Push v Pull management… which one are you?

Push V Pull management, which one are you?

Some managers need to be constantly pushing and driving their team to ensure sales activity is completed and targets met. Other managers inspire, positively lead by example and assertively empower their teams so they drive themselves when the manager is absent.

Do any of these styles ring a bell?



50 shades of micro managing

Those managers adopting a dominant micro managing style will find that when they’re not there to push the team, nothing really happens. Teams won’t feel empowered or confident to make a decision when the manager is away for fear of repercussion, and therefore activity tends to dwindle. Managers who have this style run the risk that teams won’t think for themselves and over time develop lower self-drive. 

Uninspiring or untrustworthy managers

Individual recruiters and teams need to be inspired and motivated. It is the manager’s job to understand what make each of their team tick.

When managers tap into individual and team motivational buttons, people tend to feel trusted and safe to make decisions and continue when the manager is absent.

Working everyday in a job that you didn’t feel stretched you, for a manager that didn’t inspire you — not really the recipe for proactivity and energy. If you didn’t trust your manager or feel safe to make decisions without the worry or fear to be blamed when things went wrong, would you be motivated when they were away?

Having worked for two managers in the past who I couldn’t trust, my effectiveness slowed down due to sliding morale and happiness. The vicious circle continued as the tone of my sales calls screamed ‘desperation, unconfident, bored, lost, and going through the motions’. That then lead to inactivity, sales decline and missing of targets which then fuelled the manager – happy times…not! 

Assertive and competent managers

A person striving for the ideal style will need to invest time creating trusting relationships, gaining the team’s respect and creating a culture where individuals and teams feel safe to say how they feel, think for themselves and challenge the norm to help evolution.

Transparent assertive managers, who truly respect and encourage individual and team confidence and with no hidden agendas are like a breath of fresh air. When the manager is out of the office, activity still gets done to a high standard as teams won’t want to let the manager down. They respect them and feel motivated to get the work completed. It also means there are less phone calls to the manager when they are not in the office asking for help as the teams are more capable of dealing with problems. The teams are more likely to consistently go beyond for someone they respect and trust, the teams will avoid letting the manager down. The positive domino impact of this can be:

  • Candidates are treated with sincere respect and decisions about matching and speculatively marketing a candidate are thorough, promoting a good reputation amongst candidate pools.
  • Clients problems are more likely to be solved as recruiters will be hell bent on getting the right person with the right skills rather than email flip a mediocre CV across. This consistent and positive mindset creates professional reputation amongst the client’s organisation.
  • Teams are more likely to consistently perform as a collective group rather than a group of individuals who happen to work in the same office!

Whilst I appreciate there needs to be a certain amount of ‘tell’ during the start of a new employee’s career, as the new person progresses, a more coaching and mentoring style needs to be developed. Once boundaries and expectations are established from both parties, a more empowering pull style is best adopted. The pull style ultimately will empower the team and earn their respect. This can positively enhance the organisational brand.

When was the last time you reviewed your style? Is the right style matching the needs of individuals?

Cheesy photo time of a happy team warning….


Sarah Church

Sarah Church is a Managing Director at Fifth Element Solutions and manages the Learning and Development service line. Her highly motivational down-to-earth training approach means participants are easily able to apply the learning to their unique environment. Using real life practical methodology it maximises the participants and their organisations time and money investment. Sarah has been in the recruitment world for over 17 years’. She started her career developing highly successful Contract/Temporary and Permanent desks and was quickly promoted to Sales and Development Manager where key responsibilities included developing long-term business relationships with new key clients. During her experience Sarah was tasked with turning around underperforming recruitment business making a financial loss into profit making centres. Reviewing, coaching, mentoring, and advising managers and their staff on how to adapt best practice and processes to ensure the avoided closure. Her philosophy in business is “If things don’t go right, turn left”.

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