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When managers talk. . .sense

Do you have that Rockstar manager?

And how others can push half of employees in MENA to quit their job...immediately.

February 26, 2013 11:40 by

The start of the year is a time for new resolutions, where we promise ourselves that we will do better over the coming year. Stepping into the office we are not surrounded by hopes and promises, but rather personal appraisals, reports, and 360-degree feedback sheets (these appraisal and career exercises seem to multiply year after year).

But what do these activities actually do for us? How has a corporate career plan helped you on your way? If there is one tangible asset that guides us along our way, it is our manager. Most of us will have daily interactions with our manager; they will oversee our work and delegate tasks and responsibilities. For the fortunate few, a manager can be a lot more. A good manager becomes a mentor, who takes the time and effort to train staff, to guide them, and to ensure that his or her team constantly improves and develops.

I was fortunate to have one such manager, back in 2004 when I worked full-time as a journalist. A gentleman called Stuart Wilson was my boss, and he’d painstakingly take every single article, news piece and review I wrote and edit the piece. He’d scribble on the piece of paper in red ink – and on some days I’d see more red than black. While I did sometimes feel frustrated and wanted more freedom, I benefited immensely from my manager’s experience and his constant feedback. As a good manager, Stuart realised that everyone in the team would also benefit from me doing my job better. And I’ll always be grateful for how he led me and made me a better journalist.

Of course, there’s also bad management. There’s people who enjoy the office politics, who want to focus on themselves and whom become resentful of those in the team who show passion, talent and ability. I’ve experienced both management styles. And I’m sure I am not alone; a recent study by online job site revealed that over half of the respondents wanted to leave their job immediately. While the overall reason suggested seemed to be money, I’m sure that many will have had issues with their bosses.

On a personal level, having lived through the good and the bad, the question I ask myself is would I trade salary and benefits for a good manager and leadership? More and more I am finding myself answering yes to that question. I want a manager who will listen, who will respect others, who will invest in the team and who will lead by example. There’s no substitute for leadership, and just as bad management can destroy a career, good leadership can unearth exceptional talent in the office.

Let me ask you to do one thing as you’re reading this. Ask yourself, what do you give to your company and your manager and what do you get back? Where do you want to be in your career in five years’ time and will you get there in your current professional setting. My own piece of advice to you is if you do find that managerial rock star, then don’t let go of them. Follow the leader and you will be rewarded both personally and professionally.


A British national with Arabic roots, Alex has spent ten years in the Gulf and has lived in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Alex lost his heart to journalism years ago but he has worked with a range of multinational companies in the technology, energy and financial sector to develop their marketing and communications approach to the region. He’s currently based in Dubai, but can often be found at Dubai International Airport flying back home to Bahrain or some other (hopefully exotic) destination.

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