The Five Minds of a Manager

By: J. Gosling

Major Canadian co. complained that engineers don’t think like managers. What does “think like managers” means?

Everybody is enamored for Leadership and Management is pushed to the background. We must separate between management and leadership!

But Management without Leadership is an uninspired style, and Leadership without Management is a disconnected style and promotes hubris.

Plain old management complicated and confusing, it is to be:

  • Global and Local

  • Collaborate and Compete

  • Change and Maintain order

  • Make numbers and Nurture your people

Who can reconcile all this contradicted points all together? No one can… But the effective managers have to focus on…

  • What they have to accomplish

  • And… How they have to think

Means that managers needs various “Mind-Sets”

– Case:
Drifting too far towards fast-action worries the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies. As it must respond fast quickly to disasters everywhere, it also has to buildup capacity of actions that is careful, thoughtful and tailored to local conditions and needs.

Others faces opposite predicament(unpleasant situation): They get mired in thinking of their problem that they don’t get things done fast.

These two aspects established the bounds of management. Every effective manager does is sandwiched between Action on the ground and Reflection in the abstract.

Every manager has to find a way to combine between these two mind-sets – to function at the point where reflective thinking meets practical doing.

Action and reflection about what?

  • Action and reflection about collaboration, about getting things done cooperatively with other people – for example: negotiation, where a manager can’t act alone.

  • Action, reflection and collaboration has to be rooted in a deep appreciation of reality with all its facets. We call this the mind-set worldly.

  • Action, reflection and collaboration, as well as worldliness, must adopt a certain logic; they relay on the analytical mind-set.

So we have five sets of managerial minds, each has its dominant subject. And if you are a manager this is your world!

  • Reflective mind-set: Its subject is the self; there can be no insight without the self-knowledge.

  • Collaboration mind-set: It takes the subject into the manager’s network of relationships.

  • Analytical mind-set: The organization is the subject; organization depends on a systematic decomposition of activities and that’s what analysis is all about.

  • Worldly mind-set: Is the world around the organization – context.

  • Action mind-set: That pulls everything together through the process of change.

About Amr Badran

An Egyptian Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer since 1997. I've trained on Management, Leadership and Soft Skills to thousands of people from many nationalities, backgrounds and professions in more than 10 countries across the Middle and Far East. Holder of an MBA and a Candidate for Doctorate in Business. Find more about my Management and Personal Skills Courses at and feel free contacting me at
This entry was posted in Management, Personal Development. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s