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Management – What’s in a word? by Kate Hargreaves

Welcome to the sixth guest post in this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the sharing of perspectives in response to the statement that “There is no such thing as Management”. Today’s post comes from Kate Hargreaves (@k8clearthinker).

Sharing her own experiences,  I really like Kate’s thinking on the “human P’s”. I hope that you enjoy her post!

Management – What’s in a word?


…..say it through gritted teeth, with a hint of hysteria and it sounds a bit like ‘coping’. But only just. A case of treading water like mad and only just keeping everything from going under. It’s not a status that fills me with confidence that things will be OK, or that they will change. At best, with a fair wind, they might just about stay the same. At worst, things will get much, much worse.

I’m not being totally balanced though……

‘Management’ isn’t always of the slightly frazzled, gritted teeth variety. It can also be serene, calm, cool and collected

“I’m managing fine, thank you for asking.”

There’s nothing to see here, move along and carry on with your day. We’re happy to continue with our plans and we don’t need any interference thanks.

What about the version of ‘Management’ that comes with a big sigh? Ahhhhhh!

“I’m resigned to my lot in life. It’s where I’ve ended up and there is nothing that can be done. So I’ll manage.”

For that we can read…… struggle along, be resentful of most things, feeling hard done to and a bit of a victim, helpless and powerless to make anything happen.

There is a fourth brand of ‘Management’.

I’m proud to say that I’ve been there, done that, and still have the T-Shirt, and the scars, to prove it!

The Management I enjoyed was the ‘got it all going on’ type of management. It was challenging. It relied on me to think well and have a plan. I moved everyone and everything along in the right direction. Sometimes I deviated from the original plan, but I always stayed true to the direction.

In spite of the plan, it was also reactive, fast-paced, I had to rely on my wits and my team. Sometime we got by on a wing and a prayer, and it was a lot of fun.

Things are heading for trouble when Management is accompanied by a mind-set that is expressed in the words, “I’m just a manager,” said in a tone that completely undermines the importance of the role.

When someone thinks they’re ‘just a manager’ it obscures their real purpose. It’s a mind-set that closes down options for growth and development, stifles creativity and reduces people to being regarded as nothing more than numbers. It’s often accompanied by a blind faith that process will triumph and people will conform. And in my experience, that’s rarely the case.

‘Management’ isn’t a dirty word. Management is …..

The thing that keeps the wheels going round and the lights on.

It’s a state of being that’s full of purpose, process and practicality.

But it also needs some more human P’s to bring it to life. People. Passion. Persuasion. Principles. Personality.

Management is not Leadership’s poor relation. Great managers do lead. They know that where people are involved leadership isn’t a question of choice, it’s a responsibility that they take seriously. Really great managers know that when they lead they create a legacy that exists long after their tenure is over.


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