The managers role

Today and yesterday I went on a management training course. This is a complete reversal of policy by me, who has previously avoided them like the plague. Partly this is a feeling that since I am now quasi-managing two people I owe it to them to at least try to know what I’m doing. But partly its a (belated?) feeling that some of the fixed stars in my firmament (e.g., management is a load of b*ll*cks) have proved to be mutable. Sadly I only seem to be able to learn this sort of thing by experience (anyone can learn by their own experience; clever people learn by other peoples experience :-().

So what did I learn? Mostly that I wasn’t terribly interested in the organisational aspects of the course (did you know that one way to plan a task is to break it up into sub-units?) but the personal aspects did resonate. Not so much the eventual classifications that came out of the far end (I’m reward/punishment as a influencing style, which I think gets called mover/shaper under kinder systems) but more the questions that you have to answer… why couldn’t I have a “common vision” style instead? Looking back through the questions, because I can’t answer yes to stuff like “I inspire people with a sense of the worth of the project” because I’m always rather cynical.


  1. #1 James Annan

    Heh. I went on a “management training course” within a few weeks of starting my first job, straight out of university. At the start, the course leader asked us all why we were attending. I answered (honestly) that I was the most disposable member of my group…that didn’t go down too well :-)

    [Yeeessss… attitudes to these things do vary. Some people take training better than others. Don’t get fossilised, though :-) -W]

  2. #2 Dano

    Not everyone is geared to be a manager, William.

    You can cram courses down people’s throats and throw well-crafted phrases at them, but if they don’t have the personality for it, forget it. I’ve taken the courses, know all the phrases, but at the core I just am too intolerant of lazy *ssholes to be a good manager.

    That said, most career trajectories involve passing thru a managerial level, and it certainly is useful to learn the rules of the game so you can continue to play. Maybe looking at it like a game will help.



  3. #3 James Annan

    Oh, I enjoyed the course – and learnt some useful things (a fair bit of it was along the lines of “managing your own job” and even “managing your manager”). When I mentioned that I had no prospect of actually managing any staff in the foreseeable future, I was merely being accurate and perceptive beyond my years (and I was also acutely aware of the fact that someone else in the group had been made redundant on about the same day I started my job…I seem to have that effect on institutes).

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