Hey Wonderers! 

I couldn’t wait to tell you this one. The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who works at a major consulting firm. I won’t mention names, but just to give you an idea, it’s your typical big consulting firm – really huge, I’d say there are only 4-5 this massive. You get the picture.

He was telling me that for months now, he’s been stuck working on projects he finds incredibly boring, with clients who are nothing but polite. Due to some internal restructuring and a long list of colleagues who had resigned, he found himself working almost twice as much as usual to make up for the lack of collaborators. It’s the classic professional nightmare none of us would want to be in.

However, one thing struck me about his story and made me think, “Okay, this needs to be in the newsletter!” My friend had no intention of quitting. When he told me this, I was surprised because he’s someone who has never hesitated to change jobs. So, I started asking him a thousand questions. His response amazed me: he doesn’t want to leave because he has an “absolutely fantastic” manager.

I said, “Okay, I can understand that a good manager can make the difference between a good and a bad job, but can a manager truly be the only reason – as my friend said – to stay in a job where everything else screams ‘RUN AWAY WHILE YOU STILL CAN!’?”

We talked about it, and here’s what came up. The person in question was essentially the Holy Grail of managers. Here are her key characteristics:

  • She’s a fantastic coach: she explains to her subordinates exactly what she wants and why she wants it. She makes them part of her successes but takes responsibility for her team’s failures, which she closely follows in every project and always helps when needed.
  • At the same time, she doesn’t engage in micro-management: she clarifies the objectives, helps in the path to achieve them, but doesn’t meddle in every detail or demand to be kept in the loop on every little thing.
  • She genuinely cares about her team: she makes sure that every task assigned to her team can be an important step in their careers. She is interested in their well-being from a personal standpoint as well.
  • She has a clear strategic vision of what his team should do and how his team’s work fits into the broader company strategy.
  • She delegates tasks to subordinates but has technical competence that allows her to oversee the entire project. She delegates not because she couldn’t do those tasks but because it’s her role, and the entire team and company benefit from this task management.

I hear you – I already love her too!

Whether you’re fortunate enough not to be in a place where everything seems to be falling apart, or you still don’t have a manager and are looking for a job, I would say we can draw some interesting lessons from this list of managerial perfection.

First: stay away from managers who are only interested in themselves and their own careers. Lone wolves are not people you can learn from; they are disinterested in the growth of their subordinates and are often ready to throw you under the bus to prove themselves better than you.

Secon: find out as soon as possible if your manager is someone you can trust and confide in. All the points above require an excellent and solid relationship between the manager and the staff. I’m a big fan of maintaining the right personal distance between me and my manager, but it’s crucial to be able to speak freely with the person who evaluates us, assigns us tasks, and essentially becomes our first and most influential mentor.

There’s still a ton of things to say, but for now, I’ll stop here with a few questions for you – one that will also be bothering me in the coming weeks: Does our manager do all these things? How does this impact us and our careers? Is it perhaps time to broach the subject with our manager and see what can change?

Can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks with Working Wonders, Issue #6! 🚀

Emma

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About the author

Emma Vargas

Young professional by day, aspiring wordsmith by night. I’m Emma Vargas, your go-to gal for all things work, personal growth, professional development, and career adventures. I may not have decades of experience, but I’ve got a lifetime of curiosity.
Let’s explore the world of careers together, one candid conversation at a time! 🌟 💼 ✨ #WorkingWonders

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