Are you a good manager?
Can you manage a team without their respect?
Can bad managers still get great results?
Are you as good as you think you are, if you don’t get good results?
With so many variables affecting the outcome of any team’s activities, it’s difficult to judge the real effectiveness of a manager. It may be relatively easy to pinpoint some of the traits of a bad manager – moodiness, inconsistency, lack of ethics, bullying, lack of support and communication, negativity or demeaning behaviour – but establishing what makes a really good manager is more challenging.
According to Denise Fryer, however, the most successful managers are those with high self-awareness because ‘they build relationships and self-manage, which means they are less likely to derail themselves.’
Denise is one of the Programme Directors on Developing Management Practice, a course aimed at senior executives, held at the world-renowned Henley Business School. She maintains that ‘the best managers invest in individual and team development as much as in getting the task completed. They are positive, have a flexible leadership style, communicate, and deal decisively and fairly with conflict.
‘As part of the programme, we run a session during which the delegates brainstorm the behaviours that they consider contribute to being a good manager. But it’s also about how you yourself want to be treated. Performance management is a two-way conversation.
‘We also need to recognise the impact of stress and the increasing demands of a competitive business environment. And that some people are simply in the wrong role. Others are aggressive but never realise that this rarely makes for a positive environment because the people around them are too frightened to challenge them.’
Building self-awareness – knowing who and what you are, and the effect you have on those around you – has become a major part of management and leadership programmes, and is key to creating symbiotic relationships. In times of stress, self-centred survival instincts can surface, but being aware of this tendency can prevent it from having a detrimental impact.
And the landscape is constantly shifting; there are distinct generational differences in attitudes towards certain types of behaviour. Young people, for example, don’t put as much importance on punctuality, and they tend to have a shorter attention span, fuelled by the instant nature of new technologies. Knowing and understanding this can avoid conflict and improve productivity.
‘Ultimately,’ says Denise, ‘tasks needs to be fulfilled in the most expedient, efficient way. But a good manager will ensure that the team gains satisfaction from completing the tasks, learns any lessons from the past and is actively enthusiastic to improve next time around.’
Find out more about the Developing Management Practice programme.