Project Management

Two types of managers: well-meaning and dangerous

Two types of managers: well-meaning and dangerous

Managers can be divided into two types according to their nature – scorpions, and eagles.

Managers protect teams, projects, and the organization in different ways. Some managers are well-meaning and wise. Other managers seem dangerous to others. Reference: “The profession of the manager: How to become one”,

Scorpio is capable of biting and dying from its venom, and therefore it should be alert to its primary passions, namely suspicion, revenge, and malice.

However, he also possesses many noble characteristics, such as his remarkable instinct for survival and his uncontrollable reckless reaction to the danger that helps him win battles.

The danger with him lies mostly in his thirst for power: his instinct to control everything and everyone can turn into a mania for power that he will never be able to overcome and that will devastate anyone who comes close to the person.

On the other hand, the eagle is the symbol of nobility: the bird flies everywhere, it is a transformed creature, the personification of the most sublime scorpion nature, the indomitable inner strength, fighting spirit, and magnetism.

Scorpio has fought the forces of darkness and defeated them, boldly confronted his illusions of impending danger and self-destruction, and has become even higher; nothing frightens him because he has deciphered every fear or delusion. He came face to face with himself and passed the test.

Recently, I find a symbolic overlap in the description of the characteristics of “scorpions” and some of the most common and typical styles of the behavior of middle and senior management.

Incredibly popular are books that advise on how to develop the critical competencies that distinguish an effective manager, and how he shifts the focus of his activities from functional duties and responsibilities to his role as a charismatic leader. Reference: “Manager vs leader: similarities and differences”,

In practice, however, it turns out that in most cases these prescriptions remain in the realm of desires and nurtured by the so-called “Western organizational culture” fall into misunderstanding when confronted with the apparent discrepancy between the behavior of their leaders and the principles imposed by modern management. science.

And this discrepancy is not only a characteristic of the management style in Bulgarian companies, but it is also present in many organizations with a pro-Western orientation.

Most often, the manager is willing to put all the blame on the pampering of the employee and his inability to cope with the volume and severity of his duties.

More and more often the “strategists” of the companies proclaim their desire to attract in their teams “self-motivating specialists with proven initiative, ambition for achievements and creative impulses”.

Often these same “strategists” pay fabulous sums as remuneration to “highly qualified professionals” and remain extremely perplexed when the latter do not achieve the expected results or leave due to “lack of room for expression and freedom to realize their potential.”

In such a situation, most often the manager is willing to put all the blame on the pampering of the employee and his inability to cope with the volume and severity of his duties, and it does not occur to him that he may have manifested himself in the role. of the scorpion, which, swimming across the river on the back of a tortoise, stung it with its tail, as a result of which it died, and he, the scorpion, drowned in the stormy waters.

In this line of thought, there is a paradox inexplicable from a logical point of view: the top management hires specialists who should be responsible for certain functional areas and coordinate the relevant activities as professionally and reasonably as possible; it is also assumed that in their role of experts they should provide the management with a competent opinion and suggestions within their competence.

In practice, however, instead of giving them freedom of action, they are constantly monitored and “advised” on how to perform their duties, or in other words, the maxim applies: “I took a consultant to teach him what to do.” In itself, this practice is destructive because instead of facilitating the work of the manager and making a real contribution to the successful course of the activity, the employee is an additional burden subject to control and inspection. Reference: “Organization of the work of the manager”,

In addition, placed under the constant watchful eye of the “omniscient” manager, the employee loses the last rudiment of his sense of professional competence, independence, and usefulness, and this is a sufficient reason for his demotivation.

The manager can become either a parasite or an inspiration for his subordinates

Most often, this behavior is the result of the natural tendency of the manager to dominate as a consequence of his full and unconditional responsibility for the company’s activities. Reference: “The role of a good manager in the organization”,

This, on the one hand, provokes his strong will and high demands, but on the other hand, precisely, for this reason, he may show a tendency to command, not to accept criticism, and to strive to be the master of the situation.

