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The Best Leaders in the World Are “Quiet Managers”

by | Oct 3, 2022 | Startups

Managers are dead. Quiet managers are taking over.

It’s a new class of leaders made popular by LinkedIn guru Adam Broda. The whole philosophy is counter-intuitive and shakes up everything we’ve always known about leading humans to greatness.

Quiet managers don’t care what time employees start work

Performance work has existed for too long.

In my last job we had to show up at the office so senior bosses could see us “on the floor.” They’d sit in their glass fishbowl offices and look out at us.

“Scumbags” they’d mutter to themselves.

The peasants like me sat in our office chairs and did the real work that made money. They sat around and fondled each other’s business strategies about nothing.

If I came in after 9 am a colleague would say “careful, it’s not a good look Timbo. They have to see us to believe us.”

In one job I had to leave early because a close relative had hours to live. The bosses made me feel guilty.

The time you left work determined your next promotion.

A new way of thinking:

Quiet managers don’t care when you finish work. They trust you to get the job you’re paid to do done. They measure results and forget up timesheets.

Quiet managers don’t make people feel guilty for taking time off

When a man or woman at work announced they were having a kid, it should have been a celebration. The type you rent a glitter cannon for.

Not where I worked.

When you told colleagues you were having a baby it was like being infected with HIV. Nobody wanted to come near you. They knew what was about to happen.

Obviously, you’d take time off to care for your newborn. That meant your focus on work would drop off. You’d likely be away for a long time so you could no longer help them with whatever bullsh*t work goals they had.

Becoming a parent made many of my co-workers feel guilty. Some would even answer phone calls on the day of their child’s birth.

Heroin addiction looked harmless in comparison.

I still remember when I took time off to spend the final days with a loved one before they died. My boss made me feel like garbage.

“Ohhh take all the time you need …

“Ummm, actually, I’m going to need you to come to this meeting at 5:30 with this difficult client.”

Me: “But I’ve gotta go to the hospital like I told you.”

“It’ll be quick.”

The meeting finished 2 hours later. I got to the hospital right before my family member passed away (only just).

A new way of thinking:

Quiet managers understand intrinsic motivation.

They know if you have to be somewhere for family reasons then you won’t be motivated to work properly. So they’re best off to let you take time off so you come back to work re-energized.

Often you work even harder with this sort of autonomy.

Quiet managers don’t have back-to-back meetings that could’ve been emails

The reason old school leaders in unironed suits hold so many meetings is because of trust issues.

They’re insecure and deathly afraid that if they don’t micro-manage the hell out of every action, they’ll lose their precious job. So everyone has to sit in endless meetings to please them and their masters.

But most meetings could have been an email. There’s work that needs to get done, so assign it to the right people and let’s get to work.

A new way of thinking:

The most effective meetings never happen and occur via email with a group of colleagues who trust each other to execute.

Quiet managers create the environment for trust to thrive.

The number of meetings decreases and the productivity increases. There’s time to do the real work so employees don’t need to stay back late to make up for all the time lost thanks to meetings.

Good ideas rarely come in meetings. They come in the shower, in the car, or while going for a walk. Companies should recognize this and give employees more time to think idly.— The Motley Fool

Quiet managers don’t tell them what hours to work

Fixed work times are for assembly-line factory workers.

Most standard jobs don’t need fixed work hours. Whether you start work at 8 am or 9 am isn’t going to make or break the global supply chain.

If you have a family then the morning is a sacred time when you get kids (if you have them) to wake up and go to school. Or you spend time preparing your partner’s lunch so they don’t start passive-aggressive arguments with strangers due to hunger. Makes sense.

Yet old school leaders are obsessed with 9–5 work schedules.

There’s no flexibility in work hours because that’s what they grew up with, so everyone has to suffer the same peril as them.

A new way of thinking:

Quiet managers don’t give a crap when you start or finish work. They don’t even care how many hours you work. If all the work gets done in 4 hours then they celebrate with you and expect you to go out and have a good time.

Quiet managers trust people to deliver results

The reason many workplaces have so many internal processes wrapped in layers of red tape is because of a lack of trust.

The number of approvals I had to get last year for one $4 latte was ridiculous. It wasn’t because of the cost. No. Monkeys wanted to hand out laughable approvals to feel powerful.

I could be trusted with millions of dollars of customer revenue and access to people’s bank accounts … but a $4 latte was pushing the envelope. There were risks, I got told.

One $4 latte could turn into two.

Just like magic my latte addiction could have started a global health crisis. Pretty soon everyone could be drinking $4 lattes.

Wait, that already happens. Oopsie.

Micro-managers thrive in this common workplace environment. They want email updates and pipeline reviews. The CRM is the noose around your neck. If you don’t spend enough time in there it’ll choke you to death.

If you do spend enough time in there, your hubby or wifey will choke you to death for coming home late every night. You can’t win.

A new way of thinking:

Quiet managers trust the job will be done. With so many people working from home, they ask “is the work getting done?” If the answer is yes then performance is in check.

They assume the work will be done until proven otherwise. And if the work isn’t getting done they find out why and send the rest of the team into help the person who’s drowning.

Empathy and teamwork build the new type of business empire.

Bringing it all together

The silent epidemic of micro-managers do the opposite of these things.

They lead with structure and want people to look up to them and be afraid when their “boss” emails them. Silly. Stay clear.

Quiet managers are becoming a highly valuable resource and getting unfair career advantages as a result. Why?

Quiet managers prevent quiet quitting.

Work for one. Or become one.

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