Managers: Nurture or Nature

Photo Credit: Nik MacMillan @ Unsplash

Managers. Where do they come from? Are some born managers? Or do managers just stumble into their roles and start managing people? If you are a manager and have a few people under your wings, when did YOU become a manager? And more importantly, do your staff view you as a good manager?

I personally don’t think we can assume people should automatically know how to be a good manager and yet expect them to be good at it while not providing them the training or indicating what the standard of being a “Good Manager” means. It is a common blind-spot in many organisations that I’ve come to interact with. In all fairness, if there is no expressed expectations of what a good manager means, managers don’t have a clear standard to take reference from and when things go south, we can’t say its “common sense” and that the manager under-performed. So if your organisation don’t have an official “How to be a Manager” type training and yet expects managers to be awesome, I think its time to start asking for such trainings.

Having worked for more than 20 years and interacted in different industries, I’ve seen my fair share of hardworking managers who don’t know basics. No fault of theirs sometimes I feel because they were not taught how to be a manager. It’s a blind spot, we all don’t know what we don’t know.

So let them get the training that they need to excel in their role. If I had to put a training session together, these are the kind of topics that come to my mind:

  1. Being a Good Example: punctuality, respecting other people’s time, having high standards, being a positive individual in the organisation, being a collaborative individual.
  2. Leadership: Nurturing yet being firm, Inspiring and motivating, earning respect, getting the most out of individuals.
  3. Collaboration: Instilling a collaborative environment across teams. How to manage cliques. How to manage rumours.
  4. Delegating: How and when to and not to delegate.
  5. Communicating: Clarity, Effectiveness, Objectivity, Wisdom, when to have face-to-face, when to have email trails.
  6. Counselling: Making time, managing personal issues, career discussions, how to be a friend yet a boss.
  7. Training & Career Planning: Identifying gaps and up-skilling individuals. Knowing where to find resources to make the team better. Knowing how to plan for the team.
  8. Lull Periods: What to do when team is having a lull period? Always-on side pet projects? How to always bring value to clients and the organisation.
  9. Discipline: When and how to scold people, when to give warning letter, when to get HR involved?
  10. Firing: How and when to fire, how to manage exits.

Some people read books to learn stuff like that at a personal level because they desire to be better managers, some others might not even be aware they are not a good manager and are unaware how bad they are.

We all need to make sure we have a strong / dependable / wise / exemplary tier of managers. If they are not, then they should not be a manger and we should not entrust any staff under their care as they would be jeopardising the career of the juniors. Further more, if managers don’t do their roles well, most of the time a mess will be created and the senior management level folks will have to be catapulted into the eye of the storm to sort-things-out when they should be spending their time charting the organisation’s way forward and bringing value to clients.

If you agree that before someone is made a manager and they should have some form of training to be a manager, then here are a few options:

  • Send for external courses – There are many such courses and also online courses.
  • Create an internal course – There is already alot of such materials online, so curate them and create a training module.
  • Compulsory Reading – Insist managers read a specific book and after that discuss with their immediate superior to show understanding of that material.

Its not too expensive or too time consuming for managers to get trained, but I know for sure its alot more expensive and time consuming if we don’t.

#WallpaperWednesday

April 2014 I started changing my wallpaper almost every other week on Wednesday and the main purpose for that, is for me to capture the feelings of that week and visually represent it with a short caption only I understand. I scroll thru tumblr, see a picture that nicely represents my mood and its done.

It’s been 4 years since and looking back at some of these pictures, the memories start flowing back. Some are really sad, some are really happy.

Today, marks the last day of a dear friend in the company and I’m reminded of a Wallpaper from last year I’ve put up after talking to her and this got me thinking that I should decrypt some of them before I completely forget them.

Here goes.


We chatted.
And when we chatted,
I said all I wanted to say.

Without reservations,
I said what I believed you needed to hear.

Without thinking of repercussions,
I said everything I said
in the best way I knew how.

We chatted.
And when we chatted,
I’m not sure if I heard what I wanted to hear.

With reservations,
You said what you think I needed to hear.

With the best intentions I believe,
You said everything you said
In the the way you always do.

We chatted.
Let’s chat again.
I’ve got more to say
and more that I want to hear.

A colleague asked me out for coffee and sought advice on her career and because its a treasured colleague I had people-first mentality and shared honestly what I really felt. However, I was unsure if I helped or further confused.


The following 3 is from a set of 12 where a group of friends are journeying with a close friend going thru a traumatic relationship.

Where are you bumblebee? Stop shedding tears of gold.

Where are you flying sting? Come back to your family and be whole.

The close friend of ours simply disappeared.

It’s suppose to fill you up with butterflies of smiles.

It’s suppose to radiate a warm comforting embrace.

It’s suppose to tease you with a whisper in the ear.

It’s suppose to sweep you off your feet.

It’s suppose to shelter you from hurt.

It’s suppose to love you with the love you know.

Our friend going over a hard time in her relationship.

Some friends are family.

And no one messes with my family.

I really hate it when my friends gets played and I was on a killing spree in my mind.


Love is greater then many things, even grades.

When your kids come back with grades they are not satisfied with.


Some roads we have to walk alone.

When you are going thru some really ugly personal stuff that you can’t talk to anyone about.


A step at a time.

Then step step triple step, step step kick ball change and kick ball change and triple step, rock step stomp hold and repeat till the song ends. Smile and thank your partner.

The time when Pearl and I went for a Lindy Hop Dance camp.


To Phuket we go.

Ok, this one not cryptic at all. Just so happy to be going for a no kids trip with our fellow adult friends staying in a big Pool Villa. Video post trip here.


Just another day.
Hope you are doing fine too.

The moment at work where you are burning out.


While watching the world go by, I can’t help but think of those few issues at work and at home. I’m here, but not here.

While commuting home from work, I think about what caption I want to put for this image. I’m here, but not here.

I look up. 

I watch the world go by.

I’m here.

I’m going home.

Struggling to juggle with many responsibilities and constantly not being 100% one place at a time.


Behind every family,
there have been fights, arguments, and tears.
More pains, disappointments, and heartache
would surely follow.

So let’s celebrate our victories;
remember the good times,
create new happy memories.
It’s the joy in doing these things
that will bring us through the bad times
and give us strength
to face the challenges to come.

Memories created to savour the quality family time that will be remembered forever.


Let the world stand still once in a while.

The time where the wife is really into you. ;)

The Hairband

The Hairband - Clie Pan the Hand Model

Today is the Hairband’s happiest day of his life.

He’s hugging her elbow as she commutes to work.

It’s been a full month since he left the factory. Thirty-one days spent sitting at the back of the dusty shelves in the supermarket. Out of all the bags of hairbands on display, she picked the one he is in. And out of all the hairbands she could have picked this morning in the bathroom, she picked him.

It’s destiny.

The world is amazing. The world is beautiful.

All these sights and sounds.

All these busy people going to mysterious places.

Just travelling with her wrapped around her elbow, exploring the world, and going on this adventure is just bliss.

The world is wonderful and exciting again. He has great expectations of his life with her from now on.

He will hold her hair while she is eating, keep her hair neat in meetings.

When she is bored, she will play with him in her smooth hands and make little shapes.

He has great expectations. The world is beautiful.

She reaches out to the Hairband and pulls him out of his embrace of her arm, preparing to tie her hair.

The Hairband drops into the gap between the train and the platform.

She reaches into her bag and pulls out another Hairband.