This is a question that I have been thinking about for the past five years since I first started managing a team.
In the past I have been told that I am a little too familiar with my team and to be fair I probably am but instead of trying to make an allowance for it I actually think it is contributing to our success as an agency and is being verified in part by another world beating eNPS score (humble brag) during lockdown.
Now I know that this manager mate moniker conjures up images of David Brent & Michael Scott, too scared to make the tough decisions because they don’t want to be disliked. However, I believe that a good manager is incredibly similar if not the same, as a good friend.
So how would I define a good friend?
Firstly, you can tell them bad news and they will listen, they will understand your intentions and what you tried to achieve. They will not call you stupid or belittle you in anyway and they will not derail the conversation to talk about themselves. You can also tell them good news and they will be the first to celebrate with you. They will let you know how happy they are for you and again not make it about themselves or be quick to tell you about a thing they did or even someone they knew who did that was bigger, better than your good news.
So, we find ourselves in the best possible place when we are surrounded by friends who do not vilify us for our mistakes and are the first people that want to celebrate with us when we win. Friends, who above anything strive for a relationship that results in collective happiness and development for all.
Managers is this sounding familiar?! I certainly hope so.
So as a good friend what should we do if one of our mates are doubting themselves? We motivate them, we make them feel 10 foot tall and if they are nervous about a task in hand, be it a test an appointment or even a date, we simply comfort them, we accompany them, we do it alongside them helping our friends with their confidence whilst demonstrating that they’ve got this.
I would therefore argue that if you can be a good friend you can be a great manager.