Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 19 September 2011

Elbow room? Do as you would be done by

I spend a lot of time working with managers on their coaching skills and encouraging them to take a coaching approach to their leadership, and have become increasingly fascinated by resistances to coaching in managers. While pretty much every manager I meet want lee way and personal discretion in how they operate .. however... this doesn't necessarily extend to their subordinates. "They just want to be told ..none of this dancing around the handbags asking questions" they report emphatically.

Where is reality in all of this? Do subordinates only want to be told or do managers enjoy telling too much? I know there are times when I need and welcome direction however someone being directive (ie overly controlling) will generally get my hackles up. Mostly I want space to think and act for my self and yes I want someone to consult with just in case my ideas are flawed or too limited. I also know that different people have different needs for elbow room - some folks seem to need acres of personal discretion while others are anxious with anything less than close marking

Part of the issue I think is that it much easier to think about leadership in binary terms - I tell or I coach, I give direction or I consult. What is far tougher ... but vital...is to be choiceful in approach to people management. One style does not fit all situations and reading the situation to make an informed choice of what is required is skill that can be developed.
(Thanks to the work of Emery, Trist et al)

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