What Kind of Manager Are You?

There are two kinds of managers and both types communicate in two very different styles.

One is the Hands-On: They criticise and judge their staff.

If, as a manager, you choose to judge (criticism, implied or otherwise), you will provoke defensiveness and withdrawal, not creativity or productivity.

When you hammer your people or find them coming up short, this is when you then start to criticise and micromanage them. In this age of sensitivity of the knowledge-based worker, that is a self-destructive cycle. It engenders nothing but resentment.

When we judge our people and then hold grudges, we are giving our power away. When we resent a team member, we are giving that power to that person we are angry with by allowing him/her to occupy and dominate our thinking. The real power in leadership comes from partnering with your staff and not criticising them.

The other one type is the Hands-Off: They mentor and coach their staff.

The ‘hands-off’ manager sets himself apart by retaining all his power. His practice is to understand everyone he meets. By doing this, he is reducing his own stress level at work. He is completely aware that every time he judges someone, he alters his own well-being.

So he refuses to assign the responsibility for negative feelings to that person he is tempted to judge. He assigns the responsibility for this low feeling to the thought he has formed about that person. Only these thoughts create stress, not the people. This is his mental attitude.

Please take a moment to ponder… What kind of a manager are you?

Your friend,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

3 thoughts on “What Kind of Manager Are You?

  1. Hi Mr Bismark,

    This is a thought-provoking article/comment.

    ‘Hands-off’ management isn’t always productive. Sometimes team members grow with lots of space, but sometimes people flounder due to a lack of direction, or even become lazy. For this style to work there needs to be strong boundaries and deliverables.

    ‘Hands-on’ management or micromanagement is the polar opposite. Not many employees like to be micromanaged (although sometimes it is necessary).

    A ‘hands-on’ style is not good for generating trust and creativity. Again, it can be demoralising if a team member makes a decision and then a ‘hands-on’ manager overrules the decision made.

    Surely there is a middle ground within this spectrum, where a manager knows when to get involved, when to work alongside/train and when to give space.

    This middle ground requires some faith and confidence in your own management style and also an amount of trust in your team members.

    At the end of the day, I think that a leader needs to have elements of both ‘hands-on’ and ‘hands-off’ management.

    On one side of a coin, employees want a bit of freedom to learn, create and the opportunity for learning experiences (made by making mistakes). On the other, companies want managers who are ‘hands-on’ and are involved in the daily operations.

    To my understanding, a great manager, needs to be visible yet detached, interested/involved and aware about the productivity/business, approachable and be prepared to train alongside/jump in/mentor when team members truly need your help.

    Best Regards,

    Simon Illingworth
    General Manager, Prana Resorts & Spa – Q Lifestyle Group

  2. Dear Simon,

    I agree totally, finding the balance is very important. The ‘Gem’ is meant to provoke your thinking process and to stimulate thoughts that will be applicable to your current situation.

    Adapt… Adjust… Accommodate… these are the primary principles we need to adopt in a challenging work place.

    Thank you very much for your thoughts and comments!


  3. Dear brother Japa,

    this is my private email to you,

    Your training DVDs is hard to understand for me,i was uncomfortable with your trainings,

    but finally i saw you in V Africa for the first time,on that time i only Love Dato vijay.but i found You and pathman there and be in love with you also.

    let me send my great thanks to you for foundering this company.

    dear brother,i hope this weblog can help us to grow more.

    brother,please look at Iran IRs sometimes,we believe in you but also need your advice always.

    dear brother Japa,Help us to grow with other IRs.

    I have a little team in Iran and with God help they all believe in you,please look at us sometimes.
    you can test my team,show Dato movie they all cry.

    you are the master on one and one,dear brother help us more,please share with us,you know Iran is block the only way is DVDs,less meeting,even we have no V educate,V educate only we see in V website,but the case is not meeting,is we like to carry concepts like other IRs around the worlds. I like my team be like others and don’t think we disconnect from company vision.
    brother it is important to share us why you are master on one and one?


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