Erik van Wijk

Erik van Wijk

‘Everything a manager does has an impact’

The influence of a manager on an organisation’s activities – and its success – is both overestimated and underestimated.

It is overestimated because an organisation is often very durable and resilient, and many processes will continue as normal if the MT is temporarily dysfunctional or poorly staffed. It is in exactly these conditions that creativity can unexpectedly come from lower echelons in the company, and when the business shows its true resilience.

But the manager’s influence is underestimated because employees look towards the behaviour and signals that the manager implicitly or explicitly communicates – often more than the manager realises. Inconsistency and lack of transparency in policy statements, as well as unpredictable and capricious behaviour, can be devastating for the company’s confidence in management or the board.

It is lonely at the top. You are constantly in the spotlight, and there is almost no one to whom you can turn to for help. Everything you say, every doubt you express, is magnified and has consequences. How can you deal with all of these contrasting expectations and interpretations?

That requires considerable experience, wisdom and authenticity. But also resilience, self-reflection… and humour. Experience is simply a matter of time, and the other aspects can be grown with personal development.

It is exactly there that an experienced and interested management psychologist can be useful as a coach, or simply as a sparring partner.