I witnessed something awful at a meeting this week. Something that every manager, whether you’re a man or woman, should never do. Please read on.
In a meeting, a group of senior managers share their ideas for a new campaign. I watch a newer, more inexperienced young lady take it all in, listen intently then at the end of the meeting, pluck up the courage to contribute
Before she could finish her sentence, her manager cuts her off half way and tells her why the question isn’t relevant. I was so shocked I nearly fell off my chair.
Impressively, she pushes on and makes a different suggestion (go girl!). The manager tells her again why the question is irrelevant and shuts her down. That well and truly silenced her.
I’m no expert, but I know that if that happened to me, I might never open my mouth at a meeting again.
My favourite example of a brilliant manager and leader is Caesar in Planet of the Apes – OK so he’s not real, and he is a chimp, but stay with me!
Throughout the Planet of the Apes re-boot trilogy, he inspires the trust, support and loyalty of hundreds of fellow apes. Not once does he ever give them an order – he educates and inspires them to know the right path and is supportive when mistakes are made, including by his own children.
You would never catch Ceasar interrupting someone at an All-Hands meeting, let alone telling them that their ideas were rubbish.
He is patient and trusting. Like any good leader, he has a solid support network, in particular an Orang-utan called Maurice.
I’m not kidding when I recommend that aspiring leaders and managers should watch and learn. Why not make a team-building day out of it?
I also recommend attending Professor Elisbath Kelan’s keynote talk on The Role of Male Middle Managers in Inclusive Leadership at our conference in October. Thanks for listening.