Halloween Special: Death to the zombie manager

Managers across the country are becoming infected with stagnant routines and are behaving like lifeless zombies. Emma Trenier, from management consultancy Capp, gives her advice on how to slay the zombie manager and break the sluggish cycle.

by Emma Trenier
Last Updated: 09 Nov 2012

In a recent survey conducted by Forbes Reports, 65% of workers said that they would prefer a better boss rather than receiving a pay rise. But with managers stretched in all directions to deliver objectives, follow stringent processes, complete reports and deal with numerous disciplinary issues, it’s no surprise that the life has been sucked out of their daily roles.

In fact, with more responsibilities, guidelines, legislation and demands than ever before, managers are often simply trudging through the working week, with all life and spark truly deserted.

Management shouldn’t be a monotonous task, and making changes to break the lifeless spell is simple. Merely taking a more ‘human’ approach to management and using these rules for strengths motivation is the perfect way to slay the zombie and stimulate greater performance management.

How to slay the zombie:

Wake up to your own strengths

If you focus on developing your weaknesses, you will only ever be mediocre. You should instead focus on your strengths. If your strengths lie in listening, empathising and building relationships, seek ways to coach your staff more often. If your strengths lie in juggling multiple demands and making the most of your time, help staff to do this as well as you do.

Would you trust a zombie?

Get to know what motivates and energises your teams inside of work, as well as learning about their interests outside of the office. A 2009 study published by The Harvard Business Review found that more people trust a stranger than their boss. Why not change this dynamic by getting to know your staff on a personal level and finding out what motivates their further progression? This will not only motivate them, but also spark new life into your management approach.

Kill all negativity

Flourishing teams experience six times more positive interactions than negative ones. Make sure you give praise, recognise achievements, encourage good work and give positive feedback. Don’t be afraid to stretch and challenge your team, as this is a great tactic to energise and motivate.

Sharpen your people skills

Find out how to motivate yourself and your staff on a personal level, rather than just a corporate one. If someone is motivated by progression, help them to understand the changes they need to make if they’re to progress. If someone is motivated by ‘making a difference’, help them to see how the organisation’s mission will make a difference to others.

By following these simple rules to waking up the zombie, the lifeless cycle of monotonous management can be broken, re-energizing your approach to leadership and driving your team forward.

Emma Trenier is a Consulting Psychologist at Capp, a strengths-based people management consultancy.


Image: BigStockPhoto

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