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The Best Managers Are Boring Managers

Is the best manager the kind who walks around like a superstar, lighting up every room and earning the envy of colleagues? As a matter of fact, maybe not. Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic, writing for Harvard Business Review, explores a very startling alternative: the best manager could be an absolutely boring person.

The Management Problem

In today’s business world, managers often get hired because of their flamboyant personalities and their ability to amaze their employees. A large amount of supervisors also get the position because of their prior technical experiences, but this is a problem when they have no management experience, because it is “in effect, transitioning from skilled labor to unskilled management.” In any case, there is a lack of effective tools to adequately measure how talented a manger actually is.

Boring Is Better

What does the perfect manager look like? When looking to psychology, “boring” would equate to “emotional maturity,” or the ability to function whilst being emotionally stable, agreeable, and conscientious. These are all signs of an older person, and better attributes for a manager to have. Although a leader could be quite successful with a touch of anti-social qualities, people are the happiest when they work for a manager with more agreeable qualities.

A manager does not merely have to deal with the problems of the company, but also the problems of the people working for that company. Emotional labor is the key idea here, the ability to connect with customers and subordinates. The “best” managers are often perceived as the opposite of this, not getting sucked into the realm of emotions and able to make quick decisions void of personal opinion.

People want a manager with integrity, and a large part of integrity is how people perceive their behavior. When subordinates view a manager as possessing few dark attributes and they are predictable and reliable, they rate them higher for ethical behavior and thus a “better” manager.

In closing, the best managers are not always the flashiest, charismatic people, but they are the ones who earn the respect of their subordinates and, well, remain somewhat robotic. You can read the original article here: https://hbr.org/2015/09/the-best-managers-are-boring-managers

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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One comment

  1. Nice article! I agree. Many organizations instill a culture that promotes confidence over competence. They reward advocacy (the facile expressing of one’s opinion) in lieu of inquiry (the patience unbiased finding true causes of problems)–The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge.

    Lastly, it takes maturity and character to at times sacrifice actions that would forward one’s own career for the ultimate goal of helping the others or the organizatin.

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