We’ve all had that one manager, or maybe more than one, who left you sitting at your desk at the end of the day scratching your head and asking yourself “Who thought giving this person a team to lead was a good idea?"
If you are young in the workforce and have not experienced this yet, just wait. There are a lot of bad managers in the workforce. This is not to say they are bad people, or weren’t good at their job that helped them get promoted, but it is to say they are ineffective at leading a team.
Even the worst of managers still have a lot of good lessons to teach.There are many aspects that define what a good manager is and what makes them effective. In my own humble opinion, these are a few key roles of a good manager.
A good manager:
- Is responsible for leading a team or department while ensuring there is effective communication both internally, and externally
- Accepts responsibility for the teams’ performance while holding the team members accountable for any areas of opportunity (ie. Don’t throw people under the bus to save your own skin)
- Promotes or builds a company culture to help bring unity and cohesion
- Inspires employees to reach their goals and directs them down the right path helping them grow
- Doesn’t accept all the credit for their teams’ wins but shares in the glory
In one case, I spent week after week, month after month, feeling like I was beating my head against the wall and making every effort possible to avoid my manager. I looked forward to the days my manager was out of the office. I felt like I got 40 days of vacation a year. My 20 days off and their 20 days off.
Much of what happened stemmed from personality type differences and this particular managers lack of experience in the industry and ability to portray the traits listed above.
Let’s be honest, I’m sure at that point in my life I wasn’t the easier person to manage so I have to take some of the responsibility for the poor relationship. But, instead of continuously day in and day out avoiding the inevitable, I changed my perspective on how my day was going to develop. Ultimately, I decided to take charge of what kind of day I was going to have.
I began closely studying this manager and defining for myself what it meant to be a “good manager”. Over my time at that company, reporting to this particular manager, I was talked down to, disrespected, neglected when I needed direction, held responsible for projects that I was never informed of, and saw the same treatment to my team members. I could have turned off my computer, collected my personal belongings and walked out the door. I did think about doing that on more than one occasion. It was at this time I remembered a lesson that one of my college professors taught me. “You have to push yourself to a point of uncomfortableness to experience true growth.”
So I did just that.
I stuck it out, changed my perspective on my situation, and allowed myself to be uncomfortable. Since then, there have been countless doors that have opened up for me.
Every manager we work with has their own style and strategy, and not all are good. There are countless articles online about how one of the most important elements to consider when deciding if you should accept a job offer or not is who your manager will be. Sometimes it takes having a less than desirable experience to appreciate this idea.
I’ve been fortunate to have many great leaders in my life as I’ve gone through my career. So why was my worst manager also my best manager?
Well, the short answer is that I learned how NOT to be a manager.
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