|The most important management secret you'll ever need
||[Aug. 31st, 2016|10:02 pm]
I've spent my whole life managing people. I'm really, really good at it. (And modest, too. Ha, no, who the hell am I kidding? I mean, I can't walk through a room without getting a bruise or knocking something over, but I do have my strengths. Mastering gravity is not one of them. Mastering people, a little more so.)
Anyway, here's the great sadness: I was a mediocre manager for most of my career. No, wait, I've worked for a lot of really shitty managers, and I'm excluding the actual sociopaths from that list, so let's call me above average, let's give me that. But that's really it.
The problem, the reason why we have so many shitty managers, the reason why your boss may well be the very thing that keeps you from maximum performance, is that our corporate culture takes someone who's good at doing a thing, then calls them manager and puts them in charge of other people who are doing the thing. As though managing people doing the thing is the same as doing the thing. Newsflash, poppets, it is most decidedly NOT. Oh, you have insight into the work that your subordinates are doing, but calling you a manager and expected that you'll suddenly know how to manage is well, asinine.
I mean, for pity's sake. You're familiar with ducks, right? Swim around in the pond, quack, lay eggs, eat breadbits, waddle. So, if I decide one day to call you a duck, you're ready, right? No, of course, not. There's no way you're going to be good at being a duck. You probably don't even have a corkscrew penis or vagina for starters. Wait, you didn't know that about ducks?
See what I mean? Calling you a duck, or a manager, does NOT suddenly gift you with all of the stuff you need to know to be a good duck or a good manager. And that makes me really mad. Because you're being set up to fail. And there is no excuse for that beyond that's the way we've always done it, we don't have time to do it righ,t and all of the other lame-ass excuses that lead to fucknutty poor performance.
So, is there really one "trick" to being a good manager? Christ on a cracker, do you actually think I'm going to clickbait you like that? No, not a trick. But a philosophy. One that will put you yards ahead of your colleagues. Also, make you seem like much less of a prick as a manager.
Here's the thing: start addressing behavior, not the person. While I will admit that there are certainly some bad people, on the whole, honestly, mostly people are good, want to be good...they just behave badly sometimes. And the big, ginormous mistake most managers do is to take aim at the essence of someone's being. When really all they want is to fix behavior.
Want to get the best out of your employees? Stop attacking them. Oh, go ahead and deny it -- but when you say "you need to be on time" or "you need to clean that up" or "you need to get that report to me as soon as possible" -- what you are saying to that person is "there is something wrong with you that you need to correct, something sub par".
So here it is, drum roll...Just try saying "I need you to" instead of "you need to". Sounds small?...insignificant...mote-like...a gnat on the ass of the universe? Well, no offense, but you're fucking wrong about that. It's huge.
Because when you say "you need to be on time" there is an undercurrent. A message that either the person screwed up or is just a screw up in general. It's actually a personal attack. A micro aggression, if you will. But we are soooo used to it that we barely hear it. Until someone changes it around...and that manager becomes the person that you actually tolerate, if not enjoy, working for.
Because when you say "I need you to be on time" (Or the team needs you to be on time, or we need you to be on time) what you're telling them is "here is a thing to fix, a thing to solve". There's nothing wrong with you as a human being, just a behavior or a thing you need to do. It's a tiny, tiny thing, this language change, it really is -- at least in the saying of it. But it can have a profound effect on the person you direct it at.
Seriously, try it. "I need that report from you by Friday. Is that possible?" Here's what happens: you've given them a chance to be hero. To help you. You've told them that they have a chance to be, if not a hero, at least the one who saves your bacon. Everyone wants to help save their boss's bacon.
Or, go ahead, tell them "Get that report done by Friday." Or "you need to get that report done by Friday" Or any of the other douchebaggy things that managers say to you. That make you feel like you're in trouble, on the verge of screwing up, the thing that is keeping your company or boss from being successful. Oh, you'll probably do it. But you're likely going to feel resentful.
Seriously, just try it "I need you to"...
Because that not only effects the person you're talking to, but also you. It makes you realize that your job is not just telling people what to do. Your job as a manager is to accomplish a thing -- run a profitable business, deliver projects on time, solve problems for clients. And the people who work for you? They are the resources that will help you accomplish that thing. They are your resources, my friend...not your fucking flunkies.