Is it really that hard to be a manager?

ManagementIt can’t be that hard to be a manager. Can it?

All you need to do is stay on top of things, fix what needs fixing, and make other needed improvements along the way.


You probably know someone who is sharp as all get-out and would make a great manager. But they tell you they have zero interest, and in fact dearly love being among the managed.

They are probably even smarter than you gave them credit for.

Managing well takes a lot more than just smarts. It’s one of the more difficult things to do. For one, most people think they already know everything.

And second, most people don’t like being told what to do.

Most, but not all.

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There are those who don’t want to learn anything. Instead, they want to be told exactly what to do, and when, and how.

And the first time you forget to tell them exactly what to do, and it doesn’t get done, they say, “Well, nobody told me!”

The point is that people come in all variety of styles, and needs.

For the manager serious about motivating staff and keeping people productive, the challenge is to customize the things you do in such a way that you engage each person’s unique emotional, psychological, and intellectual needs.

And while you are busy perfecting the art of great management, try to avoid these four bad habits that are so easy to fall back into.

Do their work for them

You already know you can do the work better and faster than they can. That’s how you got promoted in the first place. It’s also true that sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

But the way this plays out is, that if you keep doing work the work they should be doing, a year from now you will still be working like crazy, none of your staff will have gotten better at their jobs, and your department and/or company will not have moved forward.

You know a that’s called? Failure.

Treat people unfairly

Being human means you’re going to connect more with some people than with others. Being a manager means you can’t let that get in the way of helping all your people get better at what they do, and delivering the things they need to be better employees.

Caution: Treating people fairly does not mean treating people equally. Some people want to go to a week-long training seminar, and some want a three-week vacation. That’s very different. To treat people equally, you must first learn what work challenges them, then learn what goals they have, and then bring the two together.

Ignore bad attitudes

Why is it that bad attitudes are more infectious than good ones? Every manager has at least one person who thrives on negativity and is forever trying to get others to see the world through tainted lenses.

Misery loves company, and it’s tempting to ignore the constant complainer as a crank who no one takes seriously. But ignore them at your own peril, for sooner or later, the complaints will lead to a confrontation that can undermine authority.

Set poor examples

There is nothing more demoralizing for employees than seeing a manager who says all the right things, but does not live by those values. Why would an employee want to maintain a high standard of performance when the manager doesn’t?

When management leads by example, employees get the message that mission, codes of conduct and treatment of the customer and co-workers are important.

So feel free to say what you mean and mean what you say. Stick to your promises and commitments, and employees will, too.

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