Posted by: peterhact | October 27, 2010

Management styles

Managers are either respected or hated. They don’t gain the mantle of respect or hatred over a short period, they gain them over a period of time, usually through their actions or lack thereof. The worst person to make into a manager is someone who can’t let go of their past role – be it a technical or sales person, an administrator or a warehouse worker, if they still have that role ingrained in their consciousness, they can never lead others with authority or purpose. The one thing a manager needs to do is to be able to delegate.

Delegation, for some, is particularly difficult as they are relinquishing control of their project, opportunity or purpose. They feel that they are losing part of their self, they cannot see a positive outcome for the activity, in short they lack the ability to trust others to do as good a job as they themselves would do.

Managers need to step back and look at all the pictures. The big picture, the medium picture and the small picture. They need to see where the role that they are tasked with falls into each, and what they feel is a focus for the company may not need to be strategised right now, but planned for a later implementation.

Just like a sales cycle, a manager needs to be able to identify priorities based on the information to hand, the gut feel that they have about each stage of the process and what their executive wants to achieve. Only then can they provide accurate metrics for measurement of all levels of performance, including their own.

What a good manager does is spend time understanding the requirements that are placed on the staff in their team, recognise the areas that need to be addressed to enable, empower and motivate their staff and lead by example – ensuring that they have transparent visibility, so that their staff and the executive know where they are, what they are doing and what the end goal is, at the end of the day.

Without providing the ability for staff or the executive to see where they are up to and what they are doing, managers cannot expect the same levels of visibility from workers, peers or executives, particularly at times when the managers need to be assured that delegation will be of benefit to a particular task or project.

The top 5 things that good managers do well:

They do:

1. Lead their staff

2. Define strategies and goals

3. Delegate

4. spend time understanding the market, the customers and their needs from a strategic perspective

5. Get to know the idiosyncrasies of their staff, their strengths and weaknesses.


The bad things that some managers do include:

1. Refuse to release control of projects, tasks or opportunities

2. lack decent Time management for deadlines

3. forget to pass on information from the executive

4. forget that they are managers, part of a team and work independently.

5. rule their staff with an iron, unbending fist.

There is one thing to remember. if you are unbending, unable to change to suit the environment, the staff paradigm, the trends in your industry, you will get left behind. You will get manipulated mercilessly by staff and vendors alike, who will achieve their goals with or without you, working beside you or in spite of you.

Management is a juggling act. you need to keep the goals in mind, ensure that your staff have access to training, betterment and assistance, you need to ensure that the forecasts are accurate, budgets are achievable, and the executive know what you are doing at all times. leading people is sometimes referred to as something you can do if you can herd cats. I can herd cats. I can. without a cattle prod. without a stick. but usually with a lot of carrot – although with cats, carrots don’t work as well as fish.



  1. Hi Peterhact,

    I have to agree with you here. I am struggling with a manager can do everything but 3 (delegate). I have tried talking to her about this and even showed her this post, to no avail.

    I am thinking about speaking to her manager but am worried about the breach of COC .

    What do you advise?



    • if the manager is unable to see the impact that they have re delegation, what else is suffering? does their lack of load balancing mean that other areas of responsibility are being neglected? perhaps this is a way to identify to her the potential risks inherent with carrying the load herself, without having to abandon the COC. If you do go to a manager above her, it may undermine your trust relationship with her, and create further problems long term.

      Managers need to have some things pointed out to them – they might miss them otherwise, but always use the chain of command jump as a last, desperate resort.

  2. I guess my issue is that despite having talked to her at length I feel she is holding us back as a team. She was a strong individual sales person and sort of became manager by default.

    It probably comes down to her changing roles, or several of her team (including me) leaving.

    I also feel that above and beyond my duty to her as a professional colleague I have a duty to my team, company and clients.

    She WILL hate me, people will misinterpret my motives, but I feel I should do something.

    Should I talk to my team members first?

