The influence of the manager

As a manager you will know how the relationship with your own boss can affect how you feel about work and how it can influence your motivation. Working for a good manager can be inspiring and bring out the very best in you, but a bad one can leave you feeling undervalued and demoralized. Teams pick up the vibes of these relationships and are affected by them too, for better or worse.

The purpose of this final part of the book is to encourage you to think about your role and whether or not you are respected by your team for your leadership. If they happen to like you as a person, it is a bonus but by no means essential. Indeed, if you are motivated by a strong desire that you should be liked by them, then there will be times when this prevents you doing your job properly and you may be seen as weak.

In many cases a line manager will have been appointed not because they are seen as a good ‘people person’ but because they have appropriate length of service or experience of the technicalities of the work performed by their department. Unless they receive intense and early training in people skills, it can leave them in a vulnerable position which is unfair on them and the team they manage. A manager who has not had the right training, wanting to justify their appointment, will typically immerse themselves in what they are familiar with and be inclined to side-step any difficult people issues. Recently a manager told me she loved the ‘nitty-gritty’ of her job but found relationships with most of her team members very difficult. It seemed she didn’t appreciate that her ability to lead the team effectively was the most important part of her job. She saw it more as a nuisance. If anyone reading this is similarly inclined, then you may find this section of the book quite challenging but I hope that as you work through it, you will want to select whatever aspects you feel are of most potential value to you and your team. If you decide to make changes, then start with something straightforward. Go for a quick and easy win to gain the confidence to progress further. Even something quite small can make a real difference.

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