Thus he develops a model of behavior in which he simultaneously manipulates, succeeds, controls, and acts at all levels, conscious and unconscious.

As a consequence, in his relationships with subordinates, he can become either a parasite or an inspiration for them, motivate or destroy them depending on their understanding of the importance of their work and their degree of independence.

Often this behavior of the manager is provoked by his desire to shrewdly analyze and evaluate people so that he is confident in the success of their professional creativity.

Like the scorpion, he is cautious, suspicious, and has a clear idea of ​​his situation concerning others, so if he thinks that something threatens the realization of his goals, it is possible to become a despot.

However, sometimes he smells danger where it does not exist, and this often causes him trouble.

For example, it is widely believed that employees are unaware of the importance of their work and that if they were not closely monitored, they would therefore neglect their responsibilities and therefore jeopardize the company’s progress.

So the manager decides that the best remedy is directive management, defining multiple responsibilities and taking away almost all powers to make serious decisions. Reference: “Managerial decision making: methods and models”,

Such an approach, combined with a superficial knowledge of the specific functional area (because it is normal for a person not to be competent in all areas of activity), in the long run, could lead to several detrimental outcomes for the organization: it is very likely good professionals or leave, or go with the flow, rejecting any situation in which they would be required to take responsibility.

In addition, the inability of the manager to anticipate the multilateral effects of his operational decision or the disregard of an unpopular proposal by the employee may impair the effect of his willpower in resolving problematic situations and lead to unprofessional management.

Last but not least, this constant state of restlessness and uncertainty in the actions of subordinates would lead to the complete depreciation of the manager, who would not physically withstand such an unmeasured load for a longer period. In short, as a consequence of its contradictory nature, “the scorpion ate its tail.”

Can an attacking manager be good?

What prevents the Scorpio manager from appearing like an eagle? When challenged to respond with a challenge; to pursue its ambitions despite all threats and obstacles in its path; to be thorough, expeditious, and persistent; to inspire with his strength and courage so that the people around him will admire and rely on these qualities when they get into trouble.

For him, professional self-expression is a necessity, he works with zeal, especially when it comes to a new project that allows him to show his creative talents, originality, and ingenuity.

It is this combination of entrepreneurship and magnetism that ensures that he reaches heights in every field in which he works.

But isn’t all this exaggerated and somehow allegorical? Is such an absolute transformation possible?

Like a caterpillar, a scorpion can spin its cocoon; he just spins, even without knowing what awaits him; he puts himself in a cocoon consciously, of his own free will, and accepts the end existence without having any idea what follows.

All he knows is that he is alive, fully conscious, and endowed with something amazing called intelligence. He must arm himself with courage and say goodbye to his old way of life, even though he was safe, secure, and happy, put himself in a cocoon and be locked in it. At this point, nothing comes in and nothing comes out.

The past is over, as are all his goals and intentions. And suddenly, from the vacuum of uncertainty, from the darkness of doubt and horror, the cocoon is torn. Something has happened.

Can it be called miraculous? This is the essence of the scorpion – it can transform despite hopelessness, despair, and the inevitable personal upheavals.

The scorpion manager defends himself

There is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Scorpio manager also has the noblest intention to protect himself from the threats of the environment and therefore attacks.

But without knowing that the object of his actions is himself. Driven by his caution, suspicion, and tendency to dominate, he destroys the most valuable qualities of the people around him, initiative, creativity, and independence in their work, ultimately threatening his positions and the progress of the company he runs.

Torn by his desire to control everything and react ahead of time to surprising changes in the environment, the scorpion can also surprisingly bite its tail, thinking it is “something strange, threatening and alien.” And when he realizes what he has done, if he has time for it at all, it will be too late.

Therefore, to overcome his nature and the phenomenon of “self-eating” above all, the scorpion manager must realize the existence of the problem. In this sense, it will be necessary to overcome the typical barriers of communication-related to protection in the perception of ideas or situations that may threaten him, such as the recognition of the fact that his actions undermine the usefulness of his subordinates.

