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Seb Anthony

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Management responsibilities


The role of a Senior Business Manager (scientific environment) is becoming very strategic, with much international travel. He needs his team leaders (8), all project-based scientists to take on additional responsibility for operational matters, eg people issues, including development, Health & Safety, improving communications, which they currently carry out to varying degrees. More commitment and action is now necessary because of the increasing pressures on the Senior Manager. He has asked me to put together a one day work shop to encourage the team-leaders to pro-actively increase their involvement. Any ideas or suggestions?
elsa hirst

3 Responses

  1. Adair?
    You could introduce them to Adair’s model – team, task, individual and ask them to consider what happens if there is too much/too little emphasis on each area. It also might be useful to ask them to consider the things that they must be/know/do as good managers. Encourage them to recognise the strategic importance of management behaviour and responsibility. Finally, give them a task to do as a group for an hour or two. Once it has been completed, ask them to review their efforts and identify implications for them as managers of their own teams. Focus on how the things they do as manager do have an impact on the people they manage.

  2. Projecting into the future?
    I agree with Wayne that Adair is a good way to think through the key responsibilities. Another exercise I have tried in the past is to get them to imagine that it is a year from now and their teams are performing brilliantly. Firstly ask them to think about how their teams are performing now – what’s going well and what needs to change etc. The second part is to get them to imagine that it is a year into the future and the team is performing excellently. Ask them to identify what it is that the team is doing well, what has happened to achieve this and what they as managers have dne to make this happen.
    Depending on the group make up, this can be done individually or in groups and reveiwed in larger groups.

  3. Avoiding Symptomatic Solutions
    Elsa, I think there is a risk of the 8 team leaders being dumped on, rather than being delegated the tasks that the Snr Business Mngr no longer has time for.
    A proper investment in training would require something more meaningful than one day, because there are so many variables required: people issues (Team leaders need skills in mediation, arbitration, listening, emotional intelligence)
    Development (needs empathy, coaching, listening, vision)
    Improving communication (patience, insight, intuition, assertiveness).
    Commitment, as opposed to lip service and pseudo-compliance, requires much of the above, and that may be thwarted if any of the 8 TLs, with the best of intentions (or no choice), reach a level of conscious incompetence and can’t get past their own or their temm members’ frustrations.

    A one day training implies that a simple delivery will have the problem ‘sorted’, but action is a process not an event.
    I have written something on the Self Change Model and will happily send you a copy if you wish. email [email protected].
    I don’t mean to be bleak, but I meet so many people and situations where training disappoints because it doesn’t touch the heart* i.e. does not engage people in such a way that, post-training, when the pressure is on and the chips are down, people feel motivated to break free of personal habit and the organisational cultural norm.
    When we revert to habit, the training didn’t ‘work’.

    michael mallows
    *most people, let alone scientists can’t admit to having feelings at work – which contributes to ever increasing stress levels!


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