You are here

Monthly Insights

Do You Like to be Managed?

October 11, 2017
Stuart Hardy Monthly Insights

In today’s rapidly transforming business world Stuart Hardy asks whether ‘management’ is just an excuse for poor ‘leadership’.

If you asked most people at work if they would rather be led or managed, the answer is clear — not many people like the notion of being ‘managed’. It implies a sense of being somehow molded or processed to conform to certain behaviors, and why would anyone like that? Leadership, on the other hand, implies assisting people on journeys of various forms of accomplishment, personal or business, which is a much more attractive proposition.

I believe ‘management’ and the creation of ‘managers’ is a thing of the past, and no longer compatible with today’s world of transformation, innovation or disruption.  This move, at its core is driven by consumers, who now more than ever want to be led on new exciting disruptive journeys. They no longer want to be ‘managed’ through inside-out, go-to market approaches to buy products and services. 

The automotive industry is a great example. The old ‘chicken-run’, as it was known, of hard pressure car-selling in the dealerships was a process designed to manage peoples’ buying habits, into getting the deal on the day. “I’ll just check with the manager – if we can do that price for you today”.

In the modern world of the pre-purchase mindset where internet savvy, well-informed buyers are now visiting one dealership, rather than eight, because their mind has already been made up. The only thing an automotive manufacturer can hope to do is lead its potential customer on value-based journeys through omni-channel contact points. These will ultimately bring them to the dealership door where their mind is made up and the salesman is virtually a cashier.

Likewise, in a successful, agile business there is no more status quo to ‘manage’. There are no more environments for optimizing performance for the now. Because in six months’ time, the context will be different. In fact, traditional management may hold you back and limit agility.

So, let’s get rid of all those manager titles, and lead colleagues, businesses and consumers to new and exciting futures.


About the author

Stuart Hardy describes himself as a ‘Human Engineer’, and is Director of Executive Education at the Berlin School. His primary focus is to ensure that the latest thinking and innovations from high performance business are integrated into Berlin School’s creative development programs. Writing from his home in Staffordshire or during a twelve-hour flight to Brazil, Stuart brings us his monthly reflections on leading teams, practicing innovation, and generating value in the changing world of creative business.


Stuart Hardy

Director of Executive Education
Berlin School of Creative Leadership
  +49 (0)30 88 49 80 85