Managerial Presence

What is managerial presence?

One of the biggest nonsense I still hear from some managers is:

You must have a managerial presence. It’s the owner’s eye that fattens the cattle.

I know a lot of businesses that have broken, even with the quasi-neurotic control from business owner. There is a truly great misconception: it is not the demanding, to push forward or the fear that motivates a team. It’s the grass that fattens the cattle. I’m pretty sure that if the owner settles the cattle inside a building, cattle is not going to get fat without grass, no matter how much eye one put on it…

So it’s not the eye, but yes, what the manager does that really fattens the cattle. It’s what the manager does that really determines whether or not he has a managerial presence.

What is managerial presence these days?

It is the availability and performance of the manager related to the employee activities, with the goal that these employees fulfil their tasks. Demanding is just one tool for that goal. There is much more to do:

  • Assess obstacles (allow people to work!)
  • Arbitration
  • Knowledge Assessment
  • Load balance
  • etc

The manager needs to understand that his employees are not there to promote his name (the manager’s), but rather, to some tasks for the company and for his/her own (employee’s) satisfaction. Therefore, to be all over the employee, demanding fast and best results without doing anything to help only result in turnover.

And for sure, it’s not:

  • Micromanagement
  • Constant billing
  • High Billing
  • Bureaucratization
  • etc

However, nothing compares to the largest and most common defect of a manager:

  • Excessive internal bad politics.

Some good practices to increase managerial presence

Allow employees to work

Basically, managerial presence means that the manager should around to remove all obstacles to execution of their employees ‘ tasks. Much more than staying on top, the manager must be a resource of his/her team so that it would be possible that employees do their tasks.

Oddly enough, some companies implement management systems in which the employee does everything but work. For example:

  • Developers who do not develop, but populate several worksheets for hours tracking and spend hours documenting some sort of non productive process;
  • Vendors who do not sell, but spend hours filling price tables, lead worksheets, travel reports;
  • Managers who do not manage, but spend hours on endless meetings with customers and suppliers;
  • The factory, which waste a lot of resources and time with waste and resource use reduction programs.

These are just examples. The outcome of this? A negative impact on the Ebtida.


I’ve seen endless and warm discussions because of brackets in C. Some want on the same line, others want it on the line below. Some think they should use only when mandatory, others preach always to use it. To worsen things, when the manager decides to give the decisive vote, it ends up provoking a state of reactance in those whom he/her has not adopted this new idea.

Arbitration is something extremely important in the present manager. This has to do with understanding and evaluating two sides of a dispute: rarely the two sides have the same weight and argument quality for any dispute. Especially among developers, it is fairly common that one side has simply assumed an opposite instance just by being in a state of psychological reactance.

Choosing one side and presenting a definition why and which arguments were most relevant to such a decision is one of the activities of a present manager.

Assessing Team Necessities

I know managers who can’t meet the need for their team. You seem distant? Depends on. Examples:

  • Managers who do not encourage projects of their employees (anti-engagement);
  • Managers who do not give realistic feedback (team has a medium score);
  • Managers who avoid any confrontation;
  • Managers who believe that all their words and decisions are wise (and that their employees are obliged to digest their wisdom; usually accompanied with “respect my gray hair”).

All these are behaviors of managers who don’t care about the needs of their teams. A manager who really cares will listen to the team and will try to answer what it seems necessary. Whatever accounts as superfluous should be presented as such to the employee, so that the employee would understand and drop it or the employee will produces some argument that changes manager’s opinion.

Are there more?

Yes, there’s a lot more that the manager could do to have a positive presence on everyday life of his/her team. This articles just presents and defines a few attitudes for a good managerial presence. There is no need to be a leader to put into practice such concepts: it takes only good common sense.

For those who are already manager, there is a question: what do you do to have a positive impact on the team?

I’m pretty sure few managers think about it, even after reading tons of books about leadership, management or leadership styles of known and admired notable people.

Did you recognise your manager here? Recommend Repositório readings to him!


About rftafas 183 Articles
Ricardo F. Tafas Jr graduated in Electrical Engineering at UFRGS with focus on Digital Systems and achieved his Masters also in Electrical Engineering on Telecomunications Network Management. He also author of "Autodesenvolvimento para Desenvolvedores (Self-development for developers). Ricardo has +10 years experience on R&D Management and +13 years on Embedded Eystem Development. His interest lay on Applied Strategic HR, Innovation Management and Embedded Technology as a differentiator and also on High Performance Digital Systems and FPGAs. Actually, he is editor and writer for “Repositório” blog (, editorial board member at Embarcados ( and he is Management and Innovation Specialist at Repo Dinâmica - Aceleradora de Produtos.
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