He will also have to overcome his prejudice in his favor, ie. emphasizing one’s own merits for achievements and denying one’s guilt for failures. To a large extent, his success in this regard is a matter of common sense and goodwill.

On the other hand, if the manager has gained negative experience related to providing initiative to subordinates and the result of their activities, it may fail to disregard the established stereotype of their responsibility and motivation and not take into account the ineffectiveness of his approach to others. competent and responsible professionals. Reference: “Management approaches in the organizations for managers”,

Unfortunately, universities do not teach how to manage people sensibly and effectively, and this is usually overlooked in subsequent formal and informal vocational training.

After all, if he did not have a good example in the person of a superior, concerning the balance between delegation and subsequent control of the work, the manager will probably not be able to borrow ideas for a change in his approach.

The manager objectively analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of employees

The ability of the manager to objectively analyze the advantages and disadvantages of his associates and to relate them to the requirements of the environment is extremely important.

The manager must gather comprehensive information about the potential and ambitions of the human resource at his disposal so that he can generate solutions for a favorable way out of the trap in which he puts himself.

There are various means of collecting such information. To examine the potential of employees, a formal assessment of their activities, an analysis of their management skills, or an assessment of training needs is usually conducted.

Feedback on their satisfaction and ambitions can be done through boxes for collecting opinions and suggestions, employee satisfaction surveys, and more.

It should be borne in mind that different tools have variable utility depending on the specific organizational culture. In any case, the problem of truthfulness and sincerity in providing feedback from employees should not be overlooked.

To a large extent, they are a function of their conviction in the benefits of such an initiative, as well as in the good intentions of the manager.
Some employees may approach such a process as an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction and nihilism and do not show the necessary constructiveness. Reference: “The place of the manager in the management process”,

Therefore, the manager must develop the ability to channel such processes by very clearly presenting their goals, emphasizing the benefits for each staff member.

Other employees, based on the prevailing authoritarian style of government and poor acceptance of self-initiative, may refrain from providing open opinions under the influence of their fear of subsequent sanctions.

Only a change in the overall attitude of the manager, which is a matter of time, as well as the creation of positive examples could overcome this attitude.

A relatively rarely used source of information about the liabilities and assets of the organization’s resources and the quality of the work environment are the so-called “exit interviews”.

It is idealistic to think that the desire and sincere intentions of the Scorpio manager for change will be a sufficient condition for the immediate neutralization of the mood to leave among frustrated professionals.

In this sense, the only thing the manager could do when leaving an employee is to consult his opinion on the above issues. If he is willing to hear facts that are unpleasant to him and if he can weed out the employee’s bias, the manager will receive information that he would hardly have access to in other circumstances.

To change his attitude towards delegating and giving initiative to associates, the manager should also give a clear assessment of his role in the organization: whether he is engaged in solving operational and routine tasks, he performs his main function to take care of them effectively enough. for the strategic development of the entrusted business activities.

He also needs to realize that, in the end, his role is to coordinate and guide, not to take on all the responsibility himself.

And after being aware of the capabilities of the people at his disposal, their ambitions, advantages, and dangers of his environment, the Scorpio manager, demonstrating his support, should undertake a program for assigning specific tasks to employees in determining a relatively broad parameter. of initiative, rights, and responsibilities.

If he can’t deal with his suspicion, he should start with the complete transfer of low-risk assignments and, to his surprise, will eventually convince the old rule that “appetite comes with eating.” that there is nothing better than someone firing you from a job you have been charged with so far.

On the other hand, such an approach would help to improve employees and increase their self-awareness and motivation. Reference: “The Manager and the Leader as sources of motivation”,

Combined with a program to promote achievement, it would have a very direct quantitative and qualitative effect on the company’s results.

And suddenly, from the vacuum of uncertainty, from the darkness of doubt and mistrust, the cocoon, in which, like the caterpillar, the scorpion has wrapped itself, is torn.

Something has happened. Can it be called miraculous? I don’t think it’s just the essence of the scorpion, it can transform despite hopelessness, despair, and the inevitable personal upheavals.

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