About Tim Prosser and This Blog

Tim Prosser (Timothy F. Prosser) lives in Southeastern Michigan, USA, where he thinks a lot about how human organizations work. He has a B.S. in Geography from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The University of Michigan. He is a lifetime musician, writer, and amateur radio operator (30 years, callsign KT8K), and has a left-handed genius wife, three grown children, and three grandsons. He spends some of his spare time on an array of blogs including one on the future (link), this one on business management (link), and one blog containing bad management advice in a humorous vein (link), as well as his music projects on youtube (link) and at his music website (link).

Regarding this blog, Tim writes:

I’ve been observing organizational behavior since childhood, though I didn’t recognize it then. My first job in high school began a stream of insights about what differentiates effective from ineffective management, and I’ve written many unpublished articles on the subject over the decades (most lost in the files, tapes, floppy disks, and hard drives of the past). This blog is my attempt to expose my observations and thoughts to public view. By this I hope to accelerate my education in this area and increase awareness of my readers and contributors. I long ago came to believe that work can be good, even fun, for anyone, and that management can be quite effective without forceful and coercive techniques. While I am looking for confirmation of these concepts (a human thing to do) I am also looking for information that would refine or refute my beliefs, and I am unafraid of criticism (as long as it doesn’t hurt me economically).

Please enjoy reading (or listening to) my creations and feel free to contribute your comments. Thanks in advance, and best of luck in your work life (and life in general) – Tim Prosser

last updated December 8, 2013

Tim Prosser, 2004

7 Responses to About Tim Prosser and This Blog

  1. Jessica Hart says:

    Hello Tim,

    I stumbled across your blog while doing some research on leadership and I must say I really enjoyed your insightful comments. I was very interested in your blog about ‘musings on effective management’ and find your ‘secrets of effective managers’ very humorous.

    My name is Jessica and I am a fourth year doctoral student in consulting psychology. I am interested in leadership and management development and I am writing my dissertation on leadership performance. One of my main research topics I am looking into is emotional intelligence. I found that in your posting ‘what are the characteristics of a really excellent manager?’ there were several characteristics that reflected the use of emotional intelligence skills. For example, having a high level of self- knowledge and awareness, knowing one’s shortcomings, understanding that people’s feelings are important, being empathetic, and staying balanced and cool-headed. I truly believe this is one of the most important set of skills leaders and managers need in order to be effective.

    I also read your article on command and control managers. I agree this view of management is outdated. I believe that in some cases this style is appropriate, but in the current business environment charismatic and transformational leadership seems more appropriate in most organizations. I have been studying situational leadership practices for several years and I believe this model is the most practical and effective one out there—especially since we are becoming more global everyday and businesses have to interact with people from different cultures that have different norms and mores.

    It seems that leadership and management are always clumped together. However, I believe they are two distinct concepts that require a similar, yet different set of skills. I was wondering what your stance is on this, and if you differentiate the necessary skills/characteristics for these two roles.

    Looking forward to hearing your perspective!

  2. timprosser says:

    Thanks for your complimentary comment, Jessica.
    The transformational manager concept is one I ran across in the Total Quality
    Management days of the 1980’s, and to which I wholeheartedly subscribe (as you
    can tell). The idea that emotional intelligence is one of the keys to good management is, I believe, right on the mark. Without it I have doubts whether anything like real leadership can be said to be involved, unless it is the type of leadership that occurs when someone, for example, writes a book that gives ideas others then follow. That is not the kind of leadership I have much interest in, however, as I believe the dynamics of actively leading and managing organizations – the people and interactions involved – are the real challenges, and the most critical in determining results.

    I agree that management and leadership can be looked at as requiring separate but perhaps overlapping skill sets, but wonder how often they are practiced other than conjointly. The traditional view, I think, would describe management as having or needing formal authority, as opposed to leadership being able to be carried out without any. Leadership also would seem to involve inspiring people, while management wouldn’t require that skill, though management might rest a bit more heavily on the side of decision making, undoubtedly in a tactical sense, compared with leadership being more philosophical and possibly strategic – that may be perhaps where the greatest overlap is: in the area of strategy. I guess I wouldn’t expect management to necessarily require a strong philosophical approach (though I am sure it is better when that element is part of it – but maybe that, again, is an overlap). Good management still, IMHO, depends on good personal philosophy, an understanding of people, and effective interpersonal skills, however.
    I will review this distinction again and write more here, and possibly as a blog entry, when I’ve had time to think on it a bit more.
    Thanks again for your compliments and very interesting comment, and best of luck with your studies in this important area.
    – Tim

  3. punafish says:

    Tim,

    Ran across your musings through WordPress “Featured Blogs” on TQM. Great post.

    Working with Japanese manufacturers for over twenty years (Honda, Toyota, Panasonic, etc.) I learned that our cultures define the concept of “quality” much differently. To oversimplify just a bit, Americans tend to see quality as something “inside” an object; the Japanese see it more as a spiritual state of mind, often described by Japanese executives as “challenging mind”. Not surprisingly Americans struggle to understand what Japanese bosses and peers expect in a bi-cultural quality workplace. Too often they skip over the basics of what “Total Quality” means, and jump right into the trendy tools and systems.

    It’s as if our culture learned nothing from the Hawthorne Studies, precious research that, I believe, has stood the test of time.

    As a cross-cultural management consultant who works closely with Japan’s elite automakers, one of the big stumbling blocks I see to nurturing a TQ culture in the U.S., is failure to nurture a “reflective” workforce. Why aren’t American employees reflective? Because people don’t reflect when they’re afraid. And face it, American corporate culture is big on punitive management. (We have euphemisms to make it sound more humane: “write up” is now a “corrective action”, etc.) Yeah, we intimidate employees into doing what they’re told. I call it “ego-based control”.

    For a cross-cultural view on Japanese/American Management philosophies, check out my blog. Articles of particular interest (related to cross-cultural management in transplants) include:

    Zen and the Art of Total Quality (relevant to your piece, but with a cross-cultural twist)
    When “No Problem” is a Big Problem (Toyota’s “problems-are-good” culture)
    Lessons in Humility from a Japanese Blues Guitarist
    Can American Executives Manage Without Their Corporate Jets?
    Confucius Say WHAT? (My first exposure to a Japanese factory twenty years ago)

    http://japaninsight.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/reflections-on-the-humble-path-to-quality/

    Aloha from Pahoa Hawaii!

    Tim Sullivan

  4. Greetings from Australia. You helped me with my university assignment. Thank so much.

  5. Awesome site. I love the design. Will be back shortly to see what else is going on in here.

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