Good People Are the Best Managers

An Exclusive

CHICAGO — Recent studies have indicated that 43% of folks in the workplace think that their managers are good people who are fairly comfortable in their work environment. Let’s examine for a moment what constitutes good people/good managers. Such a manager is primarily seen to be a person:
• of high ethics.
• who treats everyone with the same respect.
• who listens carefully and demonstrates this by action.
• who doesn’t attempt to micromanage — a delegator.
• who recognizes the value and experience of the team.
• who is organized and demonstrates this through long-range planning.
There are other traits that can make a person a good manager, but the aforementioned studies show that the most important factor is that the best managers achieve something. Good managers and good people usually learn these qualities through experience.
One issue that stands out from these studies is that if it appears that someone was merely appointed to a top-level management position rather than having earned his place in such a position, through a competitive process or some other means, the applicable work force usually fails to recognize any of the manager’s good traits, assuming they exist. The manager simply starts out on a poor note and is seldom able to pull himself out of the dilemma. This is especially true if goals are not achieved and the manager remains in that role while others in the work force pay the penalty.
The 43% of folks that I previously mentioned is an increase over the 32% reported 10 years ago. This does indicate some improvement in the top-level hiring that’s taken place in recent years, but the fact that we have 57% of people who feel like their bosses aren’t good or ethical, aren’t good listeners, are bullies, etc., is a concern. It would be interesting if such studies would reveal the bottom-line impact — the fiscal ramifications — of all of these unhappy folks on these organizations, which all happen to be Fortune 500-type companies.
So what are the lessons to be learned? Try to encourage your boss to listen. Tell your boss that you were hired to manage a program, and although you appreciate his help, he needs to back off — you will create your own destiny. On the ethics issue, just be honest and advise as appropriate, but when you’re asked what you think, be honest, be creative, and be direct. Sooner or later, listening on the part of your boss will become a necessity, because good managers and good people can be only created by the teams that support them.


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