Sunday, June 20, 2010


Who is a good manager?
In a team how do you separate a good manager from a bad one?
What are his characteristics,how does he behave,what his management style?

I have tried to come up with a small differentiation.
Good Manager(GM) is a LEADER.
Bad Manager(BM) is a MASTER.

I'll explain what i mean...

There is a jungle to be crossed ,no one knows the path.

A GM(Leader) will assign responsibilities to each of his team members .
Each one in the team is working on the same task,everone is contributing to the same task ,the GM is leading them.
Formation of the team is like this

***              --------------------
***    GM          Jungle                                
***              --------------------

Everyone is happy and the team morale is high

however in the other case it is like

Jungle has to be crossed ,Master (BM) is sitting on a chariot commanding his troops to make a way.
He expects the team to know a way or if they don't...they better figure it out.

         ***      --------------------
         ***         Jungle                                         
BM   ***       --------------------
Probably the boss is morale takes a dip.

In both cases the work is done but i think the latter is an authoritarian way of doing things.
If one says that he has mastered his team..that means he has created an army of robots,who don't think on there own but just obey the commands.

You Master master master tools.
People are never mastered....they are led.

They are led the Bhuvan way(lagaan), they are led the Gandhi way.
However ...Cricket is Mastered the Sachin Way , Music is Mastered the Rahaman way...


SANKET said...

During my MBA course psychologists from America told us that there are three types of managers

2)Carrot(giving incentives)

All would love to have third type Manager(B).But in reality all these types of Managers are required depending upon the situation.

Saurabh Singh said...

Good thoughts Gaurav. I totally agree with your introductory statements and your conclusion. I would like to further analyze the mid body of the post... mainly the diagrams (respectfully, of course :) )

There are two ways to lead an organization. Delegating the work or to micro-manage. Both have their benefits, however it is generally agreed that if you cannot stop micro-managing your company when the scale of your operations get big, you are doing something wrong. e.g. David used to micro-manage, trying to get involved in as many requests as possible. (I think he doesn't do it that often these days).

In the first diagram, every team input passes through the manager's desk. If you blur your eyes, the diagram looks like a bottle... or rather a bottleneck. We have, in essence, limited the team's maximum potential to the ability of the manager.

The second diagram, as you have surely guessed, is of the manager who delegates. If you blur your eyes again, it reminds us of a general commanding his troops in a battlefield. While a general fighting in the frontlines is really heroic, it is common knowledge that to win the battle, he needs to survive the battle.

Do we have a clear winner among the two? No. Why not? Because a shirt of one-size-fits-all ends up fitting none. We are trying to classify grey in terms of black and white.

I would like to add a corollary to your theorem:

i. A good manager is a leader, and not a master (as you rightly said).

ii. A good manager successfully identifies the individual strengths and weaknesses of those he intends to lead. He leans on (delegates to) the people he can rely upon and monitors (micro-manages) the team-mates who needs to be trained / helped.

iii. A good manager realizes that he is only human. He also realizes that his team-mates are also humans. Finally, he knows that if they work together, they can be much more than a random group of humans ... more than a sum of its parts.



P.S. Please don't mind my unsolicited blabbering. :P

SANKET said...

Before a Manager tries to manage others he should be Master in managing himself.
Here is small story which my teacher gave when he was an employee in some company.
Manager named X had good relationship with workers and was good in doing all the tasks related to his domain.Company was thinking to promote him.But everyday at night he used to drink and reach home late.X also did not give money to his wife.So one day she wrote a letter to company and told everything about him.Letter reached on the day when promotion list was being prepared.Higher officials removed his name from list after reading the letter.

Abhishek Tondon said...

A manager should not be a master, true, but should he be a leader - I have reservations. Go by the dictionary meaning of the two words and the picture becomes clearer.

Gandhi ji was a dynamic leader with God like follower-ship -- but he didn't use to manage people. He was not exceptionally good at managing the Congress either.

Bhuwan is Lagaan played the dual role of a Leader first (and through out) and a manager in patches.

Of course, a manager must have leadership qualities.

Delegating work is a very important aspect of managing things - sure, but again, it should not be imposing. A manager manages humans, which are inherently intelligent - and that they're not programmable robots, is something a manager must not forget. A good manager must provide each individual of his/her team the necessary space and privileges that s/he deserves by the very virtue of being human, and also ensure that s/he replicates good managers in few of his/her team members by allowing them grow!

That's what I feel.

Vivek Shah said...

yaaron gach rho and thas rho :)

Gaurav Vashist said...

@Sanky - Nice categorization of the managers...

I mean you can be all the three while LEADING also...but i want the manager to lead by example.

Once the team feels that the manager is also putting in equal will put twice the effort.

@Saurabh-- I agree to almost everything that you say...and i think that the diagrammatic interpretation is not what wanted it to be.

A good leader is equally excited about the task as is his team...he delegates responsibility in the first case also. He encourages everyone to be the best that they can be.

He sets the guidelines not the footsteps.

In the second case it's more of a tyrannical type of management.

Actually it came out of a discussion of two of my friends
One got into MBA(F1) this year...other passed out of MBA(F2)...

F1-->Yar i dnt knw what i will do in MBA.
F2-->Are ho jaega is overhyped .Nothing so special.

F1-->I dnt know how the life will change after the MBA.
F2->Are yar earlier you were working for some boss.Now there will be 100 Poor employees working for you.

I mean i was really sad to read that.How can a manager want his employees to be poor.

I mean they should be excited ...motivated towards the task..if they are not its the manager who is poor.

If the employees are feeling enervated and POOR.
MR Managaer you suck...they are poor bcoz you are their boss.

This is a clear case of manager not being excited about the job but expects his team to do it for him .

Thats what i wanted to say wid my second pic.

Gaurav Vashist said...

@ Abhishek....A manager may not be a leader..i agree to that. He doesn't need to have leadership skills to manage the project deadlines....he can manage the deadlines without those skills also.

I hate to use a but but i'll use one now...

Manager may not be a leader but A Good Manager Always should be....according to me.

If i can get my team excited and motivated towards a work reduces to half and i can not do it without leading from front....

So i think a leader is a good manager...
A manager may not be a leader.

wat say??

Gaurav Vashist said...

@ Vivek - :D :D :D

Saurabh Singh said...

Absolutely right, Gaurav.

It was probably the manager himself who hired most of the employees. So, once he thought they were good employees. If later on you begin to think otherwise, maybe it's time to look to yourself. You may have done something wrong to make good employees into bad ones. :)

Vivek Shah said...

I know your 2 friends F1 and F2. Looks like you are putting words in someone's mouth. Nice way of making the point. BTW do you want me to give this link to F2 :P

Gaurav Vashist said...

Ya sure why not.... :) please do that

maneesh said...

different means to different ends !! Authority is also necessary !! Management i believe is bidirectional , all the managerial decisions might not depend upon the manager alone but also on the people being managed. Human nature has different shades and not everyone is alike. A GM has to be an excellent man manager as well, thats the only way he can accomplish whatever's being discussed in the salubrious discussions above!!

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