Having a manager but still unmanaged


By: Angie Falls

In my view, managers are facilitators of their team members’ success. They ensure that their team members have everything they need to be productive and successful; that they’re well trained, happy and have minimal roadblocks in their path; that they’re being groomed for the next level; that they are recognized for great performance and coached through their challenges.

It has been now 6 years that I am at an organization where I have performed in a team with 2 different managers.

In the first team, the manager was an emotionally oriented manager. A manager who leads his team based on his own emotional state daily. Not a day was the same. Vision and values changed along. The manager was a person who gave the team members space to develop their own targets. Partially predefined and partially to be filled proactively. It seemed like a luxurious setting but time would learn that there was a minimum of managing performed by the manager. It left me with lots of uncertainty. After all, I was not a decision maker. Time past by and the whole team turned toxic with this managing style. I faced many challenges and found ways to overcome them. In the end, this toxic environment taught me new things about myself.

In the second team, the manager is diplomatic. Diplomatic leadership involves negotiating, representing interests and policies, speaking publicly and resolving conflicts. Diplomacy – the professional activities or skills of managing international relations – usually involves dealing with others without causing bad feelings. Diplomatic leadership requires a person to be a good manager, resilient negotiator, and a trusted adviser. It enables to raise awareness and assist constituents. This style of managing is the opposite of the previous style but still a challenge to perform under such management as an employee. In the workplace, there are situations where confrontation is unavoidable. A diplomatic manager will still avoid this what makes it difficult for an employee to move on. Although this is the positive managing style it still has negative sides to it.

Both types of managing styles are 2 extremes. Nevertheless, it does allow me to an employee to have the freedom to arrange my tasks and duties as I prefer. On the other side, it does create boundaries for me. I am not being encouraged to develop. When I do decide myself and when I am proactive it isn’t being appreciated.

I realized that employees will be happy in performing when they get the freedom to do so. Another aspect is the appreciation for performed duties and tasks. A good relationship with the manager is key. Building relationships is what the world is based on.

Having experienced these 2 managing styles made me decide to determine my own professional destiny. Managers are a function but in the end, the employee indirectly should set the rules. The employee can influence the manager. There should be a give and take on both sides. This can only be successful for independently working employees who need minimal supervision.

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