Being a manager is a tough call. Those more senior than you place huge demands on you and those that you manage expect you to take care of them. Sometimes it can be really difficult. So what are 10 truths you need to know about managing?
Truth 1: You Cannot Set People Up To Fail
Of course you want to set challenging and stretching targets. If you don’t, the chances are people will just cruise and perform below their potential. On the other hand, you cannot set people up to fail otherwise you will just lose respect.
Truth 2: People Tend To Be Overly Optimistic
Many people want to keep their manager happy, so what they do is promise things by a certain time. What I have found is that they sometimes just hugely underestimate the time it is going to take to achieve something. Encourage people to be realistic with you when they are telling you when you can have something.
Truth 3: Attention Seekers Never Change
There are going to be people on most teams who will do almost anything to get attention. This might be consistently blocking or taking the glory. The best you can usually do with these people is to minimise their impact on the rest of the team.
Truth 4: People Have Different Preferences
Some people on your team will want to be told straight what needs to happen. Others will want to feel like they have been part of the decisions. Others want consensus in terms of decisions. You need to adapt to meet those different preferences and it can be tough.
Truth 5: The Worst Work Often Goes To Those Who Get Things Done
This is an odd one. There are always going to be some jobs that are less popular than others. What managers sometimes do is pass too many of these less than popular jobs to their best people rather than sharing them out. If you pass all the worst work to the best people they will eventually get fed up and leave.
Truth 6: Teams Pay More Attention To What They See
Promises, claims and words have their place but, as we all know, actions speak louder than words. Teams will pay more attention to what you do than what you say you will do.
Truth 7: Energy Levels Fluctuate With Expectations
The fact is people’s energy and commitment will vary depending on your expectations. If you doubt this just look at how people respond when faced with a major deadline.
Truth 8: You Will Never Have Enough Time
Work has a habit of expanding to fill the time you have available.
Truth 9: You Have To Be Clear About Outcomes
Vague outcomes tend to lead to your getting results that you don’t want rather than those that you do want or need.
Truth 10: Most People Hate Change
Whether we like it or not, the number of people who really embrace change is actually fairly small. Accept that and be aware of the fact that making any change of significance is going to take time.
The Bottom Line: Being successful as a manager and at the same time making small changes in how you operate can often yield significantly different results.