Management Skills: Helping your managers embrace their right to manage

management skills

Management Skills: Embracing our management rights

So frequently the managers I work with seem to feel the need to gain permission to undertake probably the most important part of their role – managing their staff’s performance. They clearly know there are expectations of them as managers but they don’t feel they have somehow earned the right to manage. Here’s an example:

“I don’t feel managing performance is appropriate for my staff, some of them are more experienced than I am – who am I to say what good performance in their job looks like?”

Employees’ rights at work are a well debated and largely well understood concept. Most managers have some understanding of the organisation’s legal duties with regard to the care of employees. And rightly so. Many managers, however, spend little time thinking about their rights as managers of people’s performance. To understand our management rights is a key management skill. Here are some of the rights I believe managers must have:


• To explain and agree standards of performance for the job

• To expect their staff to consistently meet the agreed standards

• To monitor performance against the standards

• To give focused specific feedback on performance – the positive and less positive aspects

• To identify areas of under performance and to address those areas of under performance with their staff member

• To expect the staff member to take agreed actions to improve areas of under performance.

I’m guessing you can think of more?

Can I bring your attention to the word ‘agree’ in the above statements? I’m not suggesting here that managers have the right to coerce or bully good performance out of their staff. That would be daft. I am suggesting that managers have the right to explain clearly and directly their expectations of their staff and to have positive assumptions about their staff’s willingness to perform to a high standard.

And The Practical Application?

You could:

• Open a conversation with the managers in your business around the issue of the right to manage – what they perceive to be their rights and identifying any barriers to asserting those rights

• Agree what rights the managers your business have and what asserting those rights would look like in practice

• Develop a ‘managers rights’ charter

• Use the concept of the managers’ rights in coaching sessions with managers who appear reluctant to manage. Explore with them any management skills they need to develop in order to claim their management rights

I’ve introduced the concept of ‘management rights’ to many managers and many of those managers have told me that understanding this concept has had a profound impact on their confidence. If we don’t believe we have the right to do anything, are we ever going to do it consistently and well?

Joan Henshaw is the author and presenter of the video management skills training series ‘The 10 Minute Management Toolkit’ – the flexible, cost effective and time effective way to help managers learn how to motivate their staff to high performance. Want to know more about how managers can learnthe management skills of motivating their staff to high performance? Find video details and how to watch sample sessions HERE




Leave a Reply