Good Managers vs. Bad Managers

Let’s talk about management styles and how effective and ineffective some can be.

As an example, I work in two different offices for two different bosses (kinda). Thankfully, I only report to one person.

In one office, I am respected. My opinions matter and are valued. I am encouraged to engage in policy and my experience is recognized, lending weight to my input.

This is not the case in the other office. That particular environment is toxic. I am routinely marginalized, talked down to, and even left out of decision making where I have direct knowledge and experience. I am singled out and the disparity of how I’m treated versus the others in the office is glaring. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with being the only woman in the room or that my confidence in myself and my job rubs him the wrong way. I don’t really know and speculation is irrelevant. When you’re having a conversation and others are averting their eyes because they’re trying to shy away from the situation, that isn’t a healthy environment. Or even a healthy form of conflict (which is possible). I will admit that I do not shut down or avert my eyes when I am talked down to. I have never been afraid of conflict. I engage completely which escalates the tension.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been a manager for almost 16 years now. That makes me sound really old. I’m not. I’m only 38. Stop judging. Anyway, I’ve managed a spectrum of people, running the gambit of diversity from race, ethnicity, economic station, age, and gender. I understand how you get the best out of people. As a participant in the interactions in the 2nd office, I can say it is a prime example of how not to manage people.

We’ve talked about my personality before. I am driven and hardworking. I hold myself to an almost impossible standard. When I start thinking – hey, I don’t really give a shit – that’s a problem.

People, in general, want to do their best and will go above and beyond for you if they feel respected. If they think that their ideas matter and that they are treated fairly, an employee will be the best they can be. There’s a great article in Fortune that outlines perfectly what people need to be happy in their jobs. I’ve taken my fair share of organizational development courses, Human Resources/Management courses, and professional development seminars in my time. The instances where I’ve learned the most, however, have been in real time experience and the conversations I’ve had with my employees and my own supervisors. Mentoring is important. Listening and actually hearing someone is a hard skill to master but it is vital when managing others.

Management is not about dictating outcomes. It’s about engaging the people around you to make sure the work is getting done and that people are happy about doing it. Understanding your employees strengths, their weaknesses and playing to those aspects of your staff will make for a much happier workplace and a more effective one. People, content in their jobs, are more likely to stay causing less turnover and is more financially sound.

I love half my job. Is that enough? Can I suffer through the other half? I don’t know. What I do know is that I only apply for jobs and review the postings internally when i’m unhappy. I’ve been looking every week for a month.

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