Monica Mathijs | Developing People. Developing organisations

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker

“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.”

Tom Peters

When we leave the world of education to enter the big world or work, this can be a defining moment which impacts who we are and our behaviours in the workplace. Whether it is a positive or not so positive experience, we have a role to play and choices to make on how we take these experiences forward.

We often speak with clients who believe that the way their first manager treated them, or comments made by someone of seniority moulded their views of the world. Whether a manager creates a positive impact or a negative one, the manager must be cognizant of this impact. Why? Because as a personal sense of responsibility, every manager and leader plays a role in defining their staff members’ work experience from their growth, sense of safety to the feeling of belonging.

The time we spend in the workplace is the greatest time we spend in any one place. Five days a week and 8 hours a day (averagely speaking) and why wouldn’t we all want to feel a sense of belonging, the knowingness that we are supported and are in an environment where we are given a platform to learn, grow and develop. 

We work with clients who have a low level of confidence because a manager would shout them down, females who believe they are being overlooked in career progression to people who feel so privileged to have worked with bosses and leaders who took the initiative and made the commitments to grow their people.

What kind of manager do you want to be? What kind of manager do you want to work for?

Here are some things management can think about and reflect upon:

Self-reflecting as a manager
  • Assess what kind of manager and leader you are and want to be – there is a need for self-reflection and assessing your own emotional intelligence.
  • Become aware of the body language and non-verbal cues you are receiving and giving your staff. Are they engaged and involved or defensive and unsure – the non-verbal signals can show so much.
  • If you are too busy for your staff members, is this a problem and how are going change this? What can you do to ensure the communication channels are open?
Roles and responsibilities
  • As a manager, is there enough clarity and details available to the team of their roles and responsibilities? If you explain something in a rushed manner, then are you aware of the impact of this?
  • Is the language being used reflecting a sense of progress and integration? For example, the use of language which is reflective of all genders and cultural backgrounds sets the sentiment and values of a team and organisation.
Feedback process
  • As a manager, do you know what others think about you and your team? Traditional feedback models focus on a top-down process, a bottoms-up approach has value whereby a wider pool inputs into the process and a fuller picture is provided. Using methods such as formal 360 degrees feedback processes or online feedback tools can support this.
Team dynamics and purpose
  • Do your team members feel part of something bigger? Have you instilled a purpose and sense of belonging to the vision set and know how to get there?
  • What kind of activities, initiatives and off-site activities are implemented within the team and organisation to create a sense of team belonging and team building? Taking staff outside of the traditional working environment and encouraging interactions creates a platform for this.

As a manager and leader, doing the day job of managing working is simply part of the role, the ability to build and grow teams and people who deliver your vision and feel a sense of fulfilment is greater than managing tasks. What kind of leader are you and what kind of leader do you want to be?

Monica Mahi Mathijs is the CEO and Founder of Our Stillness– a corporate development consultancy based in the UAE offering immersive training programs, executive coaching and more. She is a change agent and works on delivering programs and projects in the region.

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