I have been in the corporate world as a Recruiter for over 15 years. During that time I have had the opportunity to work with a range of Business Managers and Leaders either as a direct report, an indirect report, as a consultant or in some other way, shape or form. Over that time I have had the opportunity to work with and observe Business Managers that I have really respected and learnt a lot from. Some managers have the right balance of demeanor and business capability that always seems to lift those around them. This type of Manager that I have seen is very motivated and driven to succeed but they drive success through their own actions and work well with others to get others to achieve the best they can.
They do not drive the success of the organisation at the expense of individuals. What I mean is that these Managers make time for each member of an organisation as a person and do not necessarily see others as a dollar sign or means to an end. They give the same amount of attention whether they are talking to a fresh graduate or a high level executive. I think you would see a Manager like this trying to lift others up when they have fallen down and help people in the way they do their work. When you work with Managers like this they tend to have a calming effect on a team and they help people take a deep breath and refocus when the pressure is on to get through things whether it is quarterly results, difficult customers or incoming sales pipeline. It is easy for employees follow to these Leaders as people want to help make things work in this situation. It is easy to want to work with people who share the same values as you do.
Just as I have seen some great managers as mentioned above, I have also seen the flip side of the coin and seen some managers at their worst whether that is by trait or circumstances. Unfortunately there are some managers that rely on the old top down management approach that worked many years ago. I am certain we have seen or heard of managers with these traits. These are the folks who believe the louder they yell the better the results will be from others. It is like one of my kids when they have a temper tantrum and stamp their feet thinking this will create change. Whether this is a Manager you work directly with or a Manager in your organisation, it is hard to get behind this type of Leader. If employees provide results it is often as a result of fear which is not a sustainable long term way to manage your work force. With a rapidly changing workforce employees in today’s world not only want to work for great companies but they want to work with others (or to take a quote a word from Seth Godin – people want to be in tribes) who share their same beliefs and ideals. There is nothing wrong with being competitive in business it is what pushes us to develop ourselves out of our comfort zone but great leaders are able to demonstrate the same traits that they want to see no matter what level of person they are working with in an organisation.
Everybody makes mistakes or has moments where they do not act at their best that is part of being human. Moving forward managers and leaders need to understand that they are leading tribes who follow people based on their values. Leaders may find their tribe less responsive to them if they try to lead through fear rather than if they understand that everyone is dependent on each other to be truly successful.