Good or Bad, Still a Manager

Let’s conduct a thought experiment.  Imagine bringing all managers together to ask them to raise their hand if they are a bad manager.  What percent do you think raises their hand?  Would it be 100%, 50%, 10% or 0%?

But wait (you likely say)! From the vantage point of the one doing the managing of course they’d say they are doing a good job! However from the frame of reference of the one being managed things could likely be not as the manager believes.

Now imagine asking those working under these managers, would the percent of managers deemed good align with the managers’ self-assessment?   Unlikely!  Yet managers remain in their position in the hierarchy (or climb even higher) irrespective of whether those being managed recognize them as good managers.

The majority of managers are good for somebody otherwise they wouldn’t continue to have the position of manager, now would they. So why is it that bad managers are allowed to continue holding a management position?

To answer this we must first ask whom does a manager serve? Generally those who employ the manager’s services, of course! The perspectives of these people are of utmost importance. After all they define the expectations and the criteria of performance, and decide whether a manager remains a manager.  Therefore, they influence the probable management experience.

In most cases, the unfortunate thing for those being managed is that their management’s attention is misdirected.  It is not on the conditions of work but rather on whether numerical goals are achieved—results according to the numbers count.

Truth be told, most every manager sees him/her self as a good manager and with no need to be any better.  How do we know this?  Well if they didn’t then they would change to continuously improve and since we see very few managers actually changing for the better we can only conclude that most hold this favorable view of him/her self.  Furthermore as argued above this perception is reinforced by those who continue to employ their management services.

Good management follows from the expectation of improvement, of getting better. Better at what?  Better at enabling the greatest potential to emerge from among those they manage. This requires a deep sense of caring about people. But this requires a change in the expectations and the criteria of performance of management, which necessarily follows from a change in the business of business.

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