by Michael Holland     

Normal managers are everywhere: in fact, most managers are virtually the same in the way they manage and lead their teams. These normal managers follow the status quo of the culture and fight to maintain the mediocrity of entitled management, wearing their self-proclaimed status symbols of  “Back to Back Meetings” and “250 Emails a Day” as badges of honor.  Normal managers enjoy their entitled position but still feel underpaid for what they bring to the business.  Normal managers will only meet with employees when they are told to by Human Resources at performance review time.  Normal managers work hard to fit in among their peers and bosses, seeking to increase their status within the organization.

Great managers are actually weird managers.  The way they manage is so different that they don’t fit the cultural mold.  They seem a little off-beat and not in sync with the other managers.  They are constantly talking with employees about their work, giving feedback at every opportune moment.  Weird managers prefer to run meetings that are no longer than 19 minutes.  Weird managers take a full lunch, seeking rejuvenation and collegial exposure.  Weird managers seize found time as opportunities for investment in others.  Weird managers know the names of their employees… and the names of those employees’ spouses/significant others, their kids, and their hobbies.  Weird managers seem to know exactly when they need to inject some motivational juice into an employee.  Weird managers go off script during “transitional conversations”, and are the first to provide LinkedIn connections to displaced employees.

5 Ways to know if you are a Normal or Weird Manager?

  1. Normal Managers inhale their lunch in 12 minutes, sitting by themselves at their desk while reading emails and checking the weather. Weird Managers take a full hour for lunch, leaving the building to go to a favorite spot to rejuvenate over a leisurely lunch. Often, they eat with someone else whose company they enjoy.
  2. Normal Managers complain when their spot bonus rewards budget is cut.  Weird managers take money from their own pocket to reward employees and their teams for great work.
  3. Normal managers feel unproductive when some of their back-to-back meetings are cancelled for the day. Weird Managers invest cancelled meeting time with walking and talking among their employees.
  4. Normal Managers dread performance review time.  Weird Managers provide performance reviews every day.
  5. Normal Managers sit on the deck of their vacation home, sipping cocktails and telling stories about the difficult reorganization they lead their department/business function/company through.  Weird Managers sit at the table on their vacation home deck writing anonymous $3,000 checks from their personal accounts to each displaced employee, hoping that the funds will somehow help them through the difficult times.

You are paid a more than fair wage to perform the role of a manager and lead your employees.  Don’t adapt to the lower standards of culture. Instead, create a high standard that, when compared to other managers, may seem a little weird.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • After comparing the characteristics of the two kinds of managers, do you agree that the “Weird Managers” really are the good ones? Which kind of manager would you prefer to be? To have as a boss?
  • Where did you fall on the “Normal Managers versus Weird Managers” quiz? Are you comfortable with that? If you landed in the “Normal Manager” category, could the fact that you are content where you are be a sign that you need to push yourself to grow more?
  • Regardless of where you landed on the quiz, take a moment to make a plan for growth using the characteristics of the “Weird Manager”. Try to come up with other characteristics that would fit the “Weird Manager”.