Management FAQ

You send questions from time to time that I would like to answer. That’s why I decided to publish this Management FAQ. I will extend this with more questions coming in.

1. As a manager, should I manipulate somebody into doing something?

My answer: yes, definitely!

I’ll explain:

Most of us managers do little work apart from making others more successful. If people did the same things without us, why should our employers pay us any money? Ergo: it is our job to change people’s behaviour.

Read this carefully: my job is not to change people. Recent encounter:

Me: “I expect her to be passionate about it!”
My team lead: “But we have no right to tell her how to be?”
Me: “You are right. I expect her to act as if she was passionate about it!”

So I think it is a manager’s job to change the behavior, not the person. Of cause that does not say all means are allowed (see for example the discussion around soft power). Therefore I personally draw a line before hurting people either mentally or physically.

2. As a manager, am I allowed to tell people how to act?

My answer: yes, definitely!

As a manager you are usually responsible for the success of an organisational unit. If you are convinced a certain style, a certain way to act is necessary for success, is not only your right but your obligation to put it into practice. This means telling your teams what to do and how to do it or helping them reach that conclusion on their own. That said, of cause you don’t want to micromanage them unnecessarily.

To give you an example: I guess all of us have met a waiter or waitress that did disservice to the restaurant we were visiting. Who would you expect to do something about it?

By the way: I find this question very 21st century. Imagine a foreman in a 19th century coal mine worrying about this…

Management FAQ

There is more to come. Please send me questions or suggestions for additions.

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