The Ideal Manager

“A good manager is best when people barely know that he exists. Not so good when people obey and acclaim him. Worse when they despise him.”

— Lao-Tzu

The Ideal Manager

by Claire Raines

1. “Believing in employees.

This means the manager is confident in an employee’s ability to succeed. It means leaving micromanaging behind and allowing people the autonomy they want to get the job done. It means letting people know that they are valued professionals.

2. Helping employees achieve balance.

People who feel they have some flexibility in where, how, and when they work are more satisfied with their jobs. Employees want to know that their manager is responsive to their personal needs, their outside interests, and the family demands that arise from time to time.

3. Developing career plans with employees.

It’s about helping people figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Today’s manager needs the skills of a career counselor – one who helps individuals to discover their talents, skills, assets, preferences, motivations, and professional goals.

4. Adapting to differences.

The main challenge for managers is to demonstrate a strong belief in employees, help them achieve balance, and develop career plans with them – without favoring some employees over others, and without sacrificing business goals. This requires flexibility, one of the most important assets of today’s successful managers. By knowing your people as individuals and understanding what their needs and preferences are, you can adapt policies, schedules and work procedures to their diverse needs – demonstrating to them that you believe in them and value the work they’re doing (Raines, 2003, p. 96- 98).”

Reference: Raines, C. (2003). Connecting generations: the sourcebook for a new workplace. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications.

Reprinted with permission from the OSU Leadership Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 292-3114,

Coaching Call to Action

A number of my clients are in the middle of the performance review process. What if this year you took Ms. Raines suggestions? Would this bring a different kind of energy to your assessment? To your meeting with the employee? What could you create together?