• Will Cooper

The moral dilemma of being a Manager

Being a Manager is difficult. I have found that there are certain skills and qualities that you need in order to be a great Manager.

Is there a step-by-step guide to be a great Manager?

I will start this article by saying that I am by no means the finished article as a Manager. I sometimes feel, as Jose Mourinho would say, ‘I’m the special one’ and feel like me and my team can achieve anything, but at times feel I’ve lost the dressing room and need to shake up the team. It is however said that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers. Personally, I have had experience underneath some great Managers and some rather poor ones. I thought I would write about the daily dilemmas and interesting thoughts that I’ve had. Advice, criticism and smiles allowed, just let me know your thoughts...

When to be a role model

One of my favourite managers once said to me "Live the life that others will want to live’’ – the sentiment is great, a full staff team looking up to you wanting to be you - sounds like the perfect life? I find myself wearing my undies on the outside, and I am still waiting for there to be a statue of me somewhere. However, there are some areas where I have found tough in my experience of being a Manager.

What happens if you are a lightweight on a team building night-out?

The role model that I aspire to be in this circumstance is able to have endless drinks, have fun and still manages to walk away from the bar with a Ryan Gosling-esque elegance. Not me. Two tequila’s, a Sugarbabes song and a sticky dance floor, and I’m the talk of the office on Monday morning. If this is you, then I would recommend the ‘Drink anything an underage drinker would drink’ approach. Drink anything colourful, sugary and less than 4 % and own it. Your, ‘I will drink what I want’ attitude will not get judged and will also scream confidence and certainty. You’re welcome!

What if you drive a 'tin-can' car but want to impress?

I drive a car that wouldn’t be out of place in a scrapyard, or on the road in gear two on the motorway cruising at a solid 27 mph (middle lane obviously because this is what the worst drivers do). In honesty, my approach was to convince the Director to buy a brand-new Volvo, but this hasn’t gone ahead. Alternatively, I park around the corner of the office and walk the rest of the way. Remember that you care about the environment and your health, so I look like an all-round top human. If this doesn’t work, the ‘Bentley is in the garage’ comment is always a winner so you can tell them you’ve bought something cheap in the meantime to tide you over.

Dress to impress

It’s always an interesting subject when it comes to dress code in the office. I mean, there is a famous saying ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you are in’. In principle, this is great but what do you wear as a Manager? Surely part of being a Manager means you can wear a more informal (trip to McDonalds) t-shirt and jeans, rather than the dry clean only designer 3-piece suit. If this is the case though, then dressing for the job you’re in will mean your staff will follow. So, does informal dress create the professional environment you want? What I find is that encouraging individuality and staying smart and comfortable is the best mix. Failing that, get an expensive watch and monk-strap shoes so that you look the part.

The serious part

I do believe that management has a steep learning curve and understanding how to develop relationships can be tough. What is key to understand is that there is no ‘One size fits all’ guide to management. What I do believe is that it is important to be empathetic and put yourself in the shoes of your team. Taking time to say "Let’s chat" or "Help me understand" is important. Lead from example. Show people how to do things rather then tell them what to do. Respect and likability can be key. Not everyone can be your best friend, but they will respect you if they know that you support them to succeed in every aspect of their work and work/life balance.