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Assertiveness Decision Making

Is it possible for a manager to be too nice? Ours is very friendly and would do just about anything for us. If we make a mistake, he is patient and never gets upset. The problem is that some of the people in the department are taking advantage of him and bending the rules, and he does not realize it. He is too trusting. I'm wondering if there is a way to toughen him up.

It is possible for a manager to be too nice, and that's not a nice situation. On the surface, your manager demonstrates many aspects of managerial effectiveness. He is available, accessible, and communicative, and he obviously cares about the employees. The problem is that these elements do not make up the complete managerial package. To be effective, a manager also needs a back-up style that can be used in situations that require more decisive, direct, and firm leadership. Today's best leaders have that balance, but your manager does not.

Your manager actually sounds like he is more interested in being well-liked than well-respected. In the beginning, managers who want to be well-liked quickly tend to reach that goal. However, it is not long before employees seek leadership that provides more guidance, direction, and responsiveness. Your manager's fear of upsetting the team and losing their friendship prevents him from showing these behaviors.

Your desire to toughen him up is a tough order. One approach is to advise him of the various abuses that you are seeing in the department. His reaction is going to show you if he has a back-up style or is merely inclined to back up.

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