Glass Bubble Management

If a leader isn’t careful, moving up the ladder can lead to glass bubble management.

Glass bubble management is characterized by distorted or inaccurate perceptions of employees’ day-to-day activities and challenges.

Some glass bubble managers make decisions based on the job as they knew it before they got their promotion.  Unfortunately, the likelihood of the job duties, demands and expectations being unchanged is pretty low.

Some glass bubble managers have never done a particular job or filled a particular role. Without that knowledge, it is easy to underestimate the time, the physical demands or the mental processes required to fulfill the expectations associated with the job.

Effective management means getting out of the glass bubble and talking to employees.  It’s not about becoming an expert on all the day to day tasks and challenges employees face.  It is about recognizing lack of expertise. It may mean job shadowing in unfamiliar roles for a day or two.  Most importantly, it means being willing to throw out assumptions, asking questions and keeping an open mind.

Getting out of the bubble and spending time with the people completing those daily tasks, the people interacting with customers on a regular basis, leads to better decisions and demonstrates a leaders willingness to learn by consulting with the experts.  Leaders who do that enjoy a level of respect and trust from employees that glass bubble managers never will.

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