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Don't Simply Be The Manager You'd Love To Have

04 September 2017

We’ve all had managers, some were good, some were bad, so of course when offered the opportunity to take on a leadership role it’s clear that we’d want to be on the “good” side of this spectrum… but what does it mean?

The simplest answer would be “be someone that I would have loved being managed by”.

Seems to be a good approach, however I’d like to argue that it is a very narrow way of looking at it. A style of management that worked for you might not be fitting for everyone in your team - unless you work with very similar people.

Let’s say you hate deadlines and feel like it’s a terrible way to motivate people: having a tight deadline stresses you out and you end up producing lesser quality work. So of course you enjoy a manager who can create space between deliverables and don’t set deadlines. As a manager, you’d then naturally do the same. However after a few months like this one of your direct report complains: they actually liked the deadlines. It was giving them a better sense of purpose, a clearer way to organise their time and more adrenaline… overall it was just more fun and productive for them to work with tight deadlines!

What do you do then?

In my opinion thinking “I like to be managed this way so everybody in my team would like it too” is too simplistic of a position. You need to take the good traits you see in a lot of different people, figure out what approach would work for you and then adapt all of this to your team and the situation in order to keep your people happy and productive.