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What's a Good Manager Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:46 AM
Mr or Mrs. 500

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Janet, an excellent article that lets us compare our own experiences with yours, and come to our own conclusions about good management versus poor management.  I've seen a bit of both in my career, and I must say there's been quite a bit of good correspondence on this thread.

I agree that yelling at an employee is never productive, yet that's how many managers were trained (and so trained others).  It's also how many parents were trained, and thus train their children, so that "quality" can come from somewhere other than a managment training class!

I'm putting my vote on the side of building trust and respect between employees and managers, and it IS a two-way street.  The company I work at holds classes for all new employees on "influencing skills" - a fancy name for teaching people to communicate with each other in a respectful manner.  Some employees complain that it is "silly", but having gone thru a stressful two years, I can tell you it is one of the major reasons I still work for this company.  After all, how many develoopers can say that when a VP accused them of being the "problem" when a client is unhappy, they were able to respond with the reasons why they were NOT the problem, and where the client service deterioration came into play?  And still have their job, and the respect of that VP, the client managers, and their co-workers?

Respect is critical, and it builds trust.  Communication is what lets you know it exists.  If you've got a manager that doesn't practice these things, or who won't allow discussion (training) on how to reach a higher plane of teamwork, I'd say it's time to look for a new manager.  There's just too much good information out there on how to manage effectively - and no excuses for managing poorly.  But the same is true from the employee side - if you're not putting out 100% on the job, you're not respecting the company, your manager, or the people you work with.  That's when it all lands in YOUR lap, and you need to decide whether it's time to change your attitude, or change your employer, because you're not doing anyone any favors at that point.




Here there be dragons...,

Steph Brown
Post #337267
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:08 PM
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I agree that this is a lot of rehashing things but seriously you cannot truly measure a bad managers impact.  It is too far reaching to be accurately calculated. 

There is the effect of turnover because of poor management.  I can tell you a fact that I was on a team of 15 people.  In a year and a half that team lost 8 people out of that 15.  (Five externally, One internally, two internally promoted to other teams) the result is that you have a turn over rate of about 35% with promotions and 24% without.  The tenure of the people who left varied from 3 months to 12 years so it was across the board.  Either way the money lost in recruiting and training them is gone. 

There is also the loss of talent and business knowledge when a bad manager results in people leaving a company.  As people leave so does the information they have to do their job well on a day in and day out.  Then there is the measure of immediate productivity and the long-term productivity by not developing good candidates.  There is also the bad will that gets created in the market place how a team or position is not desirable because of this boss.  That in turn reduces your applicant pool, which in turn reduces the quality of that pool. 

Bad management can be measured immediately in time lost and money however I believe the real loss is the long-term loss of people and knowledge.  That is truly immeasurable. 

Post #337272
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:18 PM
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Amen, brother....
Post #337276
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:22 PM
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Good management starts at the top. When a CEO who earns as much as 100 of his developers spends his days at the golf course, and lets his "Executive Assistant" run the company, everyone in the next level down gets the message that the company isn't important, and passes the message along to the next level, etc.
Post #337278
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:38 PM
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Either way the money lost in recruiting and training them is gone.
 
 
I agree.  Many times in negotiating salary with a potential employer, the HR people and the Manager do not consider these costs.
 
A couple of months ago, I was offered a position with a company.  When I received the call from HR with the verbal offer, I attempted to negotiate $2500 higher than their initial offer.  They did not want to budge even though they were only offering me $2500 more than I was making at my present position.  I decided to send an e-mail to the hiring manager stating that if they hired me, the company would save considerable training costs since I already had all of the skills they were seeking for the position.  They still didn't want to budge (no reply).  I can guarantee you that the person they hired needed at least $5,000 in training for one of the skills required for the job (which is rare in the current market).  I realize that the training budget and salary budget are handled separately in most companies, but they weren't even offering the current market rate for my position.
 
I think there should be a new thread on IT hiring practices.  I could tell you a lot of strange stories from both ends of the process.
Post #337283
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:38 PM
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That is a great cliché but it doesn't really address the bad management that can exist in a company.  Every great company has bad managers but how long they are allowed to remain in the same position I bet varies.  Good companies identify bad managers and work with them to improve.  If they don't improve then they get fired.  Companies that are reluctant to fire employees yet allow those employees to get complacent will not be as productive and profitable long-term.  Companies need to listen to their employees about everything.  Yes, you will have complainers but if a company can analyze sales minute by minute then they can analyze their employment structure.  Most people want to make a difference in the place they work.  Employers need to realize this and listen to their most valuable asset.

Just a note.  The company I left had no way to rate a manager from the people that report to them.  So there is no way to really identify and reward the good ones or identify and educate the bad ones.  This company does a lot of things right however, without a way to identify good management from bad they will suffer in years to come.

Post #337284
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:59 PM
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I just recently left my job due to what I felt was a poor manager.  When I came into the company, I believed very much in the idea that respect and trust should be given initially to a manager and that I had to earn that respect & trust from my superiors.  And within 6 months, I really think I did that and often got praise from executives and other managers in different departments (thus making my manager and the director of our IT dept look good). 

But another 6 months later, I started to lose respect and trust for my manager.  Without going into details, it progressively got worse and in the end I left because I could no longer respect this manager (I didn't really get more money when I left either FWIW).  So I agree with the assessment that trust & respect is the key to a good manager.  I often worked directly with the director of the department and because of the trust/respect we had developed, there wasn't a thing I wouldn't do for him and the likewise was true (he even offered to pay for certification classes).

Before I left, I spoke to the director quite candidly about this manager.  He knew my issues with that manager because of past situations that was brought to his attention by both myself and that manager.  But the one thing I did say was that manager needed to take some management classes.  He needed to learn not only how to manage a project but really to manage the people he has.  I doubt my suggestion will matter but I had to say it because I believed in the company and the director.  I also agree with whoever mentioned it but a review of management by their employees is also just as healthy as a yearly review by your manager.  It gives both sides some feedback for things to continue doing well, improve in areas and other concerns that need to be voiced.  If that company had that, I may still be there.

Post #337291
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:19 PM
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new it would get into a saga of worst managers I have known .. As a manager it can be very difficult to get rid of poor staff ( who usually think they are great ) A good manager is unlikely to be your friend as are "nice" people likely to be most successful in business. There is a requirement to try to keep a distance perhaps, this is why people promoted from within a team to manage a team often don't actually do as well as if they had taken the role in a new company.

Knowing where you stand and honesty are very important .. oh I could go on and on.. post about the subject matter not your saga of good and bad, much more interesting



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Post #337296
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:28 PM
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I disagree about managers being your friend.  I am not looking for my manager to be my friend but if we communicate well then there is the potential for a friendship to foster.  Good managers know how to communicate well with their employees.  They let their employees know that they are all in the same boat and the manager is there to help them and remove hurdles.  Honestly, in my experience my good managers were people I would run through walls for because I valued them as a manager, mentor and friend.  Just my take. 

I think the manager is not my friend comment is a co out statement. 

Post #337300
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:42 PM
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Good Article.  We all have good and bad managers.  I think what is most important is how to communicate with co-workers and managers and deal with various situations as they come up.  A book I would recommend is "How to Say it at work" by Jack Griffin.  In this book, the author communicates ways to deal with different types or management styles, words and phrases to use with co-workers, and how to use the correct verbiage to get your point across effectively.

In my experience, the way I communicate to my co-workers has helped my career greatly.

Post #337307
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