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The Manager – more than just “the boss”

150 150 Matthew Doig
How many of us can recall our first experience with that person who was going to make such a difference to our professional lives – our boss.
I recall my first boss very well. Upon introduction, he assured me that the work I would be doing for him was confusing but not hard. When I pressed him on what I was to do to stop being confused, he said that if I kept out of people’s way everything would fall into place. He was right; I was already a little confused. Since my boss was apparently too busy to give me anything to do, he dreamt up the bright idea of giving me a 200-page instruction manual to read.
Armed with this exciting document, I commenced my working career sitting at a desk, sipping hot chocolates from a conveniently located machine and avoiding the harsh stares from the boss who I later discovered was concerned that I didn’t seem to be “enjoying” my work. Luckily for me this only lasted a fortnight before the boss decided he was not too busy to show me something a little bit more interesting.  Needless to say, after this introduction, I had some firm opinions about my boss.
Thinking back now it all seems so comical, and yet at the time it was far from funny. How often have you heard work mates engaged in discussion over the relative merits of their boss? A lot of criticism stems from things they have done, or more often, things they have not done. Being a Manager can involve a great feeling of Deja vu, and the reason is simple. You have experienced it all before; but from the other side. The question (which I often ask myself) is, are you still making the same mistakes your boss made years ago? One thing I can assure you of though is that I have sworn myself off instruction manuals for life!!!
Over the last few years my work as a consultant has introduced me to wide range of people employed within the Forest Industries.  People I talk to find this story amusing, but are also quick to acknowledge that this sort of thing still happens. Why is this the case?
Being a Manager means all sorts of things, but most of all, it means accepting the roles and the responsibilities that go with the job. I have witnessed a number of people who, after being promoted to a Management position have reacted with surprise when their newly acquired staff expect them to actually help them out and give guidance. Indeed, one former colleague expressed a wish that they would all just go away and leave her in peace!
If you are already supervising staff in the Forest Industries, ask yourself; are you really accepting all the roles and responsibilities that go with the job? Guiding, mentoring and developing your subordinates is one of the most important.
Matthew Doig
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