Management style, common error to avoid
Being a manager is a hard job, and it deals with cultural, economical, corporate issues and rules. But being a manager is indeed an important job usually performed with a not clear idea on what a manager should do.
We can find Bad and Good managers, and most of the times they do not even realize where they stand in the good or bad dashboard, because usually nobody teach you what to be a manger means.
Nevertheless there is a world of literature on management, so If someone really want to improve from naïve management style to something more consistent, there are plenty of tools. Even at corporate level those readings should be useful, but, alas too this does not happen.
Let me point out some of the weirdest aspects of being a manager nowadays.
What a manager should be
The main reason a company need a manager is because the company is in need to manage resources.
Resources are Human resources, Budgets, process and activities.
In the very description of manager there is the concept of delegation, a manager should receive a delegation from the company to manage some tasks and related resources.
Of course in an Ideal world the company commitment to the manager and the commitment to the manager to its people are plain clear and effective.
The truth is always different, and the reasons rely on the fact that:
- • We do not live in a perfect world
- • A company is not a deterministic entity; political issues, personal interests, group interests all drive to unpredictable results
- • Communication is all but clear in terms of effectiveness and reach (not to mention cultural and linguistic problem)
- • Culture is a big word that contains a lot of issues (company culture, country culture, personal culture…)
- • ….
This makes the Management a tough job.
It was mentioned that a bad management attitude can affect job result and increase turnover. People leave in first instance managers than companies.
But since the environment is not so clear manager have to find a first issue: understand what the company requires to him
It seems easy but the truth is that there are 3 different levels of understanding:
- What the company tells
- What the company wants
- What the company need
In a perfect world those 3 items would be coincident; in the real world those 3 items seldom are the same thing.
It is clear that for the company wellness the third level should be the good ones, so basically we can depict a quality manager based on its attitude toward the company.
An average manager does what the company tells himher to do
This is typically the case of accepting and following orders. The best way to be kept out of troubles, but with a minimum value added
A good manager does what the company wants himher to do
Since the communication is subject to political, linguistic and cultural issues, it is not always clear the link between what you have been asked to and what actually you should do.
Unwritten rules are common quicksand ground that marks the difference between what is told and what is really meant. Living in a multicultural environment enhances this difference by a great level of magnitude. So the good manager should be able to understand the message between the lines.
A great manager does what the company needs himher to do
But sometimes what is told and what is requested from the company is not in the best interest for the company itself. There can be different reasons for that; may be lack of visibility and experience of the higher levels (hierarchy does not mean you know better than everyone the issues), errors, lack of vision, poor execution or simply bad management.
So a great manager should be able to do what it is needed, even if this can break some company rules.
I know that in some culture this is barely acceptable, but the truth is that if you do not do this you are responsible for the bad results.
And manager responsibility is not only towards higher hierarchy level but foremost to hisher own group.
Type of management
Regardless of manager understanding of the corporate indication (or better higher hierarchy level indications) a manager has to, in the day by day job, try to manage people and resources. People are the most difficult things to be managed.
There are in literature thousands of good management indication, I want to focus on some common bad habit.
The control freak (The micromanager)
Micromanagement has a dual meaning in literature, for some it is just the attitude of a manager to go into every single detail.
This, per se, is not a bad thing if the manager uses this as:
- A positive attitude towards hisher team to teach and improve their job
- A superior knowledge on the subject
Commonly the micromanagement is, on the other end, associated with a completely different attitude.
Micromanagers are control freak managers that does not give any kind of trust and credit to their group.
Usually this goes with the absence of delegation and really hard, rude modes.
The basic idea of this kind of manager is that there is no other way to reach a goal than hisher way. And since heshe is the only depositary of the truth he has to impose his way to the others.
You know that kind of manager that calls you at 10 PM shouting because you haven’t answered him immediately?
Pressure is the only way this manager use to obtain results, and the pressure always rise, without any recognition or praise of his team job.
This is the same manager that watches your timetable, when you get in and when you get out. Blame for 5 minutes late and worse, consider unacceptable not overworking.
Monday meeting with this kind of manager is a nightmare, heshe will blame every single details.
Micromanagement culture is more related to production environments than knowledge workers. But this management culture is still prevalent.
This kind of management style is the ones of the kind of manager that feels heshe has been invested in the role by a higher entity.
