Steve Flinders – How to get managers we really deserve

It’s said that we get the politicians we deserve. Organisations certainly get the managers they deserve.

It starts at the top. Senior managers define a company’s culture and set the tone. Middle managers tend to mirror the behaviour they see coming from above. If middle managers get bullied by narcissistic empire-building blamers, they are likely to treat people lower down the pecking order in the same way. So helping all managers to develop both self-awareness and an understanding of the dynamics of organisational culture should be a priority for any business.

TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Too many companies suffer from systemic cultural inadequacy. If the people at the top have the behaviours and skills we all need to work effectively in teams – able to respect difference, to listen, to give and receive feedback, to manage conflict – then middle managers are more likely to do the same. Being treated like human beings will also make them feel a lot more relaxed.

We need intelligent organisations run by emotionally intelligent people who understand what they like to do and why, how they like to work and communicate, and how they like to lead and be led. Emotionally intelligent managers understand these things about their colleagues too. Psychometric tests are one way to help people learn about their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses. Strong teams are not made up of clones: they celebrate difference and harness diversity.

Intelligent organisations invest in their managers. They start preparing new managers for their managerial roles well in advance of their appointment. They look for candidates with strong soft skills and give them training before they take up a leadership position for the first time. They continue with that training throughout their management careers.

Intelligent organisations give managers the time they need to manage so that they are not so taken up by their own operational tasks that they don’t have time for the people they’re in charge of. When management is poor, employee health suffers. Good managers pay careful attention to their people’s stress levels and their workloads.

Intelligent organisations give their managers recognition and continuing support. They provide them with coaching and mentoring. Managers who have learnt how their positive behaviours can shape organisational culture for the better, enjoy better results because their teams are happier, with lower absence and staff turnover.

EQ is as important as IQ in today’s business organisation.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their leadership and communication skills for working internationally: steveflind@aol.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’

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