Hats off to Good Management in 2020

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 12-22-20

A great deal has been written and spoken on the importance of leadership in leading people through the pandemic, including by yours truly. However, there is also something to be said for the importance of management. Good, effective, focused, and diligent management through this pandemic has been essential for many organizations. 


Too often, leadership and management are confused as opposites, as in leadership is good and management is bad. It’s easy to make this mistake because leadership is much more people-oriented and management is much more resource-orientated. Leadership is about moving forward, whereas management is about steady as she goes.  To be fair, Dilbert cartoons have helped this premise along. This is also helped by the difference between good and bad. Good leadership is obvious, whereas bad leadership is most often just an absence of it. On the other hand, bad management is more obvious than good management, usually for being overzealous and invasive. However, good management is vital. 



Throughout the pandemic, there have been many examples of often thankless, and certainly endless, tasks that had to be done quickly, done well, and done with purpose. Among the many questions managers needed to answer: 


  • What PPE is needed for people coming to work? 
  • How do we create social distancing at work? 
  • What resources are needed from those working at home? 
  • How many people do we need while some are quarantined? 
  • How do we get people into work when they make more money staying at home? 
  • What do we do when a supplier shuts down? 
  • How do we know the holiday sales forecast when all consumer behaviors have changed?
  • Can we get a PPP loan (especially when we don’t know the ever-changing rules)? 


These are just a few of the many, many new management challenges faced throughout 2020. Certainly, they have not all been handled well. After all, how could they? But there are many, many in management who have stayed focused on the challenge, with heads up just enough to learn what other creative solutions they can borrow. This work has kept people safe, kept people employed, kept the lights on, the water running, the food shelves stocked, and more. Ultimately, this has contributed plenty to getting the economy back on track. 


So, I’m just taking a moment to say…hats off to those who did the job well. It needed to be done and needed to be done well.