‘Good management skills are hard to come by but relatively easy to acquire’. This is one of life’s great lessons that in over twenty years of training managers and thinking about what it takes to manage and manage well, I hope I have come to understand in some depth, and if it sounds a bit like acquiring good manners it is, but you have to try to acquire both in the first place. I guess it’s easy to recognise poor management skills (and very painful to be on the receiving end of), so thank you Ricky Gervais for the Office and for helping us in this respect. But what if you know things could be so much better and either want to improve yourself, or see managers or team leaders around you who could do better? When senior bosses in big companies go ‘undercover’ they can be very surprised by the fact that firstly they aren’t recognised (no one really knows who they are) and secondly that many of the company’s problems are being kept from them. What this suggests is that people have stopped talking to each other about what really matters which is solving problems and improving the business so that customers (and everyone else which may include you and I) can have the best experience possible. So unsurprisingly a really important management skill is listening and managers who stop listening are I believe, no longer effective. Because if you listen and someone tells you the truth you can at least then fix what needs fixing and move on. The best bosses I see are also very good at handing over the reins. Let’s celebrate listening and delegation as great management traits!