Becoming a manager – 3 years +

So my notes went on:

  1. Growth – 3 years +
  1. Teamship
  2. Secretaries
  3. Shared work – case discussion
  4. Rivalry and conflict conscious and open to discussion
  5. Priorities and objective setting – data
  6. Change – facilitating the new – goodbyes
  7. Role of management – responsible for process and boundaries
  8. Place of unconscious
  9. Mobilising rage

I might now summarise the key points rather differently and so will discuss some of the themes above within other posts in due course, but not as an organised list.

It took until about three years into my job as a manager, to feel secure and to feel that I need no longer be simply preoccupied with survival. The next few years were amongst the most satisfying years in my career, working with a team who worked well together and enjoyed the experience. There was a sort of idealisation still at work within me that took a little while to break down, and that was the dream of the perfect team, the dream that the job was about building a team that would grow and develop together. Reality has the habit of bringing one down to earth! The truth is that people develop in their own ways not according to some fantasy of the manager – they therefore leave for other jobs for example and you have to start at the beginning with a new member of staff who has to get through the same early learning phases of negotiating a working relationship with you. You cannot always choose your new staff, so you find yourself allocated staff who are problematic and far from ideal.

Worse, you learn that even staff you do choose are not always what you imagined they would be and you discover how easy it is to make mistakes in selecting staff. You also have to work with agency policies about staff selection that raise as many problems in some cases as they resolve.

I will come to issues such as this through a number of ‘essays’ that I wrote at various times, which whilst not comprehensive, they will reflect I think the struggles between the emotional transactional aspects of management, and the objective process and policy requirements, between theory and practice. This struggle seems to me at the heart of good management.

This is not as I say, a management text book but neither is it an autobiographical ramble. I will try and rise to the challenge of articulating the management theory I believe I internalised, and drew on as I moved into managerial roles. It will be a brief summary because I am trying not to write an academic dissertation on management theory but to focus on how such material was expressed in the ‘story’ of my working life.

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