One of the most important things that managers need to be able to say (Blog #27)

Manager needing help


Sounds simple, right?

But it would absolutely blow your mind as to how some managers have just stuffed up completely because of their inability to recognise the need to say these three simple words – “I need help!”

Because of their belief that as managers they can’t say these words. As what kind of manager would they be if they needed help? (Try the human kind)

Just so you can get a good understanding of what I’m talking about, here’s just one example for you.

A manager that I had at one of my past jobs was a nice manager.

My dealings with her were pleasant and polite. Nothing of any real significance was ever discussed. The relationship was that of two acquaintances that had almost nothing to do with each other. Thus, keeping it pleasant and polite was easy.

Her management style, however, paralysed a whole marketing team. When I say paralysed, I mean it was like we were stuck in time and no one was ever, and I mean ever, going to move forward, under her management anyway.

Although, I could write multiple blog posts on what her management style lacked and what it did to us as a team, today I want to talk about what it did to her.

For someone that was our team leader I don’t know how much more separated we could’ve been.

You could say she kind of knew what we were doing through all the sign offs that went her way, but we knew nothing of what she was doing.

I mean you heard rumors. Like she is working on something big, but that was about it.

All you knew is that she was extremely busy. Too busy for you and too busy for the team.

But here she was with the biggest marketing projects that our company had going on and she alone was the only person in our team that was dealing with them. It was all treated as top secret stuff. We weren’t even allowed to know about it.

And there I was a member of her team working on the most boring marketing jobs that could exist on the planet, making minimal impact if any. And it wasn’t just me that felt this way. It felt like half the team was dying of boredom from the most mundane tasks that could exist.

If it wasn’t bad enough that she took it upon herself to do all the work that had any kind of significance, when she did reach out for a bit of help it was to an external marketing agency, not her team.

I couldn’t believe it.

How pathetic did she think we were?

I’d never felt more insignificant in my whole career. It was humiliating.

We’d sit back as nobodies as we watched our team leader endlessly go from one meeting to another for these big jobs she was working on.

Her superiority was also made known through the exclusive marketing seminars she got to go to, all the way overseas might I add.

Was I envious?

Of course I was!

Anyone with an ounce of ambition would be.

My whole time there I never went to any marketing seminars and any requests I made about training were turned down. And I never witnessed anyone from my team go to any marketing seminars either.

(Yep, they were really interested in our development, NOT!)

When our team manager came back from overseas, I was dying to hear something exciting as I was scared I would actually fall asleep at my desk from boredom.

She told us how amazing it was and how she got heaps of info and she was going to share it all with us in detail.

It never happened.

All we got was a 10-minute overview and that was it. With some news that she was working on putting it all to practice soon. Another big project she was working on.

A few weeks later, I went on maternity leave and after having my baby I caught up with some work colleagues about 6 months after. At the catch up I was told that our team manager had been removed from the company to put it nicely.

It appears that the pressure had finally got to her, which resulted in her initially having some time off due to stress issues and then being removed from her job altogether.

And is it surprising?

Anything that was remotely significant she kept to herself to deal with.

And, after all those meetings and seminars and all the secrecy, I never saw anything come out of it. Those big things she was working on never came to fruition.

I never noticed any changes.

Now, had she been more transparent and involved her team, trained her team, allocated to her team, she could’ve had more time to do what her job was to do. To manage her people. To develop her people. To take care of the people in her charge. Not kill herself by taking on board all the work by herself.

What’s the point of having a team if you’re going to do that?

On top of that, here you had a company that invested in this one person more than the whole team combined and at the end of the day for nothing. I wonder what happened to all the information she got from the overseas seminars?

From what I could see nothing!

Blog Tip #27: One of the most vulnerable things that a leader needs to be able to say is “I need help”. Never ignore what your gut is telling you. An excellent book that I’m reading at the moment regarding this topic is Keith Ferrazzi’s “Who’s got your back”. He gives his own account of how he fell into a very similar trap and what he learnt from it. Definitely a must read!

What did you think of this week’s blog post? Have you ever witnessed or experienced anything similar?

Tell me by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

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See you next week.


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