    • Seeing if the other team members feel the same way is a great idea, putting comments into a discussion during a sales meeting about the progress of the group, the sales team and whether targets are being hit is of benefit too. Don’t forget, you have a duty of care to the clients, the company and your colleagues. If there seems to be no other option, and she isn’t responding to subtle hints, contact senior management and advise them of the current climate in the sales environment. You have done enough to try and help her, and there is no reason to keep it to yourselves if she isn’t responding positively at all.

  3. I did it!! talked to her boss with two of my colleagues. He seemed a bit shocked but we will see….

    • Good idea to talk to the boss with other staff from your team. that way it won’t be seen as an isolated incident. If you had gone in alone, there may have been negative perceptions placed on your abilities to work in a team environment – it could have been seen as sour grapes, or your resentment to her in a job you may have felt you could have done better.

  4. Hmmm. Not so good. One of my “friends” seems to have given my manager prior warning. I have a disciplinary meeting to attend… Still, they are hardly going to fire me.

    • State the facts as have been pointed out to her previously. Don’t become creative, keep the information accurate and ensure that you mention that the break in the chain of command was only due to the lack of response that you received from your manager. Disciplinary seems a bit harsh for pointing out a potential issue about a manager. Don’t go into the meeting thinking you are safe, there may be other things that the manager raises, this incident may not be the crux of the problem at all.

  5. They have given me 4 weeks notice. They say that my contract allows this. My boss has also threatened a sexual harassment action. I have never even touched her!

    I am really low and do not know what to do.

    • Leon, you need to look at the why and what – and more importantly, the how. Why did you get accused of harassment? did you say or do something that was untoward that could have been construed as harassment towards your manager, make a comment to another staff member or manager that could have been taken the wrong way, did you document all of your conversations with others about this issue? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is it a case of your word against hers, with no other witnesses to what transpired?

      How long have you been with the company, and under her management? if you have done nothing wrong, made no comments or actions towards your manager that could be taken the wrong way, and are being singled out for being vocal about her failures as a manager, the company seems to feel that closing ranks against you in support of management is of priority, then perhaps you need to consider that a closed mindset like this will never, ever change.

      The harsh reality these days is that there are companies who are closed minded to the voices of the staff will never change. it may be a chance to look at where you were, where you want to be and that the actions of the company allow you to make a step into a new career path, if you are in ICT, chances are that there are many companies that will snap you up in no time.

      Don’t be down for being honest, some of the best decisions I have made in my career have left me with a new path to follow, in a new direction that has turned out for the best for me and my family. As I commented before, there were probably other things that were at play with this result, and, if you are in a sales role, you may find that it was most likely that you were eliminated by your manager’s perception of the threat that you posed. If your manager was unable to delegate, and was approaching the management role as an individual, you needn’t worry about their decisions any more. Start looking for a new role where you can provide honest and accurate support to your clients.

  6. Leon I am an avid reader of this blog. Peterhact plays an important role in my limited education of ICT sales and you seem to take up a lot of his time. Please man up and deal with your own situation so Peterhact can continue with more imporatant matters.

    Peterhact wouldnt you agree Leon needs to grow a set and not waste more of your time?

    • Hey Frank,
      Been in leon’s shoes in the past, watched people try to get rid of a manager and get cut down by the company. It isn’t wasting my time, it is learning about what is going on in the sales industry, and understanding that there are companies out there who are the same as they were before – with a disregard for their staff and misguided belief in the managers.

      More important matters?? like what?

  7. well, I pre-empted them and quit today. My wife kicked me out of home yesterday. It also looks like she might be having an affair.

    I sometimes feel as though I am watching my disintegrating existence from 20,000 feet and that it is actually happening to someone else.

    Frank, maybe you are right.

    • Leon, first thing you need to do is organize a counsellor meeting, the second is to contact the many recruiters out there and thirdly remember that it will always get better, don’t give up. Frank isn’t right, these things happen, and I think you need to fix yourself so that you can go forward.

  8. […] Management styles October 2010 14 comments 3 […]

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