top of page

A brilliant manager who was only armed with time and a notebook

I delivered more in a single year working with an amazing manager than I had in several years before that.

I tell people she’s the manager who changed my career. She’s not the only reason I’m so passionate about what I do and the importance of developing, nurturing, up-skilling, and redefining what skills managers need, but she’s the person I envisage when I think about the manager everyone should and could have.

The reason I am so passionate about it is that I know the difference a fantastic manager will have and how demotivating it can be to work with a manager who doesn’t manage well.

Here are the things that were noticeably different about her: She was a new hire, she’d never done my job, she knew what I was supposed to deliver. She didn’t know how.

Our first conversations weren’t about my tasks. They were about me.

She was clear on outputs. She set clear objectives with timescales for review and completion.

She was vague on how to get things done. She knew who the expert was in the conversation.

When she delegated, she made it clear she believed I had the skill and capability to rise to the challenge. She challenged me to stretch myself and offered support and coaching to make plans and approaches.

When things didn’t go well, she told me. Then she dedicated the time to working it through and coaching to identify needs and solutions.

She maintained confidentiality. She listened and didn’t assume what the issues or motivators were, she made it clear she understood the link between work and life.

She talked and coached behaviours and perceptions. She was honest about what people thought of me and worked with me to change that through behaviours, not task.

And more widely in the team:

The people who had habitually been underperforming were suddenly being managed. It made a difference to them and everyone else.

Our team started to work together. We shared skills and played to our individual and team strengths.

She did it all within the confines of the performance review and HR policies. She did it with only time and a notebook.

Can you say that your managers do the majority of these things consistently? Can you say they have the skills they need to implement some small changes that have a massive impact?

If you find yourself resonating with the qualities of the manager I’ve described here and want to see these skills in action within your management team, get in touch with me at and we can work together to empower your managers and unlock their potential.


bottom of page