Being a manager can be tough. Difficult employees, conflict, missed targets etc but you can’t survive without quality people around you so what should you do?
Managing people would be a piece of cake if everyone was hard-working, driven and had a great attitude. However, that wouldn’t be management. We would be sitting around drinking tea, whilst our teams got on and succeeded by themselves.
In reality, managing people can be one of the biggest headaches for any leader. Whether you already have an established team or you’re just about to make your first hire. The headaches we experience aren’t always caused by a clear cut problem of ‘underperformance’. Of course, an employee who is underperforming can cause significant issues, but when you’re experiencing behavioural issues it can be another kettle of fish entirely.
Here are my top things to remember when managing people;
1.Perfect doesn’t exist
Perfection is a myth. Fortunately, It doesn’t exist because who sets the standard of perfection? How do you know when you’ve reached it? Well, the answer is you and who knows?!
Management isn’t a one size fits all because everyone has a different personality and skill range. Successful managers understand they need to figure out what motivates each individual and adapt their style accordingly.
2.Look behind the behaviour
When someone’s behaviour is difficult to manage, I look past it in the current situation and seek answers for the root cause. I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve had my fair share of experiencing unacceptable behaviour and 9 times out of 10, the root cause of the problem is something entirely unrelated.
It might be they’re experiencing unhappiness in their personal lives, they may be experiencing frustration at themselves, they may not be sleeping well, they may have financial issues. Whatever it may be, looking past this behaviour will help you deal with the root cause instead of the surface level bull shit!
3.You can’t always be liked
One of the best things I learnt being a manager is that you can’t and unfortunately won’t be liked all the time. It was a hard shift for me to make as I always wanted to be ‘liked’. I used to feel like I was back on the playground wanting to be friends with everyone, not wanting to cause any fallings out.
But I soon learnt that good managers don’t worry if they’re liked. They want to get the best from their team, and sometimes that means having some tough conversations. It’s still important to maintain a good relationship, just but not based on appeasement.
4.Are they an asset or liability?
Some of the most difficult people I have managed have still added significant value to the company. They may have been somewhat disruptive and awkward at times, but they still delivered to an exceptional standard.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: do they add value? If the benefit of having them outweighs the problem, they’re likely to be an asset. If the problem outweighs the benefit, they’re certainly a liability.
In the simplest terms, If they’re an asset – keep it and if they’re a liability – let them go. Of course, it won’t be as clear cut as that, but that’s just to help you think more clearly about a difficult situation.
5.Accept it’s hard – don’t fight it
We tend to waste our time and energy wishing things weren’t so. Management is hard and it’s a complex job, don’t waste your efforts wishing people would ‘just change’. Accept it’s a tough job but you’re the right person to give it your best.
6. Don’t avoid conflict – deal with it directly
I wouldn’t suggest going in on a wrecking ball or pulling rank, but don’t put off dealing with a situation to avoid conflict. Someone once told me that conflict is like the currency of management, it comes with the territory.
It will only get worse and you’ll have a bigger apple to bite.
7.Get a different perspective (ask for help if you need)
The best managers I look up to, don’t believe they know it all. They don’t think they’re always right and they aren’t narrow-minded. They open their minds to view situations from a different point of view. They also seek help from peers when they need it to help come to the fairest solution possible.
8.Set clear measurable objectives (boundaries)
A few times this week on my coaching calls, we’ve referred to a ‘parent-child’ relationship when it comes to managing staff. I wouldn’t suggest employees are like children, but many of the techniques used to parent can be adapted when managing employees.
For example, we know we get what we tolerate and therefore if we’ve set the standard that it’s alright to not hit targets, underperform or have a negative attitude…that’s what we’ll get back as managers. Children need boundaries to understand what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t. The same is for our teams. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure these boundaries are clearly outlined to ensure the member of staff understands what the perimeters are.
If clear and measurable objectives aren’t set, how do employees know what is expected of them? If they don’t know, we can’t complain when they don’t measure up.
What’s your take on management? What tips, advice or feedback do you have to share? Let me known by commenting below!