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Rediscover the pleasure of managing! – Nicole Gelée, Senior Consultant / Executive Coach, Grant Alexander – Leadership Development for FocusRH


By talking to him about this managerial position, you thought you’d please him. The proposal was meant to be rewarding, but he saw it as stressful. So he turned it down, and promises of a change in status or a pay rise did nothing to help. How to explain this disengagement?




Let’s face it: managers are no longer the stuff of dreams. It suffers from a bad reputation, associated primarily with work overload, crushing responsibilities and increasing constraints. The development of telecommuting and the reduction of time-sharing within the company, the cohabitation of generations with different aspirations and attitudes, the growing expression of singularities within a weakened collective framework: recent societal evolutions are cited to explain this disenchantment. Because of them, managers are said to live under the weight of permanent and often contradictory injunctions on a daily basis. They are even said to be paralyzed in the face of psychosocial risks, in fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing or reacting in the wrong way. While they naturally aspire to be recognized as effective, close and attentive managers, they say they are mostly faced with the hostility of disappointed, hurt and demotivated employees. Many are even asking the question: in an age of individualism, nomadism, distance, flexibility and agility, does managing still make sense?





How can we restore the desire, the taste and even the pleasure of managing? First and foremost, we need to remember the essentials: managing is an opportunity. To manage is to support, encourage, energize and unite. It also means fostering team spirit, creating the conditions for sharing information, ensuring that skills complement each other, and giving meaning to personal and collective work. What could be more inspiring than being useful to both the company and each individual employee? What’s more, managing is one of the most complete and beautiful forms of development. By managing, you help others to grow, but not only that: by confronting a diversity of personalities, situations, experiences and issues, you grow yourself.

Without being exhaustive, this role helps develop the ability to listen and pay attention to each individual. It helps to better manage priorities. It encourages curiosity and creativity to find relevant solutions. It reinforces rigor and high standards with regard to others and ourselves. It encourages responsibility by making us face up to the consequences of each decision. In the final analysis, management means fulfilling oneself by helping others to fulfill themselves. Would young people really be indifferent to such a prospect? No! According to one study[1], 32% of students see themselves as team captains and 27% as coaches, compared with just 8% as referees and 1% as spectators. So the idea of being the captain (the manager) doesn’t put them off! Better still, it fits in perfectly with the quest for meaning so dear to their hearts.




Being appointed manager shouldn’t be seen as a poisoned chalice, or even as a painful but inevitable step in a successful professional career. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be seized. Yes, managing can and should be a pleasure. On three conditions, however. Firstly, it’s important to remember that not everyone is destined to become a manager. We don’t all have the same talents, aptitudes or aspirations. Being a manager requires know-how and professional skills, as well as interpersonal skills, certain dispositions and even an appetite. The right internal process or appropriate external diagnostics can ensure that the person identified really does have the potential to develop the skills required for the role.

Next, we need to “manage the manager”. He, too, needs to be supported throughout his assignment, with appropriate training when he takes up his new post, with recognition of his role through genuine career development, with recognition of his achievements, and with clear, relevant guidelines that will enable him to understand and calmly grasp societal changes. Beyond this support, managers have an essential role to play in re-enchanting the managerial function, by conveying a positive and enthusiastic vision of this mission, or by testifying to what they have learned and gained from exercising this function.

Finally, a suitable time frame must enable the manager to develop his or her leadership skills. Very often, managers are suffering… because they don’t actually manage, or manage only a little. Many are short of time, having been assigned this function on top of their previous responsibilities, without redefining their position or reorganizing their team. In the end, they are unable to invest fully in their new mission, devoting too much energy to administrative tasks such as coordinating telecommuting schedules. Management time must therefore be restored, up to a quarter or even a third of working time.

The role of manager is neither outdated nor doomed. It’s time to restore it to its former glory, and to make the adjustments made necessary by the profound changes underway!

[1] EDHEC NewGen Talent Centre © 2024 Sport and employability

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