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Feverishly Active or Just Busy

By david malone, Sep 26 2013 11:58PM

Everyone is flat out these days. So much so, that we continually hear the catch phrase ‘don’t think about it, just get it done’! And a lot of the time that is really good advice. I’m just not sure that holds for our senior managers.

There are so many management styles of course. One that worries me a little and seems to be on the rise is the ‘feverishly active’ manager. That person who is happy to be told ‘what to do’, who is adept in creating work all around them, and despite all that effort, never really seems to move the organisation forward.

They see themselves as specialists in getting done whatever they are asked to do. At one level, that is a fantastic attribute. In routine roles, their energy and commitment can turn things around very quickly. Even in less routine roles, their disinterest in the challenges and problems and their desire just to deliver on the request can be very useful.

And of course, successful management teams need diversity in thinking, style and strategy.

But senior managers are also the builders within the organisation. In 2013, any business still wedded to how it did things in 2008 is increasingly struggling against the continuous wave of change. Part of the Senior Managers job is to continually build the business of tomorrow, block by block, while meeting the expectations of today. Wrapped up in that is cost control, process improvement, innovation, product development, skills acquisition, team building and returns just to name a few examples.

Good managers get the need to hit today’s metrics, while digging deeply into the needs and pressures of customers, citizens, the market and competitors in 5 or 10 years time. They are busy in my view, not just ‘feverishly active’!

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