Sunday, 25 September 2011

Managing to manage

All of us throughout our lives will encounter a manager of some form, they come in all shapes and sizes and their capabilities in their role also vary…a lot!

Having been a manager in charge of a team myself at one point I feel I can now identify with both sides of this relationship, as both the employee and the boss. I also have experienced my fair share of managers, many of which I have to say were not a pleasure to experience.

Some of the examples of jobs I have had include:
Part time checkout girl at Sainsbury’s – in two separate locations
Part time worker at Argos
Office temp
House of Commons admin assistant
Team leader
Head of Client Support team at an online news company
And more, but this isn’t a place to showcase my CV!!

Anyway I don’t feel it would be right to be open about what manager from what exact job was good and those from the selection who I feel were bad. People that worked with me in any of the jobs I’ve had may well know who I mean, but I’m going to keep it anonymous.

My working life started at the tender age of 14, nearly 15, I remember because I temped in an office in Holborn and my Mum came to meet me with my GCSE results one lunchtime! Throughout this time I have unfortunately recognised a key theme amongst a lot of managers is to believe if you treat your staff like rubbish it teaches them to ‘behave’ and do what you want. I strongly disagree.

If I were to describe my management approach I would say I am firm but fair. I like to treat those in my team with respect – be there to manage them when needed and give support, but let them work in a way that suits them. However, because I let people manage themselves I expect them to perform well and match my fair approach with a hardworking attitude. If somebody thinks they can take advantage of my way of managing, just wait and see just how hard I can come down when needed.

I discovered this was the best way to manage – in my opinion anyway – after a number of years experiencing others ways and deciding what I liked and didn’t like from their example. From managing a team myself I have also seen what worked and also again what doesn’t.

Some examples of the managers I have had include:
The boss who treated you all as individuals who mattered, who valued your hard work, but when they were stressed you all were, the environment in the whole office would change.
The manager who couldn’t decide if they were your friend or the person in charge, who taught me it was okay to be a bit more laid back at work, but who also was prone to ever-changing moods.
The one in charge who thought everyone was a number on a sheet, was extremely inappropriate in the way they gossiped about other staff members and came out with the most awful jokes and lewd comments.
A lovely lady who wanted you to do well and was full of praise, always trying to please everyone.
Another who was always miserable, didn’t want to do anything themselves and in fact liked to bully her staff.
One who you respect as your manager but who you can have banter with and share similar interests, knowing they are there to support you and that you need to do your job properly, but they will always have their friendly face there when needed too.
Or that boss who liked to belittle their team whenever possible and instead of helping them learn from any mistakes would rather show them up instead.

Quite a mixture as you can see. One thing I feel is key is support for the manager – it is important to let staff know what is expected of them to allow them to perform well and the same needs to be done with managers themselves. I will openly admit when I was a manager in previous roles I never had any management training and was left to teach myself and just try things out and see if they worked. This is not something I think is a great idea and feel this is often why we end up with such bad managers, because they’ve never been guided on how they should be.

I don’t really want to start blogging about my current boss, as everyone knows I am still in my probation period at a new job and anything positive I say is going to look like I’m trying to win favour in said role. However, if anyone reading this does work in the same team as me, or works in my new company, they will know for themselves what sort of manager my boss fits into. That is all I need to say, and that I hope you are all lucky enough to have a manager who knows how to manage.

No comments:

Post a Comment