Without Managers, life would be chaotic indeed. Managers have an unerring sense of order, clear thinking analytical skills, and the persistence to get the job done. While Managers tend toward pessimism, a more accurate characterization is contemplative or pensive reflection. Managers are thinkers, planners, consider-ers. Nothing flits through their brain. Every thought and fact is held up for careful consideration, it’s value weighed and measured, and then precisely cataloged in their orderly brain for future reference.
Managers are usually found alone, sitting quietly. They quite often comes up with the most profound pronouncements about their observations on the world around them. Because they are deep thinkers and a less energetic person physically, they are more apt to stop and notice what others miss and then take the time to reflect on what they’ve seen.
At the bottom right of our personality chart , Managers are low on the physical enthusiasm scale and far to the right side where the need to complete tasks far outweighs any desire to socialize with people. Managers are the polar opposite of Cheerleaders. Being around groups of people, expected to chit chat and be cheery drains the energy out of Managers. Given time alone for reflection and introspection actually re-charges their battery. Managers get great fulfillment out of bringing order to chaos. Their persistence allows them to soldier on where others quit in frustration. Rather than getting frustrated at a challenge, Managers puts their considerable intellect to work and takes pleasure in devising solutions to sticky problems. While their slow, methodical approach to life may frustrate more animated personalities, it is a gift that should not be ignored.
Rational and Reliable
Both Cheerleaders and Coaches are quick, and sometimes rash, in their decisions. Many times this can lead to disaster. As quick thinkers, they are both good at making lemonade from lemons, but often ill-considered risks can send a business, finances, or a relationship right up in flames. Managers, on the other hand, prides themselves on the ability to weigh all the options, recognize potential obstacles, come up contingency plans and avoid emotional decisions.
My Cheerleader friend, Michelle, married Kyle, a solid Manager type. While she’s bouncing off to the next great adventure, he is patiently considering all the possibilities, investigating the risks, and quite often picking up the pieces behind her. When it came time to buy their last car, Michelle was convinced she needed the shiny new SUV sitting at the dealership down the road. “It has lots of room for the kids and their friends” she argued. “It’s four wheel drive! It will keep us safe in bad weather. And besides, it is such a pretty color, I would look good driving it.” The dealership was offering 0% financing, it would only cost $489 a month for 7 years. It was too good a deal to pass up, according to Michelle.
Kyle was not buying anything without first doing his research. He looked for consumer reports on the internet, checked out safety ratings and compared miles per gallon. He polled all the local banks for the best interest rate. He pointed out to Michelle, “we live in Georgia, we don’t get enough snow to justify a four wheel drive.” After long and careful deliberation, he pronounced the best car for his family was a 3 year old, four-door sedan with low mileage and excellent reliability. Color didn’t matter, flashy wheels were not important. The cost was reasonable, the insurance would be less expensive than it would be on a new SUV and they would still be driving it long after it had been paid off, according to his projections.
Personally, I would side with Michelle. Actually I did… once. My first car was a choice between a bright red Mustang and a beige Chevy Nova (anyone who knows their cars now knows exactly in which decade I was a new driver 🙂 ) For those who don’t know, Novas were basic, boring sedans that only old ladies drove, in my teenaged opinion. So I got the Mustang. It was like a giant bucket with four wheels and a hole in the bottom. No matter how much money I poured in to it, it never ran well.
Had I listened to my Manager Dad (lordy, don’t anyone tell him I’m admitting this) I would have been saved thousands in repair bills and tons of headaches. Fortunately, Michelle, for all her Cheerleader impulsiveness, knows enough to trust her husband’s strengths. They got the sedan. She did get to pick the color, however, because Kyle knows enough about personalities to respect his wife’s needs, too.
You can usually spot a Manager right from babyhood. They are more apt to be late walkers because they don’t like to learn by trial and error. They wait until they’ve got it all figured out, then they get up and go. A Manager baby isn’t terribly tolerant of discomfort or crooked diapers. When they grow older, tags have to be cut out of clothing and socks are worn inside out so the seam across the toe doesn’t irritate them.
While most kids clean their room only when forced and usually with as little effort as they can get away with, Managers makes their bed every day, p e r f e c t l y. There are no wrinkles in the sheets or pillows out of place, it would disrupt their sense of order. In school they are conscientious about their work, completing assignments fully and taking seriously the teacher’s admonition to read a book every week during summer vacation. The world is very black and white to Managers, they take everything very literally.
All personalities can be creative. Cheerleaders are expressively, and sometimes wildly creative, Managers are more practical in their creative endeavors. They could both be excellent painters, but it would be like VanGogh compared to a Gongbi painter. VanGogh was abstract and free form, the Gongbi painting style is very meticulous and detailed. Michelangelo is a great example of a creative Manager. When he was commissioned to do the David sculpture, he didn’t just take up his chisel and start to hack away at the marble. He spent months in detailed study of the human form, going so far as to frequent a morgue where he could study the inner structure of bones and the interplay between muscle and movement. He didn’t approach the piece of stone until he had formed in his mind a completely detailed image of every square inch that was to be his masterpiece.
