It goes with the territory

Deviations from the plan. Disruptive behaviour. Non-compliance with systems and procedures. Whingeing. Grievances. Complaints. Disputes. Unsafe work practices. Sub-standard performance. Damaged relationships. Conflict. Tension. Stress. Hurt feelings. No cooperation. And this is on a good day. It can drive you nuts. Just as you fix one problem and everything settles down and returns to normal - bang - something else happens. Who would want to be a manager? This is the lot of the manager. This is why managers exist. If work groups engaged in none of the above behaviour, managers might become an extinct species. The manifestations of the human condition in the work place creates the need for managers. Before you take on the job of manager, be aware of what you are taking on. Your role is not to focus on the technical aspects of the work your group performs. That is why you have a work group of, hopefully, technically skilled people. Your main focus needs to be on the conceptual and human factors that affect performance. (See You Lead, They’ll Follow volume 2) Your primary purpose as a manager is to deal with the above issues or, better still, put in strategies and actions which eliminate or modify the causes of these types of work place behaviours. Apart from getting the technical aspects of your job down, you have to be an amateur therapist, counsellor, psychologist, arbitrator, mediator, bouncer, coach, guide, trainer, mentor, inspector, diplomat, negotiator, informant, peacekeeper, referee, confidant, advisor, politician, motivator, fugleman (don’t ask me, ask Dr Roget) and a role model to boot. Phew. That’s a hard ask. No wonder many of us struggle. And as many an experienced manager will tell you, the behaviour of people in the workplace can be very exasperating at times. There will be times when you are attempting to introduce something which you genuinely believe is in the best interests of everybody and somebody will block it or complain or adopt a negative stance. Be mindful too that the above manifestations of the human condition in the work place may have little to do with yourself. You may not be the cause, but you still have to try and deal with the consequences. It will be handy to remember the ‘serenity prayer’ – Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. (Not to be confused with the ‘senility’ prayer: Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.) So don’t get over-stressed (just the right amount of stress will do) when things go awry because, as sure as politicians lie and lawyers overcharge, they will. Expect these things to happen. No matter how good you are as a manager, you will experience many of these behaviours – to degrees more or less – during your career as a manager. That’s why we have managers. Now just before you all rush off and resign your commission as managers, let me add a little balance. When a manager is managing his or her people effectively, many of these things are replaced by the immense satisfaction of people working productively and well together. And that’s a real buzz. From the international best-selling books, ‘You Lead, They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really.’ Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Kehoe published by McGraw Hill. for on-line orders. Daniel Kehoe provides a range of innovative tools for leadership, people management and business improvement to small, medium and large organizations including the You Lead, They’ll Follow Experience® and Systematic-Innovation® - one of the best ideas management systems on the planet. See T 08 9477 1135 E

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