The role of a manager varies depending on several factors but generally it includes the following responsibilities.
Getting Stuff Done Now
This includes handling resources, budgets and project goals. Communication is often a key responsibility in this area, this involves writing reports for stake holders and senior managers, liaising with internal and external departments, and briefing staff. This category of actions may also include creating project plans and schedules. Creating an environment that supports engagement and accountability within the team is another core responsibility. As is removing obstacles to progress i.e. liaising with other departments to change their processes if necessary and/or dealing with conflict that is counter productive.
This includes creating and agreeing quality standards and measures. As well as, creating processes that support consistent evaluation of the measures and continuous improvement. Quality processes are focused on both team and work. May also include removing obstacles.
This entails skills gap analysis for team members in their current roles. It also involves longer term planning which supports the employees next steps and continuous learning.
Supporting Staff Wellbeing
Some of the activities in this category include staff development but this area of responsibility is listed separately as it is a key activity. Wellbeing supports not only the individuals but also the company as a whole. Wellbeing support activities include:
• Ensuring work loads are challenging without being too high.
• Encouraging productive controversy but not conflict.
• Supporting good team relationships, trust and openness.
• Supporting autonomy
• Encouraging physical wellbeing by supporting healthful habits ie walking meetings, healthy snacks in the office, encouraging a later start if it means staff can fit in daily exercise before work.
Getting Things Done Long term
This includes strategic planning, competitor analysis and research that helps the manager revise their goals and mission statement over time.
Different types of Managers
Managers differ in the amount of time and focus they place on some of the above responsibilities. How much time they spend working on specific areas depends on:
- How much the organisation and/or their immediate management value the activities listed above. For example an organisation that has no wellbeing program will not add staff wellbeing to their managers objective list or provide any resources to support wellbeing.
- Size and scope of the organisation. For example, depending on the size and complexity of projects, planning may involve sophisticated project management tools or a simple spreadsheet.
- The skills of the manager.
- The ideas the manager has about the relationship between management and staff. For example, if the manager believes that most employees want to do as little as possible and have to be monitored constantly to produce, then the focus for their daily tasks will be very different than someone who believes that most people want to do a good job.
Looking at the responsibility list above write brief job description.
Mark up your job description to indicate which of the responsibilities are a particular skill for you and which are highly prized in the organisation.
Email this job description over before the next session.
These are common leadership types you or people you know may have come across in the course of your career. Which ones are most appealing to you and which ones least?
Sees management as a specialist role. The servant leader works to remove obstacles for team members, supports their development and handles department admin to facilitate the groups work. This type of manager may have technical expertise as well but takes a back seat in technical discussions in order to develop their team. A servant leader may be seen as weak by the team because of their collaborative approach. Difficult approach to take for anyone with low emotional intelligence.
The technical expert is given the team lead role because of their skills and knowledge. They are a great asset to the organisation because of their expertise. In some companies the only way to increase salary for a technical expert is to make them a team lead or manager. However, this type of manager may have little or no interest in their staff. To them time spent with staff may distract from the business of demonstrating their expertise.
This type of leader inspires staff to action and through their words and deeds. Often charismatic, these leaders can sometimes fall short when it comes to planning, processes and details.
This type of leader creates great relationships with senior management and executives. Their team are left in no doubt that the senior managers are more important than they are. Upward reporters are expert communicators. In fact, they often seem more concerned with the reports going up to execs than they do getting the work done. While executives see this type of leader as effective and skilled, the team members may feel frustrated by their lack of visibility with senior management. Also because the department’s purpose is secondary to the leader’s personal advancement goals, the team’s effectiveness and engagement are reduced.
The hero leader is motivated by solving problems particularly emergencies. Acting fast and assessing what needs to be done are top skills for this type of leader. Unfortunately, fire fighting mode can leave little time for developing effective processes that help the department avoid problems in the first place. The hero leader needs to be decisive and clever. This type of leader can stunt the development of a collaborative team and reduce their staff to minions rather than full-fledged team members.
This type of leader uses influence skills to inspire staff to action. This type of leader taps into intrinsic motivators and enables autonomy within their team. These skills may be so subtly applied that the staff do not recognise the leaders contribution to the teams success. Similarly, taken too far these skills can become manipulative. Should never be combined with evil genius.
Command and Control Leader
In this model the leader issues orders and expects the team to follow them. If the orders are not followed sanctions are applied, if they are followed rewards are given (or a least not with held). This is an ideal model if:
- The leader has perfect knowledge and understanding of the situation, as well as a faultless solution.
- Team members are willing to surrender their autonomy (in some cases for a great good).
Coach & Challenge Leader
This type of leader uses coaching skills to create an environment that supports innovation, creativity and high levels of productivity and quality. Coach leaders supports team members to develop processes and practices that ensure effective teamwork and good decision making. This type of leader coaches to support strengths and challenges the team to improve personally and professionally. Coach & challenge leaders give up their role as decision makers, transfering the responsibility for decisons to the team or members of the team with the skills and knowlesge to make the required decision. Team members working with this type of leader do well if they have a growth mindset, if not being lead by this type of leader can be uncomfortable, least initially.
Are these types familiar to you? Can you think of any other types you have come across?
Your Ideal Manager Model
What type of manager are you?
Using the types above create a new type, give it a name and describe it’s characteristics. Be sure to explain the actions your type of manager takes and how they think about employees, stakeholders and customers. Create an empathy map that details what this type of manager sees, thinks, does, says and thinks. Then, take a green pen and mark the items on the map which you do well/often. Lastly, take a red pen and mark the items you do less well or could do more often.
Over the next five weeks we will be coming back to this model to refine it and deepen the material so we have a fully defined model which covers the thoughts, actions, team processes, team environment and motivation of your team.