Improving S-Style Managers’ Effectiveness

Assumptions That Can Get Them in Trouble

Even if we’d never say them out loud, we all have unconscious assumptions that sometimes get us into trouble. Here are some common ones that S-style managers sometimes make.

• It’s my job to keep my team happy at all times

• I shouldn’t upset people

• It’s rude to be too assertive

• If there is uncertainty, inaction is the best course

• If people are sorry, there doesn’t need to be any other consequences

• Direct, critical feedback should only be a last resort

• It’s better to give people what they want than keep fighting

Slow and steady is better than unpredictability

• I shouldn’t inconvenience other people

My needs are less important than other people’s

I shouldn’t push people to push themselves

• You should always give people the benefit of the doubt

I need buy-in from everyone before I finalize a decision


Unintended Consequences for Their Team

Problematic behavior doesn’t get called out

We don’t get the resources we need from upper management

• There’s no sense of urgency

• We don’t get the feedback we need to grow

• There’s no support for big changes

• Decisions take way too long


Helping Your S-style Managers Rethink Their Role

These managers grow as they start to appreciate that sometimes they’ll actually have to invite tension and instability into their world. By understanding other perspectives, they see that not everyone shares their need for harmony and that the long-term well-being of their team often depends on allowing a little short-term messiness.

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