I’ve had a few conversations about management culture recently, the most recent was in #chat2lrn on Thursday. The theme of the chat was happiness in the workplace. This is a complex question which is difficult to answer in a Twitter chat. However, Henry Stewart ably addressed the issue of happiness with his Happy Manifesto which I highly recommend. In the chat, there was a question about management:
What role does management have in supporting workplace happiness?
As I said, happiness is complex but I think the best managers are pirate managers…ARR. To be a pirate manager, there are 3 traits which the manager will demonstrate consistently in the workplace.
Pirate managers know you. Not just by name but they know you, the person. They know enough about you in work to understand your motivations, what you respond well to, your capacity and, most importantly your stretch points. They know your children’s names, can second guess your favourite food and will say hi to you every day. This acknowledgement isn’t superficial – it matters. They say hi to help understand your mood, to give you an opportunity to share. They recognise when you’re in your zone, they know when you need to be pushed, they understand the mechanisms to pull you.
Recognition by the pirate manager is knowing when you do well and telling you. They understand what good looks like and tell you when you produce it. Importantly, they tell other people what you do well and when you do that too. They use this recognition to sell your team’s strengths. This recognition is important to you as it shows your manager is aware of what you do and when you exceed your (and their) expectations. Recognising is important for the pirate manager since it establishes the levles of trust and performance tat they expect from you.
Reward doesn’t have to be financial from a pirate manager. They know you well enough to understand that leaving early might be the reward you need. Or telling you to come in late the next day. Or turning up at your desk to find a pastry for breakfast. The reward might be public or more private; the pirate manager knows which will motivate you more. The effective pirate manager understands that reward doesn’t have to be external – it could be more responsibility, development, support.
Is good management as simple as being a pirate? Please comment…or ye’ll be walking the plank.