Where are the good managers?

Managers, the bane of most people working at a 9 to 5 job. There was a joke which I heard somewhere “The HR recruiter asks the candidate, why do you want to change your job? The candidate answers, it’s a difference of religious culture. My manager thinks he is God and I do not!” . That pretty much sums up what I want to bring up. A manager in the traditional sense used to be a person with higher authority and who used to manage people under him. These managers or bosses typically used to micromanage their subordinates, pressure them into working long hours, take credit for the work done by subordinates, hand their mundane tasks over to them to be done. They criticise in public and praise in private. But is this what truly should comprise of what a manager should be. 

In the recent past I have met managers who are not like the ones I have mentioned earlier, but are a totally different species altogether. They do not have subordinates, but rather have equals with a different set of work/tasks. They trust who they are supposed to be managing and do not micromanage. They give due credit to the people that they work with. They criticise in private and praise in public. They try to enable the people who they are supposed to manage by removing any possible friction from the people that they manage. They treat others as equals. These managers are truly a necessity to the company/project/product.

These are what true managers are truly supposed to be like. Such managers are enablers and can truly make a difference when it comes to the work environment and the product/service that the entire team/company is working on. We have managers ranging from people managers to engineering managers, from project managers to product managers. These roles are well defined in their naming, but the above set of qualities reflect in every single role that has a manager tag. A manager helps direct these various subsets, making it easy for the people working deep in their domains to head in the right direction. The managers need to have a broader sense rather than going too deep, keeping things together on a regular basis. And this sort of role definitely needs empathy and a higher level of emotional intellect to go with.

So, the next time you come across a manager, think of the above set of values and see if they really qualify to be true managers, and if they do qualify then give them a salute and if they don’t you probably need to think again about what you need to be doing.

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