Sean Talk @ IPP

This is a recording of a talk by Sean Orford at the IPP 2009 Conference. Enjoy!

Sean Orford, IPP Conference 2009

14. October 2011 by Mindful Managers
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What is your management style?

Management by fear

This is embraced by those managers with the least confidence an, often, ability. They lack people skills or understanding and believe that people will give of their best if they fear the consequences of not performing.

As a style, this form of management has an immediate, and apparently positive, effect that can fool the manager into believing that they have got it right. However, over time, the effects on staff of management by fear are low levels of commitment, prolonged absenteeism (after all, if you are going to be penalised for taking off two days sick leave, then you might as well take two weeks), high levels of presentee-ism, and high levels of staff turnover with all the on costs of advertising, interviews and training.

Management by friendship

It is true that that if no-one likes you, then you are not very good as a manager. But it also follows that if everyone likes you, then you are probably not a good manager either. Managers need to manage and that means making difficult decisions that affect staff. Not all decisions will suit everyone.

When a manager seeks to overcome the Peter Principle by being over-familiar with staff, they lose their authority and become open to manipulation by their friends that should be their staff.

Management by Respect

“Management by abdication” rather than “management by delegation”.

You see, for any person to function effectively, they need to have both power and responsibility. In most organisations, power and responsibility are separated. The person required to perform the task holds the responsibility, while the manager holds the power. Managers are often fearful of letting go of their power (delegation) so they hold onto it with a closed door policy that leads to their staff feeling abandoned, which becomes management by abdication.

So managers develop phrases like “just tell them to get on with it”, “failure is not an option”, “if you don’t like it, leave” and so on.

Mindful Management is all about accepting that we all have things to learn and areas in which we can grow and develop, and through understanding our self, our staff, and our customer, we can become very effective practitioners.

14. October 2011 by Mindful Managers
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A presentee is someone who is at work, but due to stress, or a debilitating condition, is unable to function effectively.   This is rather like a soldier being able to stand in the trench and hold the gun, though unable to fire it to save his life.

Organisations that adopt draconian absenteeism policies, “three strikes and you are out”, have high levels of presentees.  Staff members who fear dismissal will attend work in highly infectious and disabled states of health so that they are “in” on the roll call.  Cary Cooper’s work suggests that presentees get in the way of the organisation and reduce the effectiveness of a team and inhibit the function of management.

14. October 2011 by Mindful Managers
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Awareness of action means increased productivity

To be an effective or Mindful Manager, you need an understanding of yourself, of those that are managing you, and of those that you seek to manage.  It is only then that you can communicate with confidence and achieve your objectives.

Mindfulness is the increased awareness of the consequence of action.  The Mindful Managers will, through quiet consideration, be aware of all the potential consequences before they act.

14. October 2011 by Mindful Managers
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Are you a managers who want to get better at “it”?

The starting point for a Mindful Manager is in understanding that life is always a process of self-development both for the managers and for all that they work with.

From cradle to grave, we each continue to learn and grow and improve as people, unless we stagnate or reach a point when we believe that we have “made it”. It is then that we believe we have nothing else to learn. Those that reach this point are on arrogance overload and are really ready to hang up their guns and head for garden leave. Managers that achieve arrogance overload have ceased to learn and are effectively in a state of decline.

In mindfulness, you wake in the excitement and the promise of the new day and the new challenges ahead. If you get to the point when this is not the case, you are tarnished and will then impart your negative feelings to those that you manage.

A positive outlook may not be your natural state of mind. Many managers need to learn to find, or rediscover, their inner enthusiasm. Mindful Managers share that enthusiasm with their team.

The Mindful Managers programme is not directly concerned with the technical side of your business function. It assumes that this is your main skill base and knowledge set. This programme is interested in people and effective communication and the role of effective management.

To develop the skills of Mindful Management contact me now at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sean Orford

14. October 2011 by Mindful Managers
Categories: management | Leave a comment