What Happened to the Available Manager?

The biggest problem I see with managers in the collection industry is they are really just supervisors. Notice the differences in the definitions as defined by Wikipedia. 

Management in business and organizations is the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization or initiative to accomplish a goal. Resourcing encompasses the deployment and manipulation of human resources, financial resources, technological resources, and natural resources. Management is also an academic discipline, a social science whose object of study is the social organization.

A Supervisor, foreman, foreperson, boss, overseer, facilitator, or area coordinator is a manager in a position of trust in business. The US Bureau of Census has four hundred titles under the supervisor classification.  An employee is a supervisor if he has the power and authority to do the following actions (according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour):

  1. Give instructions and/or orders to subordinates.
  2. Be held responsible for the work and actions of other employees.

If an employee cannot do the above, legally he or she is probably not a supervisor.

A manager or management is staffing, planning, leading, controlling and organizing. The supervisor is overseeing the staff to perform duties. A manager will train and develop the staff, while a supervisor will notate deficiencies in the staff and report to management. Most of the people assigned to manage staff these days are actually supervisors. In fact most managers and owners in the Arm industry are just supervisors.  When I point this out to my clients and ask them why they choose to operate in this manner, they usually reply, “We have always done it that way”.

In 2007 the collection industry for the most part quit training and developing the staff and this has lead to a relatively unskilled labor force and a lack of managers who can effectively develop staff.  In 2007 all you needed was a warm body on the phone to collect money, but today you need a well skilled, highly compliant, conscious staff.  But the industry is lacking the managers to train the next generation. Many businesses have gone this way from shoe repair to farming but they have less consumer impact.

So what is the available manager? It’s a team member that is available to the staff to teach, train, entertain, supervise, coach and develop them. Not the manager that is always busy doing reports, busy work and not available to spend quality time with all the staff. If you think back you will remember an available manager in your past that was a mentor to you and helped you develop the skills you have today. Look around closely at your organization today and ask yourself, “Do those available managers exist in your current organization?”

Ok let’s say you decide to change this in your organization, how do you do it?  Who is available?  Who has the knowledge?  Who has the training materials?  The gap analysis?  The development plans? If you had this knowledge you would be deploying it right?

Now you have to spend time to locate, assimilate, digest, regurgitate it on paper and teach it. Now you understand what it takes to be a consultant to the debt collection industry to locate, assimilate, digest, regurgitate solutions and share them. Whether you face challenges with technology solutions, staffing development or cultural issues, Lighthouse Consulting has the solutions to help your company.