The One Skill Managers Fail To Adopt

I’m fascinated by different styles that managers choose to adopt for various situations. Sometimes they will choose to be directive and take their mood out on team members; other times they will be jovial, have fun, delegate well and create a good atmosphere.

People often say that, if there was one skill they would like their manager to show more of, it would be consistency.

I read an interesting quote by Manfred Kets de Vries, of INSEAD, who stated:

“The best managers have the ability to go beyond narrow definitions of what management should be. They don’t fall into a pigeon-hole. Instead, they have the ability to excite people to achieve goals. They lead by example and are extremely resistant to stress. Leaders like Branson are very aware fo their failings and they find good people who can fill these areas”

So what style would you like to consistently choose? Remember that style IS a choice…you are not born that way, and your conditioning can be over-ridden by your conscious awareness.

Most managers do not know what their weaknesses really are. Because their staff rarely share their REAL feelings with their boss, they think everything is ok and never hear the back-biting and sniding comments when they are out of earshot.

Consistency is the main skill that many managers fail to adopt. One person said on one of our courses that he never knows what mood his boss is going to be in when he comes in. Everyone in his departments holds their breath when they hear his footsteps in the morning. If he says hello to everyone, they breathe a sigh and know it’s not going to be a too-bad day. If he storms in and goes straight into his office without saying a word, they all know they will be walking on eggshells all day. He stated that the morale is through the floor and everyone spends most of their day when not working surfing the job websites.

What a dreadfully disheartening situation to be in. This person stated that if the boss would only be consistent, they could deal with it. But his style is so haphazard that they don’t know what to do.

As a manager, you need to identify the best way to get the best out of your team. Just because no-one says anything to you about their mood or how they feel about your style, doesn’t mean everything is ok. Silence often speaks louder than shouted words.

Remember, your role as a manager is to “adapt, modify, adjust and rearrange the complex task and function interfaces that often slip out of alignment” (Leonard Sayles).

If you don’t know what these slippages are, you are in trouble. Keep close to your team, open the lines of communication and, above all, be consistent in your approach to everything you do. That way, you have a fighting chance of getting everyone to communicate back.

Thanks again



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 10 November, 2011

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