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How To Be A Better Manager

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How To Be A Better Manager

Every week I share an idea or thoughts about how to do something like how to be a better manager. Well, this week it's the opposite, we're going to look at something that we definitely should not do.

But if you avoid doing it you will automatically know how to be a better manager! I hope it gives you pause for thought - either about yourself or those around you.

I'm coaching a few different leadership teams at the moment - all over the country and all over Zoom - and one of the perennial challenges is ensuring that leaders delegate enough. 

There are myriad reasons why but I’ll write about that another time. Today it’s simply enough to state that effective delegation is crucial and that most leaders aren’t doing enough of it.

Something In The Way

There are loads of reasons why we don’t delegate enough. There are plenty of obstacles in our way. Some of the obstacles are organisational. Some are due to processes we can’t change. Some are due to a lack of time. 

But many of the obstacles are just in our heads. It could be that your ego won’t let you stop doing something you enjoy doing and get recognition for. I’ll write about this another time. (Another another time!)

Delegation isn’t simply giving away the jobs that you don’t want to do. That’s just clearing your own desk of things you don’t like. 

Technically we might call that delegation but in my book it is classed as ‘tasking’. You’ve given somebody something to do and that is much less than true ‘delegation’. Tasking isn't going to help you learn how to be a better manager.

Anyway, effective delegation is important and a key part of effective delegation is how you then manage and monitor progress.

You Gotta Make It Happen

This still needs to happen. You’ve delegated the job, and you may have empowered staff with authority and creative control, but ultimately the buck still stops with you. 

You’re responsible and so the delegated task still needs to be managed. There are lots of ways you can manage and monitor and I’ll write about those another time. (Ahem, I know.)

Plenty of them will work to different degrees depending on the task, the capability of who you give it to etc but there is one style that I want to draw attention to today.


Seagull Management. This is one style that is terrible and that you must avoid doing at all costs. The problem is that many of us are guilty of Seagull Management at different times. 

Hopefully by bringing it to your attention today you’ll be more aware of it and avoid it completely. 

If you’re not a manager it may well be useful to consider if you’re a victim of Seagull Management, and if so can you point it out to your boss!

So what is it?

Seagull management is when the boss comes flapping in, squawks at everybody, craps all over the staff, and flies away again, leaving a load of mess and chaos behind them. We’ve all had that happen to us, right?

The boss actually thinks they’re doing a good job and are keeping staff on their toes. Hmmm.

Technically it is monitoring but they are offering no support and end up simply lowering morale.

This is the boss who waltzes in, takes a look at what you’re doing and says “That’s not very good. You’ll need to pull your socks up.” Then they walk out again.

Definitely, definitely don't adopt this style of management!

Barbarism Begins At Home

And it’s not just in the workplace either. I don’t have any staff but as a dad I sometimes catch myself doing Seagull Management. Usually on a random accidental bedroom inspection.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. So if you do recognise that you’re guilty of it, that’s a good first step. You’ve identified there is a problem.

The next step is deciding how to stop doing it and then what you’re going to do instead. There are lots of other ways available. Perhaps I’ll write about some of them another time :)

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