Should the Manager Blog?

Hello there!

My name is Anthony. I'm the Operations Manager here at EL||D. Although I would rather be measured with by a higher criteria... Titles are a love/hate kinda thing → the “easy-to-understand” job description vs. the belittling pigeonhole. Managers manage (coordinate). I prefer Collaborator!! Yeah!

Pardon the detour (I do that a lot). I would add a bunch more content about my past, although I figured those stories are better saved for future posts. So, let's get to the point folks: Why would I want to blog? I feel it’s necessary to make my experiences public, and there's a couple reasons why! But, first, another detour... During a recent evening at the bar, I had the opportunity to converse with one of our more supportive regular patrons. For our purposes, we'll refer to this person as “Larry.” So, good ‘ole Larry informed me about his career as a consultant who teaches businesses about blogging. Of course, I then asked Lare why he thought blogging was important. He insisted that blogging was a method for businesses to cultivate a humanistic, or down-to-earth, impression. This started an enormous conversation. After a while, we agreed that blogging was the ultimate platform for customer criticism. At any point, the reader/customer could publish critiques, making the author/proprietor aware of advantages and disadvantages of the existing business model. After Larry gave his definition, I asked, “if the customer disappeared from this equation, would the blog still be valuable?” There are all kinds of blogs that don’t offer products; per se... they seem to act more like an outlet for online identity, if anything. After debating this, Larry and I let bygones be bygones, settling to resume the convo via email. His info definitely influenced my urge to blog. But another event would act as the catalyst.

Disclaimer: here comes another tangent... I'm a graduate student/teacher in the School of Communication at San Diego State University. With me and Larry’s talk still fresh on the mind, I was assigned to deliver an in-depth presentation about a leadership theory - no easy task, right? Anyways, I found this great process called Shared Leadership. It expands on leadership theories that claim leader versatility during conflict is essential (Duh, right?). Shared Leadership Theory argues that teams are potentially more equipped to deal with crises, because any team member is able to be a leader. As teammates become more and more appreciative of each other’s strengths, they can effectively/naturally delegate leadership duties for different crises. As members are supported with appreciation, they gain confidence in “voice,” which refers to speaking up and debating alternatives for the teams shared goals – in other words, effective criticism. With voice, a team member can enhance the team's vision and motivation. Here’s the model I used in class (select the pic if you wanna see the rest of my presentation, too):

This stuff is good and all, but what does Larry and blogging have to do with shared leadership? Hang on for one last argument and this might make sense...

Research shows that shared leadership teams are far more productive when they’re coached. Carson et al. (2007) define effective coaches as external teachers/consultants who discover and support individual team member ability. Coaches then teach the rest of the team how to employ other member’s strengths to achieve team goals. But, what if a team doesn’t have a coach? How can they get at the benefits of enhanced performance?

This is where blogging comes into play... After I presented in class, I bolted over to EL||D and discussed the coaching concept with Nate (one of the bar's owners/managers/bartenders/accountants/janitors etc...). We came to another big conclusion: blog posts could allow us to be "coached" by each other!! Ya see, we don't exactly have a coach here at EL||D. We learn as we go. But we most certainly support each other, and we definitely have all kinds of VOICE. What if those voices were documented? Blog posts could be a reminder of past experiences, as well as a method for learning each other’s strengths. So, here I am, hoping theory equates to practice! Do ya think blogs can coach? Shoot, I hope so! Otherwise, why are you still reading? And if this experiment does work, will one of us emerge as “coach,” or will the team continue coaching itself? Is one method better than another? Is this just an inconsiderate and arrogant rant, where I attempt to prove myself as the leader/coach of our team, or will this message fascilitate the development of EL||D’s leaders and coaches? Who knows!

I'll tell ya what I do know: writing this was fun. It feels good writing and reading my experiences – getting my jumbled thoughts on this here page is definitely a relief. In some ways this here blog can't be a total failure. I mean, if old Larry is getting big bucks to teach this stuff, it's gotta be worth it for some reason, right?

To wrap my posts, I wanna offer a couple more questions. Feel free to comment on any of the following q’s. Feel free to ask your own questions too! Feel free to tell me why Larry is a goof, or why you think I should be boo’ed off this blog. I guess I'm saying, feel free to express your voice... PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS!! Questions bring answers - answers bring improvements.

Do you think it's positive that people blog?
Is it good for biz if the "manager" writes about their experiences in a public forum?
Is it good for biz to have ANY employee make their experiences public?
Will these posts help other businesses?
Will these posts help you?
If you answered "NO WAY, CHIEF" to the above questions, how could we use this blog to make EL||D better for our/your community?

I'm at the bar a lot - I'd be happy to discuss this post, or future posts, in person. If it’s more comfy talking about this stuff in the comments of this post, go for it.

Thank you for your time! If you enjoyed reading, stay tuned... I got a couple more topics to yap about. I'll try to be as lighthearted as possible.

Have a great one!

- A
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