Cynical Management

This post is a cynical look at management. I think we can get so caught up with discussing what great managers look like, we neglect to put up the mirror and have a look at what poor management looks like. There’s probably been many who’ve looked at describing this before me, this is just my take on the topic.

Incidentally, Psychological Consultancy Ltd have developed a psychometric tool called the Hogan Development Survey (or Hogan Dark Side) which provides an excellent look at this very topic, but from a personality profiling point of view. It’s ten years plus in the making and I’ve seen research about it’s effectiveness and what it helps managers to understand, and it’s a very smart psychometric tool.

The Encouraging Manager

Bob cares too much about relationships and being nice and doesn’t actually manage. He does all the right things such as weekly meetings, reviews on time, objectives set, involved in management training, but doesn’t actually put them into practice because he has no spine. He doesn’t give feedback because he doesn’t want to upset anyone. He doesn’t address issues because he doesn’t know how to, despite coaching and training. He doesn’t make decisions because he’s too concerned with consensus and inclusion.

The Wrongly Appointed Manager

Billy was promoted because of tenure within the company. He didn’t actually ask to be a manager, he was given the role. So actually none of this is his fault, it’s the fault of the company. They didn’t assess if he was right for the role, but they needed someone to do it, and he seemed to make sense. Problem is he just wanted to be good at what he does. He’s a capable doer, just not a capable manager. He gets that he has to follow processes and procedures, he just doesn’t care, because he has no motivation for it.

The Out of League Manager

Belle was promoted because she was ambitious and sold herself well to rise through the ranks. Problem is, she sold herself too well. She actually doesn’t have the business savvy, organisational savvy or management savvy to be a success. She too has had the coaching and training to encourage her to be a success, she’s just simply out of her depth. She’s not had the right ‘grooming’ to enable her to be a success before she went for it.

The Process Driven Manager

Beatrice (Beatrice?!) is all about company processes and policies. She cares little for relationships and is all about efficiency. To her, there’s a job to be done, there’s a right way to do it, and it’s normally her way. She’s been on management training but thinks it’s all a load of nonsense and people should just be told how to do a job. She’s great for completing work, but she’s awful to work for or with.

The Clueless Manager

Brian has been a manager in the company a while, is good at keeping up team morale, following proper procedures, and generally delivering work on time. He’s just clueless about the rest of the company. He doesn’t know who is the right person to talk to for things, he gets people’s names wrong in the management team, he thinks he’s giving good advice but in reality it’s just wrong. Problem here is, no-one can be bothered with putting him right because he’s actually doing a fair job of stuff. He’s also quite boring and not the most social guy.

The Arrogant Manager

Ben thinks he knows it all. He’s moved around a fair bit, had a few successes here and there, and thinks he is God’s gift to management and business success. Problem is, it’s been more through chance and good teams than his actual involvement. His inflated sense of self means he’s actually a ticking bomb waiting to go off. He’ll be bad news for the company, but they’re too blinded by his self-described brilliance.

What do you reckon, have I missed a certain type of manager?

UPDATE! Quick point I have to make, I’m not seeking to suggest ways to deal with the above, just highlighting that they exist. Do with the above what you will, I just enjoyed writing it 🙂

Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

2 thoughts on “Cynical Management”

  1. I’m:
    Motivated by Bob
    Confused by Billy
    Laughing at Belle (I know I shouldn’t)
    Filling forms for Beatrice
    Getting bored with Brian
    and getting Ben sacked!

    Cheers – Doug

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