Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hardest Part of Being a Manager

I was having a conversation with someone today about being a manager.  Being a manager is one of those things that everybody thinks is really easy but in reality is never as easy as you really think it is.  There are a lot of challenges most people just can't deal with.

Now, I'll be the first to say that if you have the right attitude and mindset it can be a relatively easy job.  You see, managers don't really do anything.  There, I've said it.  In the end, they are responsible for the work of others and generally don't produce anything concrete themselves.  Now that may sound nice and easy, but it has its own very difficult challenges.   The hardest part is dealing with the people themselves.

In a perfect world, people would just do what you tell them to do, do it well, and do it without complaint.  But the world is never perfect.   In fact, more often then not people are going to fall short in one of those three areas and you are going to have to deal with it.  Now here is the hard part, how do you deal with it?  If you are like most people, you want to be liked.  Humans have this desire to be liked by other people.  However, all good managers at some point have to be an ass.  Either someone is going to screw up, and you are going to have to tell them they screwed up, or you are going to have to tell someone something they don't want to hear.  Perhaps they are behind schedule on a key project or you can't give them the promotion or the position they want.  Whatever the case may be, most people do not want to be the bearer of bad news.

I've learned to deal with it in a relatively easy way.  I've just accepted that work is not a popularity contest, it's work.   If people decide they don't like me because I had to tell them something they didn't want to hear or make them do something that they didn't want to do so be it.  I've made plenty of friends in my life and a few people not liking me is OK.  That doesn't mean I'm a jerk at work, I hate those guys as well, but at work, I do what I have to do to get the job done.   Most people accept that and even respect that.  In fact, I have found that most people hate those managers who go to the other extreme, try to please everybody.  In the end, when you try to please everybody you please nobody.  So long as you are consistent in your message, and people know you are working toward the good of the company or the team, things seem to just work themselves out

1 comment:

  1. You can't please everyone. I agree that as long as you give a consistent message, "let's get things done", people will at least agree with you on that point.