|A good manager?|
The idea for the chat came from a talk by Henry Stewart, CEO of the wonderfully named company, Happy Ltd, entitled 'Choose your Boss'. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of their Four Thought series. You can listen to it here.
The talk began with the assertion that a majority of workers are not happy with their manager and that people often leave a job because of their manager. @KatySDavies agreed saying that, for her, having a good manager is probably the most important thing in a job now - more important than school, location, facilities, etc. @cioccas told us that she had, indeed, moved jobs because of bad managers.
Henry Stewart's solution to this problem is that people should be allowed to choose their own manager from those already in a management position. He suggests that companies should choose who manage people based on how well they manage people! Too often, people are promoted because they are good at their job, not because they are good at mentoring and managing people. #Eltchatters argued that perhaps Henry Stewart's ideas were not so applicable in an ELT setting and that, in our industry, good teachers can and do make good managers. In fact, most participants agreed that having a manager who had never been a teacher was really not a good thing.
So, what are the qualities of a good manager?
Henry Stewart quoted these eight behaviours identified by Internet giant Google Inc.:
- Is a good coach
- Empowers the team and does not micromanage
- Expresses interest / concern for team members’ success and personal wellbeing
- Is productive and results-orientated
- Is a good communicator – listens and shares information
- Helps with career development
- Has a clear vision / strategy for the team
- Has important technical skills that help him / her advice the team
- Has a tough transition (e.g. suddenly promoted, hired from outside with little training)
- Lacks a consistent philosophy / approach to performance management and career development
- Spends too little time on managing and communicating.
So, what did #eltchatters make of this list?
|A good manager|
@KatySDavies identified one of her bad managers as being someone who flicked between micro management and then gave no support at all when it was really needed. That person took no ownership of the work given to staff. On the other hand, a good manager, in Katy's experience, was one who was supportive without being overbearing and who was genuinely interested in her as a person. She described the great feeling she gets when she senses she's making a real contribution.
@bhrbahar said that a good manager is fair, honest and has organisational skill. @jo_sayers added that it is someone who cares and encourages. The majority of contributors agreed that good managers need to be good communicators with a focus on listening and sharing. Properly listening and responding to the content of what has been said is vital.
The role of 'coach' was seen as essential, with good managers taking every opportunity to coach their teachers - in meetings, via one-to-ones, through e-mail, at social events, in observations and appraisals, etc. When there aren't enough occasions like this, managers can seem very disconnected from their teachers. @cioccas pointed out that teachers need to know that their manager is capable of coaching them, even if they don't need them to. They can show this in what they say and do, the questions they ask, the interest they show, etc. Managers could also demonstrate their ability through running workshops themselves, or by finding the right people in their team to do it for them, for example. It's important that managers make time for coaching. @JoshSRound told us that he's started to schedule one-to-one meetings with all of his team, a fact which @KatySDavies imagined would make them feel really valued. In the same way as teachers do for students, managers have to negotiate achievable goals for their teachers. It needs to be a two-way process and teachers must have a realistic chance of hitting them.
Another similarity between the role of teacher and manager is that both have to know their 'team members' (students or staff) really well. @MrChrisJWilson told us that one of the best things about his current boss is that he has endorsed his passions and helped him explore them in teaching. In the same way, if we find our students' passions, we can use that knowledge to enhance their learning. Good managers should take into account the different learning styles of their teachers as good teachers do for their students.
A good manager briefs well - a useful skill for teachers, too, when it comes to giving clear and unambiguous instructions.
Good managers and good teachers:
- Listen well
- Manage discourse well
- Stay quiet at times
- Are open-minded
- Make people feel valued
- Give clear instructions
- Allocate tasks well
- Show concern for and interest in their charges
- Are organised
- Negotiate achievable goals
- Recognise potential and nurture it
- Treat people as individuals
- Adapt to the changing needs of their charges
- Don't hold grudges
- Solve problems
- Assess well
- Value the importance of having a balance between hard work and fun in order to build rapport
- Build a sense of team spirit
- Promote collaboration and sharing
- Are fair and impartial
- Step up and take the initiative
- Explain the rationale behind their decisions
- Urge people to push themselves
- Are willing to try new ideas
- Seek to constantly improve themselves and their methods
- Are never satisfied with just 'OK'
Does the DOS do it for you? by @JoshSRound
Differentiating Professional Development - the Principal's Role via @cioccas