Recession brings new management styles, what’s yours?
The recession or downturn is showing up a few new and interesting management styles. As I travel to various companies for my business coaching and training work, I observe middle and senior managers as well as business owners with varying degrees of each of the following management styles. Maybe they always existed, but now they are really showing up due to the decision making effectiveness or it’s opposite they each carry.
The Ostrich Manager
You see them in and around the office, when there is any sign of difficulty or conflict, they become very quiet and whilst they may still be visible, sound could well be missing. The fear of having to make unpopular decisions or just plain decisions sends this manager into spirals of fear and it results in sticking their head in the sand. They become non-communicative, unreachable and unwilling to discuss the difficulties. I wonder whether they are silently hoping and praying that the problem will disappear over time.
The Happy Clappy Manager
This manager hasn’t yet entered the reality of recession and lives in blissful ignorance of even some of the most blatant facts in their spreadsheets. They speak of opportunity consistently and will tell all and sundry that business is booming and great. They will also be millionaires in the next lotto draw, for sure! This person doesn’t want to talk about downsizing, cost cutting or accounts for that matter and when asked they are focussing on the positives and getting the message out there. Challenges are not for handling, but for opportunities and if really pushed they sure can’t stand negative people and will avoid challengers at all costs because ‘they have issues’. Sure the economy is turning around, right about now, isn’t it?
The Hide and Seek Manager
It’s a case of ‘now you see me, now you don’t’, more often than not this manager is missing in action and if he is around he is in a meeting or on the phone. Do not go there with your issues, because he never solves them, they just join the enormous queue of things to do when there is time. If he can get away with skipping meetings, he will do his utmost and he pretty much delegates or rather abdicates anything to all around him. The theory being if he needs be involved there will be a boss on to him, if not he will just carry on being invisible and dodging jobs.
The End-is-near Manager
The cup is half empty and they can see the bottom falling out, if it isn’t already leaking. If you want to become up close and personal with doomsday then this manager is your best advisor. He has predicted that the economy will never be the same again and that the worst is yet to come. Any problem is justification that he is absolutely spot on with his predictions and they are all signs that really we should all retire into an early grave, because let’s face it there is no point in continuing on. In their moment of clarity they will work to rule or go by the book, but only because there is no better alternative.
The Parachute Club Manager
Like the parachute this manager appears out of nowhere stirs a panic, dumps large amounts of work and breezes out of the office again, off to their next big picture project. When questioned on who is in charge, they can be rather animated in their response that they had delegated the work and if it wasn’t done the parachute opens again and blame rolls off to someone else’s shoulders. If you do happen to be in their path on landing, be afraid to be run over or swamped, both are likely. They rarely take responsibility, but tend to have big picture opinions on everything.
The Silent Plodder Manager
This is probably the most productive of the various characters and gets on with the job at hand. They don’t cause too much of a stir, they do deal with issues as they come up, they are often delegated to by peers up to the point where they are disgruntled but they won’t say anything. In any case you should be grateful to have work these days even if this characters probably does more than their job they do feel underpaid and undervalued, but will only move on or pipe up when it has gone way too far. If ignored for too long they also do a silent work to rule type protest, where nobody in the organisation really understands why things don’t function as they used to anymore.
These are only observations from my travels in companies and are by no means a complete or scientific evidence based account of management styles.
All joking aside, which one of these are you today?