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Sitting in the cabin versus being 'on the floor'

Posted Oct 19 2012 8:30pm
I have been a manager for the last many years apart from the time I spent at Grene. I have seen a lot of managers in the software field and outside it and differing styles of management.

Some managers I know are very aloof. They believe in sitting in their cabin, calling for updates, calling for meetings, getting things done. Their team members are more in awe of them, have a lot of respect and there is often at least a small element of fear.

On the other hand are the hands-on guys. They believe in being a part of the team. They believe in actually being 'on the floor'. When it comes to software, they will actually take up a bit of the coding to understand where the problems actually lie, what the problems on the ground are. Their team members are more comfortable with them, they are usually at-ease when they are around and there is no fear.

I am not saying which is right or wrong. Both have their positives and negatives. One thing which I am fairly certain is that most managers have one of these traits built-in. It has a lot to do with the personality. You can't learn one or the other. You are one or the other.

Being on the floor allows the manager to get insights that are otherwise impossible to get. Real issues come out much sooner and can be addressed immediately rather than waiting for reticent team members to come out with them.

On the other hand, a small element of fear is often needed to get people to put in a little extra effort and get things done.

Personally, I tend to like the 'on the floor' approach more.
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