On Good and Bad Managers

Cha­risma, con­fid­ence and being vocal are key to being per­ceived as a lead­er, Time sug­gests after sum­mar­ising some research on what makes people per­suas­ive lead­ers.

Social psy­cho­lo­gists know that one way to be viewed as a lead­er in any group is simply to act like one. Speak up, speak well and offer lots of ideas, and before long, people will begin doing what you say. This works well when lead­ers know what they’re talk­ing about, but what if they don’t? If someone acts like a boss but thinks like a boob, is that still enough to stay on top?

The short answer is Yes, so “watch them closely and make sure they know what they’re doing and where they’re going”.

Read­ing about how we can be per­ceived as great man­agers simply by alter­ing our extern­al beha­viour (rather than alter­ing our intern­al beha­viour or world view) reminded me of this piece, dis­cuss­ing reas­ons man­agers become great (via Kot­tke). Reas­ons included:

  • Enjoy help­ing people grow.
  • Love cre­at­ing pos­it­ive envir­on­ments.
  • Care deeply about the suc­cess and well being of their team.
  • Suc­ces­sion men­tal­ity.
  • Prac­tice of the golden rule: the eth­ic of reci­pro­city.
  • Self aware, includ­ing weak­nesses.

The above was writ­ten as a com­pli­ment to Scott Berkum’s oth­er list, reas­ons man­agers become assholes:

  • A boss they admired was an asshole.
  • They are insec­ure in their role.
  • They prefer intim­id­a­tion to lead­er­ship.
  • Their life sucks.
  • They lose their way.
  • Pro­mo­tion chas­ing.
  • Their man­age­ment chain is tox­ic.
  • The Peter Prin­ciple.
  • They’re not assholes, they’re just insens­it­ive or obli­vi­ous.
  • Madly in love with them­selves.
  • They always were assholes.