For fun, Manager boys will choose to play with one friend, designing and building a Lego city over joining the soccer team. Girls will have one or two close friends who will cooperate with her in setting up a doll house and find enjoyment in placing each piece of furniture in just the right place.
As parents, Managers can be a rock of stability. They never forget to pick their children up from a playdate. They watch carefully over the school grades to insure their children don’t get behind. They set and follow consistent rules of behavior. Managers make great parents because children always know what to expect from them. The rules are always clear and routines never change.
Managers are an island of predictability in an often crazy world. They are geniuses of structure and order. In fact, most people who are classified as “genius” are also Managers. If academic excellence is the yardstick for high intelligence, Managers will win the day. Fortunately for everyone else, high IQ is not the only way to be intelligent, but that’s a story for another day. Managers do well in school, well in college and performs their job with excellence and reliability. They are never late and never goof off. They can use their creative intelligence to imagine things that have never existed and use their analytic and engineering skills to make that vision come to life.
Get it Right
Managers see anything that is out of place and are practically compulsive about fixing it. The stranger in the ladies room at the theater who reaches out and tucks the label back into the collar of your shirt? A Manager personality in action. The dinner guest who helps clear the dishes and points out you are loading your dishwasher incorrectly? Another Manager doing their duty.
Managers likes everything to be done right and they usually know exactly what “right” is, sometimes to the frustration of those around them. They can be uncompromising in their quest for perfection and it spills over into their expectations of how others should live. My Manager friend Tony was at the house one day when my son asked me to cut the bruised end off the banana he was eating. I grabbed a knife, dropped the banana on the counter and “chop” no more icky black spot. My friend was horrified. “You can’t cut things right on the counter! Aren’t you going to use a cutting board?” I looked at him, puzzled “why? It’s just a banana.” “Because you’ll mark up the counter top” was his confident reply. “oh well,” I answered, “it won’t be too bad.” I’m afraid my reputation is forever stained in his eyes. Anyone who would cut a banana without using a cutting board is clearly not playing with a full deck in his view. While this encounter was humorous, in a marriage or work partnership it can be disastrous, if Managers are not willing to flex a little.
I have a bit of Manager in my Coachi-ness since we’re neighboring personalities, although not to an extreme degree. I do tend to get frustrated when things don’t work they way they are supposed to. After 30 years of marriage to Team Player I’ve learned to take my cues from him if I feel my anxiety rising when things aren’t going right. Managers would do well to recognize that life is not always perfect and they can’t control everything to their satisfaction, no matter how much preparation and forethought goes into it. If a Managers is lucky enough to have the calming influence of a Team Player in his life, take advantage of it and listen to their insights.
Another area where Managers might take a lesson from others is in recreation. Managers live for the practical. They are hard workers, dedicated and thorough, as long as the work has purpose. Doing something “just because” is unimaginable. There is an old saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” Jack was definitely an Manager and in danger of becoming dull. Managers will typically not join the gang for a night at a crowded bar, but they could be drawn to something that takes as much intelligence as it does physical effort, like rock climbing.
Living in seclusion sounds appealing to most Managers. Quiet, and restful, with no one to mess up the spices in their alphabetical order. Left to their own devices though, Managers are likely to sink into long, bottomless depressions. They scoff at the daily dramas of Cheerleaders, priding themselves on their logical minds and emotional stability. The truth is, Managers are just as emotional. Their emotions simmer under the surface taking days or even weeks to erupt. Instead of blowing off steam and getting over it, like Cheerleaders or Coaches, they will stew. They’ll spend days trudging around, moping and generally being miserable to everyone because of some offense against them, real or imagined.
Tony, my Manager friend, is in business with a Team Player/Cheerleaders blend, Charles. At the start, they had several occasions to butt heads. Charles spent weeks trying to convince Tony they should pay for a membership to the Chamber of Commerce. As far as Tony was concerned, it was a time waster. Why get together with people who own businesses unrelated to his and chit chat over lunch? There was work to get done. As I’ve shared about personalities with them, they’ve come to see that they both have valuable insights about what is best for their business, nether is “better” or more right than the other, just different. I was able to show Tony where his natural Manager tendency toward solitude was making him biased against what could be a valuable business resource. Tony’s more conservative characteristics do help keep Charles’ spendthrift ways in check, though. It’s a great partnership when they recognize where their own strengths and weaknesses color their decision making process.
If life was a team sport, the Manager is the glue that keeps the whole thing together. They keep the stats, organize the locker room, and make sure nothing is left behind. Without the support of Managers nobody else would be able to perform their duties quite as well.