Once upon a time, the traditional perception of a boss was that of the stern authoritarian — or even totalitarian — someone to be feared. But times are changing, and with them, so is the image of what good management really is.
Today, we see a good manager as someone with strong emotional intelligence, also known as a high emotional quotient or EQ. This means someone who has empathy for their employees, along with other qualities.
To that end, here are four myths about good management we should all stop believing.
1. The title makes the job.
You can’t be a manager if you don’t have the title to back up the role. It’s all in the job description. Moreover, if you do move into a management position, that automatically makes you a leader.
The truth: You can still manage and lead effectively, regardless of the title you have. Many people in individual contributor roles cultivate excellent management skills well before they land a role with the title of manager. What’s more, there are plenty of people with the title of manager who don't
2. Delegating means you’re relinquishing control.
Delegating is a sign of weakness. By giving subordinates the responsibility, you’re relinquishing control over your projects. You could also come across as incompetent or unable to complete your responsibilities.
The truth: Delegating is actually a sign of confidence — both in your own abilities and those of your employees. You’re choosing the best people with the necessary skills to complete the work. You’re also giving yourself the time to focus on potentially more complex projects. Plus, you’re assisting your employees with their career growth, helping them learn and practice the skills they need to advance in their roles.
3. A great manager can solve any problem.
If you’ve advanced the ranks and attained the status of manager, you should be able to solve practically any problem that comes your way. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in charge, right? The best managers have a gift — they do amazing work, and their teams do amazing work.
The truth: Even truly phenomenal managers encounter problems they’re not necessarily equipped to handle. And that’s okay! You’ll make mistakes, and your team members will make mistakes. Your approach to resolving these issues is what will set you apart. You’re tasked with nurturing and guiding your team, helping them attain the skills to deal with problems as they arise, too. What’s more, you need to recognize your own limitations and those of your team. Get help from your team, too — often, you can work collaboratively to solve problems together.
4. In order to avoid micromanaging, you must give employees complete autonomy.
Employees should have the freedom to do their jobs without your interference. You should employ a hands-off approach, allowing team members to “do their thing” without you intervening. If they fail, so be it: it’s a learning opportunity. If you step in too often, you’ll risk being labeled a micromanager.
The truth: Delegating is one thing, but in order to be an excellent manager, you need to strike a balance between affording employees some independence and providing them with the guidance they need to do their jobs. Don’t wait for your employees to come to you — actively offer support and resources. Give them opportunities to succeed, and if they encounter challenges, help them work through them.
When you do delegate, assign tasks according to the skills employees have to do these activities correctly. In other words, don’t give employees projects they’re not equipped for — help them attain these skills before giving them responsibilities that are too lofty.
The definition of good management has evolved considerably as the very nature of the job market changes. Whether you’re a current manager or aspire to be one, make sure you understand the qualities you need to lead effectively — and don’t believe the myths.
What's your no. 1 piece of unconventional management advice? Leave your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!
This article was written by a FGB Contributor.