Management at City – Is it for me?

Management at City – Is it for me? One day course. Jonathan Winter

Derek suggested that I attend this course, so buoyed by his faith in me, I arrived yesterday morning with eleven other staff from across City.

Louise, the trainer, started with John Adair’s widely used Functional Leadership model that looks at the workplace in terms of Individual-Team-Task needs. She said that managers keep the balance between them. If we focus on just Task, for example, with a deadline looming that consumes us, then the Individual and Team suffer.

Throughout the day, references were made to the managers’ core competencies. Managing staff was discussed through case study examples. One was how to talk to a disaffected colleague who was being disruptive to the team, and how to regain a positive culture and atmosphere.  Also discussed was the other end of the spectrum, through managing a one-to-one with a member of staff who does not have any ambitions, and is well-liked. There was even a scenario on how to deal with a member of staff with smelly feet! I learned that managing people is a difficult and challenging thing!

An engaging role-play activity took place where groups acted as notepad-making companies. Groups of three had to cut out and staple as many notepads as possible in a limited time, taking turns to be the ‘hands-off’ manager. We received feedback on our management styles from our colleagues, and got a score from Louise, depending on how many notepads were made and how accurate the estimate of output was. It was a fun way of getting to know some new people, and reminded me how seriously I take this type of activity (my team won).

We examined how to get a promotion, how senior management see us, and what we can do about it. Louise quoted Harvey Coleman, author of Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed. He posited that your ‘exposure’, the degree to which you or your work is seen by important others, is far more an important factor at securing a promotion than your ‘performance’, the results of your work. Let me now say that I am not sure this applies at City Library.

The trainer highlighted the value of feedback, and that most people are starved of it (Peter Honey). She outlined the golden rules of giving feedback and we looked at the EEC (example, effect, change) model when planning and delivering a feedback conversation.

Ways were looked at how to gain maximum exposure, and lastly, teams worked to set targets for our next professional steps.

Overall, I found it a very stimulating course and would recommend it to others. It gave me an insight into the challenges of being a manager and made me think that such roles are not right for everyone. Now I can make a more carefully considered choice as to whether a career as a manager is a goal I wish to pursue.

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