A manager by any other name…

I came across yet another article this morning arguing the difference between management and leadership.  This one was called Ten Signs your Boss is a Manager — but not a Leader. It suggests that managers watch people to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and continues:

‘The concept of traditional supervision is rooted in the fear that working people will misbehave or make mistakes if someone isn’t watching them to make sure they don’t.’

Hang on a minute. Weren’t we talking about management? Continue reading “A manager by any other name…”

The workplace curmudgeon

I’ve recently been watching re-runs of the TV series House, in which Hugh Laurie plays a prescription drug-dependent, unconventional, misanthropic genius. I’m also been watching the latest series of Sherlock, in which Benedict Cumberbatch plays a drug-dependent, unconventional, misanthropic genius. The similarities are of course deliberate – they even share the address 221b Baker Street, although one’s in London and the other in Princeton, New Jersey.

Continue reading “The workplace curmudgeon”

Compassion at work

Making tough decisions is an unavoidable part of being a manager. It takes courage to cut staff, to tackle poor performance or to kill a much loved but no longer viable project. But that doesn’t mean you have to become toughened and uncaring about the people involved. There’s absolutely no reason that courageous decisions cannot be executed with compassion, and several good business reasons why they should.

Continue reading “Compassion at work”

Courage at work

I’ve seen a lot of managers driven by fear at work. Fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of getting into trouble, fear of being judged and found wanting, fear that one of their team will outperform them, fear of conflict, fear of ending up at an employment tribunal, fear of losing their job. The list goes on and on.

Continue reading “Courage at work”

Wisdom at work

According to Confucius, wisdom, courage and compassion are the three universally recognised moral qualities of men. They’re also regarded as key elements of Buddhahood. But where do they fit into management?

Continue reading “Wisdom at work”

Why am I here?

Don’t worry I’m not having an existential crisis – it’s far too early in the day for that.

I recently read a discussion on an HR forum about the problems of retaining staff in a small business where promotion prospects are slim. My initial reaction was ‘well tough, you can’t’. Let’s face it, if an organisation’s managers are a permanent fixture, clinging on until they finally drop/retire, what’s left for anyone who’s the slightest bit ambitious or (let’s not be squeamish about it) wants to earn more? Continue reading “Why am I here?”

Bad apples

I was recently talking to a group of managers and the subject of employee engagement cropped up. As often happens, the discussion ended up focusing on ‘getting rid of bad apples’. Continue reading “Bad apples”

DUMB Objectives

Like it or not, SMART objectives appear to be such a staple part of performance management that there are probably very few organisations where managers aren’t encouraged to discuss these on a regular basis with their direct reports.   There are however strong arguments against the whole Management by Objectives approach Continue reading “DUMB Objectives”