Leadership

What’s the personality of the perfect manager?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Tue, 08/02/2016 - 16:21 by Bill McAneny

TeamWell there’s a question! Firstly have you ever met ‘the perfect manager,’ I haven’t, (though I’ve met many who thought they were). And secondly does your personality make you a better or worse manager? I don’t think so. Whenever we attend traditional management-training courses the trainer starts by saying: ‘who are the great leaders from history? And usually the ‘answer’ is Winston Churchill and Richard Branson! Next question: ‘what makes them great?’ A list of, often strange and contradictory, attributes. Last question: ‘how can we be like that?’ Stop!

Our view is that anyone can learn to be a great manager, but they have to do that in the way that suits them as individuals. The Latin root of the word ‘education,’ is ‘e-ducato,’ which means ‘leading out.’ So rather than trying, in vain, to be like her or him, we should bring out the unique manager in ourselves. Being like her or him is not possible, nor should we want to. And trying to do so will mean we are not being authentic, true to ourselves and other people will see that. So there’s no ‘best manager’ personality, even if some personality types beg to differ. There’s just all of us, with our own foibles and idiosyncrasies doing the best we can and doing it our way. Sure we can learn the practical skills to be better managers, that’s why we created Skilful.co. But they way we manage, which is a day-by-day, often hour-by-hour activity, will depend on us as individuals, so we do it our way: ‘not that way,’ or ‘that way!’ So which character type makes the best manager? All of them!

The myth of the perfect leadership personality: who wants a template leader anyway?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 10/10/2013 - 08:24 by Bill McAneny
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Cookie cutterWe were asked by the CEO of a major organisation if he could use our Character Analysis as part of his drive to better understand his people. We kind of like this as it helps spread the word that business is a people game, and a contact sport. We asked how he intended to use the assessments: "Well I want to make sure we only hire ENTJs." We asked why he would want to do that: "Because they are the best types." We asked what type he was (we were being ironic). But it does raise a serious issue: often managers want to clone, ie recruit and develop in their own image.

So much is written about leadership and it does all tend to veer towards the charismatic, extravert, individual pointing upwards with everybody in awe. In reality we know this isn't right but it fits with the myths of leadership as being Caesar crossing the Rubicon.

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