A lot of my clients are organisations that have encountered a lot of change over the last few years – with external factors such as the pandemic and an economic squeeze, or as a result of strategic shifts within the business, re-organisations etc.

What this always means is that people are moved into different teams and their managers inherit a new tribe who they have to look after, nurture, upskill, integrate and ultimately create an environment in which they can succeed. Therefore, there is a lot of pressure put upon those managers as well as the new team members.

And often, those managers were reluctant people managers in the first place. They say to me that they would rather just get on with their technical specialism and not have to deal with the flux and uncertainty created by pesky people with their pesky inconsistencies.

Interestingly though, these ‘reluctant managers’ often produce the best results. Because they are working against their preference they need to think things through more – often with a healthier and more open mind – which leads to conscious competence, never quite believing they are any good at this ‘soft, people lark’.

Also, because they don’t particularly covet the limelight, a lot of these inheritors of people are authentically in service of others and willingly give the plaudits to their team.

So, if you are looking for your next excellent people manager, don’t forget to consider those who haven’t put their hand up – you may just unearth a gem.

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