Other day I spent the night with my long-time friend who is also a manager in his company. Part of our discussions was about different types of bosses. We went through managers we know, work or worked with. The outcome of discussion was rather not promising. Most of bosses we know are rather poor in managing people. I wouldn’t say the situation on the market is drastically different.
Sure, management is not only dealing with people and you can be poor in that aspect and still successful as a manager. But I strongly believe the manager who gets on well with her team will always perform better in the long run than the one who isn’t capable to do so.
That’s quite a paradox. Even though people could be more successful as bosses if they put some effort to be liked and respected by the team they usually don’t even try. If I had to point several reason why it is so I’d go for:
• Lack of awareness. They don’t see or feel it is important. No one told them it is. They just play whatever they think is the best. And getting on well with the team isn’t on the list.
• Carelessness. They’re aware but they don’t consider it as important. There are more important measures of being good manager than team’s attitude.
• Egocentrism. They look at the world as it was made by copies of themselves. They’re workaholics so why shouldn’t anybody else be too? They feel as everybody else was staring at them trying to copy their approach.
• Asshole. They’re just trying to squeeze their teams as much as possible as they don’t even treat their people as humans. They use all dirty techniques you can think of including those which are forbidden by law.
No matter what the reason is the outcome from the team is usually similar (although intensity can differ). People neither respect nor like their managers. They have no incentive to give something more as no one shows their effort can be worthy. There’s no trust between the team and its manager. Effectiveness is on average level in the best case. People don’t really care.
On the other hand there’s minority of bosses who focus on getting on well with their teams. Sometimes it’s quite a hard job to do, as quite often doing someone a favor produces an issue to be resolved. You let someone to get a day out but still his urgent task must be completed by the end of the day. You don’t force someone to work long hours because he doesn’t feel very well but you’ll have to deal with higher management explaining why the project is late. A list of examples is long.
I know I oversimplify here but I like to think whenever a boss does a favor to one of his subordinates he earns a little plus. He can later exchange those pluses for different things, whenever he’d need that. Moving holidays by a day or two. Staying after hours for a couple of days. Honest feedback. Engagement. Accountability. The list is much longer than the previous one.
As far as you have your bag of pluses received from your team you can feel quite comfortable whenever tough times are about to come. And, what is even more important for me personally, it makes your workplace a bit nicer and contacts with the team better. It’s definitely worth effort.