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Management is not boring

I was on a corporate senior management team building event when a close colleague on an opposing team deliberately sabotaged the trust exercise. We couldn’t believe it . Why did he do it and why did his team go along with it?
I was surprised to read in the Harvard Business Review  (HBR) and other professional journals that management was boring and in the opinion of the academics was better for that. The argument was that people including managers sort excitement and desired to be heroes and so tended to make things more,”interesting” even create problems that they can then be seen to solve. A boring manager did not. Therefore boring managers made the best managers.
At first I dismissed the idea as preposterous and then I thought of the occasions where managers had seemed to make things more complicated than they needed to be, where they had acted provocatively for no apparent reason, where everything had been running smoothly until a senior manager intervened, where we were told by a new Chief Executive that things needed fixing that we didn’t even know were broken, where some extravagant expenditure on a vanity project was sanctioned at the beginning of the financial year only for a budget crisis to be declared half way through the year. I thought most organisations suffered from poor management but maybe it was bored managers!
That bad management may in part be due to bored managers offers an explanation for some management behaviour but it does not follow that those who are content to be bored make the best managers. In my experience there are plenty of challenges to keep managers interested and tested without the need to create problems. F or example recruiting the right people, getting the best out of people , making everyone feel included , retaining valued people whilst helping them fulfil their potential, developing insight into your own behaviour as a manager and how it effects others, learning to be more compassionate, all this whilst balancing your budget, hitting performance targets and managing change. Those who are bored may be so because they choose to avoid these challenges as too much like hard work. Management is not boring and the best managers are not bored.

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