What are the main aspects and qualities of a good manager? What are the most important tasks for a manager to be aware of on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? This lesson will cover these topics and more for those interested in becoming managers or simply wanting to know what their managers are thinking of when they make key decisions.
Vocabulary – Expressions – Phrasal Verbs – Idioms:
Management style – the way in which a manager, or group of managers, carries out their tasks.
Management culture – the underlying assumptions and philosophies which dictate the way a group of managers behaves.
Top down management – an autocratic management style where the most senior managers make decisions and convey them to the people who work for them
Bottom-up management – a style of management where ideas, tactics, and strategies are allowed to bubble up through the layers of management from the bottom to the top.
Management by walking around – sometimes called “mbwa”. A style of management where managers are expected to be out and about, interacting with the people who work in the company and its customers face to face.
Helicopter management – this is a management style which draws back from the day to day activities of a company and tries to look at the overall big picture. (These days it might be called drone management!)
MBA – a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, generally considered to be the best academic preparation for a business career.
Degree from the School of Life/School of Hard Knocks – a term used to describe the training of people who learned their management skills on the job, and who do not as a rule have formal or academic qualifications.
Management summary – the part of a report which summarizes the contents for those managers who don’t have the need, or the time, to read the entire document in full.
Carrying the can – the management function whereby a manager takes responsibility for the actions of those reporting to him, regardless of whether he or she had direct involvement in those actions.
Management trainee – a person training for a position in management.
Senior management – the group of managers within a company who have the most seniority, experience, and status.
Junior management – the youngest, least experienced and least senior managers within an organization.
Glass ceiling – a notional level of management responsibility and power within a company above which it is very hard for minorities, especially women, to rise.
Management perks – short for perquisites, these are non-financial benefits which managers may receive as part of their employment package. For example, a reserved parking space in the company carpark is a management perk.
Expense account – the ability to charge certain business-related activities to the organization, for example, travel and entertaining.
In a modern organization, an appropriate management culture can mean the difference between success and failure. For example, companies relying on high tech will typically employ many Millenials. A casual, bottom-up management style may well be appropriate in these companies, where individuals have a lot of control over the way they work, and where ideas can bubble up from the bottom.
In many companies, the glass ceiling has meant that the available talent pool has been artificially made smaller than it need be. Women and minorities have been largely confined to junior management roles.
There can be a conflict between managers who have had no formal training, and those who come to a company with academic training, such as an MBA. There can be a clash of management styles between these groups.
Live Conversation Example:
Jane Banks: You wanted to know if I have any questions. So, how would you describe the management culture of Digby International?
Mary Johnson: Well, most of our junior managers arrive here, like you, with an MBA. The senior managers, by and large, got their training in the School of Life! There can be some conflict between old ideas and new, and we are working on raising the glass ceiling.
Jane Banks: That sounds a bit challenging!
Mary Johnson: It is, but there are some great management perks. Even as a management trainee you’ll have an expense account for entertaining clients, and also free health insurance for you and your family.
Jane Banks: It certainly seems like a very interesting company. I did like the idea that you try to have a system of bottom-up management.
Mary Johnson: Yes; because so many of our senior management worked their way up through the ranks, they have a lot of respect for the people on the shop floor.
Describe the management philosophy of your organization.
What kind of a manager are you? What is your personal management style?
How could a company work to remove a glass ceiling?
Why should a manager “carry the can”? How does this benefit organizations?
What are the attributes of a good manager in your organization?
In your industry, what do you believe to be the predominant management culture?
What management skills can the people “on the shop floor” contribute to your company?