Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 8

Being a "Good Enough" Manager

Nobody's perfect, so why try to be? The author of a new leadership book writes that managers should strive to be simply "good enough."

Aaron J. Nurick, professor of management and psychology at Bentley University, is the author of The Good Enough Manager: The Making of a GEM, to be published next month. He recently made the case for being "good enough" in a blog post for the Harvard Business Review.

"We contrast the [good enough manager] with the ‘not good enough' manager who lacks presence and engagement," Nunrick writes. "On the other hand, we have the über manager—the perfectionist who creates an atmosphere where compliant employees are pressured to meet established goals, but keep their heads down and offer few new ideas. The [good enough manager] is the manager who can find the balance between being hands-off and handling everything themselves."

Nunrick analyzed the responses of more than 1,000 business professionals who were asked to describe their best and worst managers. The best were described as "mentors and teachers, relationship builders, and models of integrity for their employees and co-workers." The worst were described as "micromanagers who stifled creativity."

Nunrick offers the following advice for those looking to become a good enough manager:

  • Embrace the role of teacher and mentor.
  • Get to know your employees as individuals.
  • Help employees find strengths they may not immediately see.
  • Allow employees the freedom to fail and learn from mistakes.

This article is from the Aug. 29, 2011 issue.

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