Throughout your career, you should try to learn from the managers around you. Watch them closely and see what they do right and wrong. By doing so, you can learn from their successes and failures and then adjust your management style accordingly. This includes your bosses, your peers and, in time, the managers that report to you.

Throughout your career, you should try to learn from the managers around you. Watch them closely and see what they do right and wrong. By doing so, you can learn from their successes and failures and then adjust your management style accordingly. This includes your bosses, your peers and, in time, the managers that report to you.


When observing fellow managers, here are some things to looks for:




How does the manager treat his/her subordinates and how do the subordinates react to it?

How does the manager work with his peers to get things done, and is he/she successful?

What decision process does the manager use? In other words, does he look for consensus, analyze alternatives, go on gut feeling, take advice from others, act quickly, base decisions only on politics or so on?

What is the manager’s work ethic?

How is the manager viewed by his staff, peers and management?

How does the manager act under pressure?

How does she act and lead meetings?

When analyzing these managers, consider things from both the general and specific perspective.




As an example of a general topic: Does she treat her subordinates fairly and equally?

As an example of a specific topic: What process and steps does he use to estimate his annual budget?

Just for the record, when I say to observe your fellow managers, I don’t mean to follow them around; that would be creepy. I mean just pay attention to the way they work. Also, if appropriate, and if you feel comfortable doing so, ask them questions and use them as a mentor.


I have had the pleasure of working for some great managers over the years. Many of the principles I have discussed are based on what I learned by observing their management styles. In fact, while writing this column, one of my best managers comes to mind. He was a great manager, and at the time I didn’t even realize it. It was very early in my career, before I was a manager. He had a way of making everything a teaching moment. When I did things well, he not only told me I did, but explained why. Conversely, when I made mistakes, he let me know it and explained why. There are certainly many other things that are required to be a good manager, but he had the mentoring thing down to a science.


I have also worked for managers that were overbearing, dishonest, obnoxious and just plain mean. I also learned from them. I learned what it feels like to be stuck working for a bad manager and made mental notes to never be like them.


I have also learned an enormous amount by watching managers over the years that were my peers. The trick to doing this effectively is being able to occasionally step away from the office politics and just view your peers as other people trying to do their best. Like you, there are some things they do well, and some things they don’t do well but don’t want anyone to know it.


The main message for you here is to learn by watching other managers and incorporate their positive attributes into your management style. Additionally, watch what other managers do wrong and learn from their mistakes.


The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:




Watching and learning from your boss, peers and other managers can provide you with insights that can further your career.

You can learn from both great managers and bad managers, you just learn different things.

Until next time, manage well, manage smart and continue to grow.


Eric P. Bloom, based in Ashland, Mass., is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC. He is also a nationally syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and author of the award-winning book “Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.