Hard Truths About People Management That No One Told You
Most people become managers because they perform exceptionally well as Individual contributors, and hence they get promoted. One of the first things organizations do to give them more responsibility is handling and managing others, aka. “a team.” Lo and behold, you are suddenly a manager responsible for other people’s tasks.
This transition comes naturally to some, but it doesn’t come as easy as that for others. The most significant change is to understand that you are not only responsible for your tasks but others’ tasks as well. How to ensure that the team’s objectives are met? Suddenly, there are new expectations. And this is when no one has taught you how to manage teams or people before. No school or college imparts this knowledge. You are thrown at the pool’s deep end, and you have to swim out of it. Maybe there is a small life jacket thrown your way in terms of manager training.
As you keep progressing in your managerial career, you discover the responsibilities and challenges along the way. There are some hard truths about people management that most managers only figure out after years and years of people management. Some keep fighting these hard truths without accepting them.
One of such hard truths is that “There is no such thing as a perfect employee.” You will never find an employee 100% fit in every situation. The right way to approach this puzzle is to look for different pieces that fit together. It is not about finding the perfect employee. It is actually about creating the ideal team that delivers on your objectives day in and day out.
Another hard truth that managers take time to understand and accept is that “You can’t control everything.” You can try your hardest to control everything, but in the end, you’ll eventually fail due to various factors. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to delegate and let go. Delegating tasks and responsibilities allows you to focus on the crucial things. By being proactive about delegation, you’ll be able to manage your time more effectively.
There are six other hard truths like the above two. You can read them here.
When managers take the people management role for the first time, they start managing the team’s work the way they used to work as individual contributors. When they see things not happening the way they would have done it, they feel naturally inclined to “step in” and “rescue the situation” themselves. This automatically leads to a micromanagement tendency. They initially succeed with this technique because Micromanagement works well in certain situations.
But they get a false sense of success and understand that this is the only way to get the results from the team. And hence, the bad habits of Micromanagement set in deep into their managerial styles. That’s when the heartburn for managers starts. The team becomes demotivated by excessive Micromanagement, their performance drops, and they start exiting.
Read more about Micromanagement and how you can avoid it as a manager.
In the end, managers must understand that people management is all about balance and situational awareness. You are balancing the team’s needs vs. performance needs. Balancing stakeholders and ensuring no one is ignored. Understanding situations and responding accordingly. Basically, one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Actual effectiveness in people management comes in by building the core skill set required for people management. These are the manager’s ability to guide, analytical skills, emotional competence, and interpersonal skills. Each of these is an onion that you need to open layer by layer.
There are a few tips that we have put together for effective management in such new roles.
In the end, people management can be extremely rewarding or extremely frustrating. It just depends on how you approach it. You can take it as it comes and leave it to luck. Or you can take it by the horns and learn how to become an effective people manager. But one thing is for sure. Your career growth is dependent on your ability to lead and manage people. If you are good at it, you will succeed, no doubt. But if you are not, you will still grow to a certain level before hitting a plateau.