is better not to hire or to fire before they spoil the group?
Jane: Through years of experience and application of the motivation module, I believe that if the leader defines the professional maturity and psychological maturity of an employee, the leader can motivate the employee to the desired outcome.
The one exception is when an employee is under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. This is another issue that needs to be resolved through EAP intervention and/or termination.
Tyler: In other words, everyone has something to contribute. To give a practical example, what should a manager do, say with an employee who is constantly late to work and returns late from lunch. The employee’s work is fine, but his behavior is creating low morale among co-workers? How would “The Art of Managing” help a manager with such a situation?
Jane: Even where the work is fine, when someone takes advantage of the norms in a work situation, such as being late to work and returning late from lunch, this behavior creates low morale among co-workers and is a performance issue.
Chapter 2, Organizational Effectiveness, emphasizes shared values as one of the seven S’s for organizational effectiveness. Shared values refer to the guiding concepts and dominant values, beliefs, and assumptions. Some of the attributes include trust, integrity/truthfulness, accountability. There must be congruence between individual values and organizational values for the company to continue to grow and prosper.
Chapter 4, Caring and Compassion, says that successful leaders demonstrate caring and compassion for people by showing deep sympathy and empathy/concern for others. A leader would ask the employee what was causing the lateness and handle the response with understanding. Once the leader determines the cause of the lateness, he then makes the employee aware of how his/her behavior is negatively impacting co-workers, resulting in low morale as indicated by higher sick leave and turnover in the organization.
The leader can then motivate the employee by defining the “gap” between what is the desired behavior versus what the employee is doing. Once the leader and employee agree to the behavior change and the change occurs, the leader should recognize the behavior change and continue to monitor. If the old behavior continues, there should be consequences (positive discipline, disciplinary leave).
Tyler: Of course, “The Art of Managing” would be useful for the workplace, but how can its techniques and ideas be carried over into our personal lives and relationships?
Jane: Through my learnings and experiences, I saw many ways that people can be more effective in their daily lives, and consequently, much happier both at work and personally. The book shows how you can develop the three key attributes to successfully manage your work and personal life and offers tools for forming effective teams and motivating people. The theory and examples in the book have helped me and I know they will help others.
Tyler: Would you provide us with an example from the book of how a person can manage their personal life by applying the principles you teach?
Jane: Chapter 6, Developing of Self, provides an example from the book of how a person can manage their personal life by applying the principles. To develop Self, work on the mind through continuous learning, the body through exercise and proper nutrition, and the spirit through quiet time such as meditation, contemplation, reflection or relaxation. Quiet time helps you define where you are, where you want to go and what you must do to get there.
When people are striving to improve Self, they are more open to learning and more energized by opportunities to learn. The payoffs can be increased commitment, higher levels of energy and enthusiasm, sincere dedication to success and a general positive effect on many people’s lives. By setting challenging goals for ourselves, we can expect to develop the drive and ambition to move forward in our lives. As we develop Self, we will have a better understanding of creating the lives that we most desire for ourselves. As you begin to understand yourself more and more, you will respond positively to more and more situations and relationships with understanding and compassion.
There is nothing more powerful you can do than to encourage others toward the lifelong process of working on Self.
Tyler:Jane, what do you feel sets “The Art of Managing” apart from all the other books in the market today about business management?
Jane: My book is different because:
*It bridges the worlds of business and psychology. Managing the workplace is really about managing relationships. Basically, people are still the most important asset.
*It provides insights on how to develop the three (3) key attributes that make leaders successful in managing the workplace and their personal lives.
Tyler: Jane, “The Art of Managing” also talks about the history of management theory. How do you think management theory and styles have adapted and changed from say a generation or two ago to our current and more technologically advanced age?
Jane: As the needs of society and the environment change, history reflects the changing leadership and organizational needs of society. In the last generation or two, companies are taking a more “holistic” or “organic” approach to management theory. The next generation has emerged with better education and skills, including being raised to excel and achieve. This generation will come into the information age significantly contributing to the knowledge-value/based economy.
Progressive companies are embracing transformation, examining their businesses in the areas of operations, policy and strategy, project management, accounting and finance, and sales and marketing. Transformation embodies change management, performance improvement, and reengineering. There is a deep fundamental assessment of every process and every organization. The culture is focused on teamwork and attempting to eliminate the silos that occurred in the 1980s. Some of the pressing issues are customer satisfaction and employee dissatisfaction.
Customers expect more for less. Employees are disillusioned with management. Transformation has led to not only looking at processes, but also to valuing the employee.
In the 2000s, employees’ values and beliefs are now a focus after years of neglect. Employees provide a product and/or service. Managing the workplace is really about managing these relationships.
Tyler: Thank you so much, Jane, for talking with me today. Before you go, would you please tell our readers where they can find out more about “The Art of Managing” and where they may purchase a copy?
Jane: To find out more about “The Art of Managing…How to Build a Better Workplace and Relationships” go to my web site: My web site talks about the book, author, excerpts, testimonials, press release, blogs (includes a book review).
Tyler:Thank you, Jane. You’ve offered managers and employees both, lots of great advice, and I wish you well selling “The Art of Managing.”
write by Lancelot