October 11, 2018

Management Is Easy, Isn’t It?

If you happened to be Vincente del Bosque, the manager of Real Madrid in the early 2000s, the answer is ‘yes’.

The team of ‘Galacticos’ that included Zidane, Figo, Beckham, Brazilian Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl, Fernando Hierro, Claude Makélélé and Fernando Morientes could have been managed by your grandmother and they would still have won La Liga, the Champions League, the World Cup, the Superbowl, the Great British Bake Off and the X Factor.

However, if you’re a manager in a medium-sized business with your own work to do, teams to look after, tight project deadlines, difficult employees and office politics to deal with as well as all the headaches that being a manager entails, the answer is ‘no.’

The thing is, you can’t be all things to all people. Most managers try too hard. You can’t be a boss, a friend, a hard-ass and a politician all at the same time. You need to pick a management style because if you don’t, they will all dilute into one another.

But Can’t I Just Be Me?

No buddy you can’t, unless of course you’re a mash-up of Gordon Gekko, Darth Vader, Colonel Nathan ‘You can’t handle the truth’ Jessop, the ‘Bueller, Bueller, Bueller’ teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and God.

Unfortunately that doesn’t work in real life. It’s barely believable in the movies.

So, What Type Of Manager Are You?

Before we get there, let’s look at the main managerial functions you’re expected to undertake (of course this list isn’t exhaustive and there will be many, many others, LOL) –

  • Training your team to equip them with the tools they need to do the job
  • Organising your team to work with efficiencies and a clear chain of command
  • Communicating effectively with your team to elicit the element of trust
  • Motivating your team to ensure they love what they do

So it turns out there are lots of different types of managers and between us we’ve worked for all of them. Some have stayed long in the memory, some were immediately forgotten, some can be dismissed as incompetent buffoons and some are nothing short of the worst out-loud word.

But what’s your style? Renowned author, journalist and world expert on emotional intelligence Daniel Goleman has identified six styles of management and leadership.

Are You The Visionary Boss?
The primary objective of the visionary boss is to inspire others by providing long-term direction, strategy and vision. They take responsibility for it, they take on board the viewpoints of those in their teams and they make sure that everyone is aligned in the same direction.

However, they often have a massively inflated sense of self-worth, like they know more about the company and its vision than the boss and they will use that perceived leverage to try and steal power by influencing those in their charge to jump on their personal bandwagon.

Are You The Sports Coach Boss?
The ‘drop and give me 20’ codswallop is for cheesy American high-school, against-the-odds sports movies but there’s some merit to this style. Just as a coach aims to bring high levels of energy and discipline to the field, the Sports Coach-style manager aims to do the same thing in the office.

On the field and in the office, they view team success as their own success and they are highly-focused. They will expect their charges to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions and to show the same enthusiasm for the job as they do.

Are You The Emotional, Sensitive Boss?
This is the manager who is genuinely concerned with the emotional and pastoral welfare of the people working for them. They want to create harmony in the workplace as well as a two-way, ‘my door is always open’ line of communication.

These guys like team bonding activities but dislike confrontation. The downside here is usually indecisiveness, a lack of toughness and an inability to give honest, critical feedback for fear of upsetting someone.

Are You The Democratic Boss?
For the few of you that will get the reference, this is the Jed Bartlet of bosses. The democratic boss focuses attention on open collaboration and dialogue and a values system underpinned by the belief that the best outcomes are achieved as a result of teams working together for the common good.

However, an over-reliance of the input of others (what has been referred to as ‘open source management’ or ‘project by committee’) can slow down results if certain individuals need close supervision to get the job done.

Are You The Commander Boss?
This is the boss that knows exactly what they want and they’re not afraid to let their charges know about it. They expect discipline, speed and no deviations. We all had one of these ****s in school. You know who we mean. They want the job done on time and on budget. No mucking about.

With subordinates this can work but with skilled, competent staff it doesn’t. At least no longer than in the short term. If employees don’t feel they are being listened to or developed they will find somewhere else and we all know that the most talented will always find work. Don’t be this guy. No-one likes this guy.

Are You The Pacesetter Boss?
With similar personality traits to the Commander, the Pacesetter can also be demanding and direct but instead of being a shouty ****, they have their eyes on the prize and will positively encourage their teams to be the best they can be, taking everyone along for the ride!

The can however be impatient, they hold very high standards and can be control freaks. They also look for validation for what they’re doing from above and can get disheartened when it doesn’t arrive.

In reality, a good manager will combine elements of all six styles but if you’re clever enough to have hand-picked your own team of ‘Galacticos’, you can spend the day in the pub and let your grandmother manage them.

Catch you soon.

The Liquid Team