They are right because are the boss and not Boss because are right.
The position justifies the truthfulness of their statement, independently by the real status of the things of course).
The autocrat usually is also a micromanager, but not necessarily.
Again there is a lack of trust and delegation, but not all the compulsive control freak attitude of the previous one.
The main problem here rely on the absence of communication (communication is a bidirectional activity).
Since the autocrat rely on his position to justify hisher actions, no checking is needed but with the higher hierarchy levels. Blind acceptance of orders, received and given, is the trademark of this kind of manager.
The blame fixer
This is something we all have met in our life, not only between managers.
The blame fixer is that kind of managers that is able to move the fault to the next viable target. Usually heshe is a great company traveler, and a career climber because of this fine ability to discard every bad result on someone else shoulder.
The management style trademark is the motto
“I do not want problems, I want solutions”
That is common in management
Blame fixer is a paper writer heavy requester, since everything has to be set up in order to pass the blame to someone else, proofs of activities are mandatory.
Of course the blame fixer do not give trust but does not consider trust as an issue, since heshe is politically committed to survive the corporate environment no matter what.
The soft heart
Not all the managers are rude and hard to live with. Some on the other end are kinds, open to discuss and even collaborative. The problem can rise up when they have to stand for their group.
Basically this management style relay in a perpetual state of denial in front of the problems, but this will turns as a backlash when the problem hit.
You can’t count on this manager to protect the group; he never fought before and does not see the needs to fights now.
He never discusses higher orders simply because it doesn’t want to expose himselfherself, as a result heshe accepts passively all indications. At the same moment poor management attitude bring this kind of manager to not teach nor develop its persons in order to avoid conflict and questions.
Likewise the blame fixer, with which usually share lot of traits, the politician is that kind of manager whose interest is just to raise his career in the corporation, therefore make every move accordingly.
Anything and anyone are expendable for his agenda that is the only important thing. Basically this is a career obsessed kind of manager very willing to be helpful with higher hierarchy levels since the job will be done by someone in the team.
This is the kind of manager that never says no to any odd request, that always proactively volunteer hisher team to the craziest commitment.
Very pleasant and manipulative heshe always present himselfherself in friendly ways, but want to maintain a tight control on communication going outside the team to be able to better leverage the knowledge for hisher agenda.
There is always a better way and I want to try it all. The innovator is a portrait of a strange kind of managers who loves to be surrounded by new things.
Heshe read a lot of books on management, open to try every new single procedure. Usually use the same approach also toward technology so it is a gadget freak with the last computer, phone, tablet, watch …..
Everything new worth to be tested, can be process, management styles, tools, virtually anything.
The problem with this management style is the lack of consistency. At every change the direction is somehow lost, and the time to adapt to changes is not always enough to actually being able to master something.
All this traits are not mutually exclusive; most of them are present in anyone of us. But in some managers some comes out more than others, making it the prevalent personality trait.
It is clear that all those aspects are, in literature, considered very bad for a company wellness and team effectiveness, as well it is the truth, as said before, that most of the managers do not read management literature.
Remain the fact that If a manager cannot control those aspect the management result are really poor, and this can long term affect the capacity of the company to reach goals and retain valuable resources.
What? The Pictures?
Got it, right I forgot one manager typology.
The Team builder
This is the kind of manager we all would like to have to work with. Open transparent make the team the focus of hisher management style. Hisher motto is always let’s doing it together.
Heshe is able to give trust and in return heshe gains respect and commitment from the team.
Heshe stands out for the team and try to do the best for the group and the company. On the other end this can put himher in open contrast with the company itself and so not really appreciated in a corporate environment.
Why Management is important
Managing people and resources is the way to obtain results. But the effectiveness depend on management style and manger ability.
Management is something that requires specific soft skills that goes beyond the technical area of expertise. Not all are meant to be a manager, which does not means that as sole contributors could give great input for the company.
But as a last statement I would like to tress an important aspect that should be clear to any manager at any level.
One of the key tasks for managers is the problem solving, this means that a manger have to be proactive part of any problem that rise, this is the pay off for its higher discretional delegation.
Most of the management styles we seen before in the article are seldom willingly trying to solve a problem, and therefore are bad managers for the company.
A manager that is not a proactive part of the solution is part of the problem.