December 28, 2007

How do you think a good manager should manage?

I’d like to ask you how you think a good manager should manage - which management culture leads to the best results. To inspire you a little bit, I’ve written below about 2 different ways of managing/leading. Naturally, you are more than welcome to come up with a third way, or suggest some kind of a mix between # 1 and 2. It’s great if you have examples.

Management culture # 1
The manager is relatively authoritative and formal in the way he/she acts/communicates. He/she often has a narrow department focus and communicates primarily vertically. This type of manager is often sure of his opinion, rarely asks others, and often commands, i.e. tells/instructs people in detail what to do. He/she has a relatively low level of trust in people. Therefore, he/she makes rules and uses various kinds of control mechanisms. The person has a strong focus on administering status quo.

Management culture # 2

The manager communicates with everyone, for example through various internet communities and/or by walking around. He/she works with his/her employees/managers, for example to find out what the customers want, help customers find solutions to the needs they have, and to influence the culture. He/she is open-minded, asks people about their ideas/knowledge/experience, gives feedback, and helps people to use their talents and to grow – professionally as well as personally. This kind of manager sees diversity as strength and has a high level of trust and confidence in people. Therefore, he/she works on setting people free, so they can do things themselves – and learn from successes as well as from mistakes. Consequently, this type of manager spends little time/money on control. He/she is also an improvement searcher who constantly asks "What can we do better?" In other words, the person has a strong focus on new opportunities and on improving the status quo in order to create more value.
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