The essence of management

N°203a – Synopsis (8p.) – Management Styles
The essence of management
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Managers are responsible for results which they don't produce themselves. They actually depend on their subordinates. How can they optimize the performance of their teams?

Traditionally, managers are supposed to coordinate the work of their employees to attain a collective result. They are responsible for planning tasks, giving clear instructions and making tradeoffs to help their subordinates reach their goals. However, many managers observe a gap between this theoretical role and what they actually do every day. One manager laments that he is unable to concentrate on really important projects: “I spend my time putting out fires. My people are constantly approached for help by other BUs. With two members of the team on sick leave, my manpower is reduced. To top it off, we’ve been through three reorganizations in a year. Just try to manage under these conditions!”

In practice, managers must continually juggle many demands on their time. They are constantly interrupted and must often switch gears at the drop of a hat to deal with emergencies or unexpected requests. Their subordinates must do likewise, in the face of frequent restructuring, tool and system upgrades, or changes in the company offering. In this context, trying to control everything can be a source of frustration, but no planning at all is not an option either. To perform well in this environment, the experts advise managers to develop the qualities required to cope with turbulence:

- Actively develop trust. Trust fosters collaboration and helps people get through difficult times.

- Work on your personal influence. Managers need influence to get the resources required to help their teams reach their goals.

- Be there for your teams. People are faced with clashing priorities, setbacks and tension in their day-to-day work. Managers must “lubricate the system” to keep things moving.

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