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The three kinds of bosses

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

You are a manager. You also have a manager, who likely also has a manager. And the people you manage may include other managers. Which makes it all very confusing to talk about "management," right?

At Managing People at Work, we try to focus on the kinds of skills and roles that apply to any manager who oversees the work of others--from the front-line team leader to the top executive. But we began our life decades ago as Practical Supervision, and we've tended to focus on the perspectives of the hands-on, front-line employees who used to be called "supervisors." At the opposite end of the org chart were "executives," and then "managers" were the people in the middle.

What makes these kinds of bosses different? Basically, supervisors have actual hands-on technical knowledge of the work their teams do. Indeed, they may still be doing that work themselves and not just leading teams. Often, it was their skill at doing that work that led them to promotion in the first place. We've long viewed Managing People at Work as a valuable resource for people who didn't get much training or experience in human relations before assuming "management" jobs.

At the other end of the scale, "executives" are expected to have big-picture, strategic, conceptual skills rather than hands-on technical ones, and middle managers have to have a balance of the two. But for all three kinds of bosses, human relations is the biggest part of the job, and its relative importance never really changes. So we aim to reach and help out everyone who needs this kind of advice. Which means we're here to serve every kind of boss.



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