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  • Kate Isichei

Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs may explain weak managers

I've long been an advocate for equipping managers to support their teams by giving them the tools to succeed in this pivotal role. The modern perception of the word 'manager' evokes thoughts of steering and maneuvering, of guiding and supporting. This is exactly what people managers can do for the organisation, by default, if they're doing this for their teams.

Show me a team that's behaving badly and I'll show you the breadcrumbs leading back to poor management. This goes for both the hierarchies below and above the managers. Managers don't manage their teams in a vacuum. They lead their groups within an organisation and are influenced in that management by the culture, working practices, leadership style, values etc. that the company extols and holds dear.

I often catch myself talking about managers as an isolated group but they are almost always a product of their environment. Managers have a lot to deal with so giving them tool kits that not only contain content but also demonstrate how to use and deploy the content during a team meeting or 1:1 setting can be more valuable than just hitting the send button with yet another Word document attachment for them to decipher.

The answer to mobilising this pivotal layer of the organisation lies in understanding the organisation that they work for. Tool kits are not for every manager but perhaps briefing templates are. Make team meetings mandatory? Perhaps this won't work, but informal catch ups, that suit different groups and different work patterns and priorities, might.

It's a tricky balance between giving managers the freedom to decide how to communicate with their teams whilst ensuring that some form of regular and meaningful communication actually takes place.

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