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Why has management become a dirty word?

Tip #1 on being more present


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What is the difference between leading and managing?

Why has management become a dirty word?

Everyone says they want to be “motivated” so we respond as leaders and try to inspire, but honestly, not all of us are truly good at delivering a message that is going to encourage our teams to perform. We avoid “managing,” but this means we might fire someone who is talented for the wrong reason, put the wrong person in the wrong role and expect them to succeed, pull together a top team and then watch them fail because we did not guide them. 

We are failing by leading. We will win by managing more.

Based on numerous studies for the last 20 years, we know that three out of four people hate their job. Who wins when someone hates their job? The customer? The boss? The employee? The team? No – no one wins and yet we tolerate this hatred of work for the primary reason that it feels like it’s too big of a problem to solve. I have great news for you – it’s not that hard!

We know the six things you need to do to help people love their jobs and it boils down to one fundamental principle:

Be more present. Manage more. Lead less.

My former employer, IBM, invested an enormous amount of money in training and I know that management is a skill – it’s trainable. Yet, when I left IBM to open Turning the Corner, I realized that no one in the small business community is doing this for their staff. People are promoted because we think they are good at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they will be successful managers. I’ve never met a born manager – ever. I’ve worked with close to 5,000 people myself and I’ve never met someone with a natural ability to manage. Managers are made – not born. Leaders are born – not always made.

I looked back over all the files we’ve collected over the last 6 years and documented all the reasons our clients say they hate their job. There about 13 reasons people leave a job, and 10 of them have to do with a bad manager. This is why I know we can fix this hatred of work together!

The first two reasons people leave a job are because they are micromanaged or ignored. These are default management styles for untrained managers, and they are by far the WORST styles of all. There are times to micro-manage and times to be hands-off, but more likely you need to train or coach even more.

Here’s how to know the best style when: It depends on how ready your employee is to do the work.

First of all, stop thinking about managing as something you do/or are to a person. It’s really about the task.

A few years ago, I had a new employee who’d been out of the market for many years. How would it have been if I had been hands-off with her? Her confidence was low and her ability wasn’t impressive either. All new employees feel this way on day one and sometimes for up to 2-3 weeks.

At this point, I needed to micro-manage her. I met with her every day. I talked at her for hours about what we do and why, and within a few days, she was no longer new, but now, a beginner. Larger companies have on-boarding training programs that do a lot of this for you, but if you don’t have one, the task is yours and it’s essential.

She reached a point when she didn’t need me lecturing her anymore, but she needed me to train her better – role-play with her – try things out and get my feedback and my correction. She was eager to learn, and her confidence was improving, but I also knew that she wasn’t ready to perform.  Soon, I could see that she was getting better, but I noticed she was almost less confident than before. She knew what she didn’t know and it scared her. Instead of getting annoyed at her or micromanaging her, I changed my style to coach her – I said “You’ve got this! I know you can do it! Let me see you do it again! YEP you’ve got this!”  And finally, with my effort building her confidence, she was thriving! She hardly needed me anymore. She has closed hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue for us.

If you are using more than one degree of management style away from where your employee is, you will have a disengaged employee. No one likes to work for someone that makes them feel incompetent. If you’re micromanaging a capable person or ignoring a needy person, you’re doing just that – Creating an unengaged employee.

Manage more. Lead less. Be more present!

This is just one of six tips I want to share with you about being present while managing. Watch for my next article to learn about my next tip – managing emotions!  

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Kendra Prospero

Kendra Prospero founded Turning the Corner to help people connect to work they love and to end suffering in the workplace. She helps companies fully support their employees and helps individuals find jobs they are passionate about. Kendra believes that people who love their jobs are happier, more productive, easier to manage, and are all around better workers. Turning the Corner helps people and businesses transform the way they think and feel about work. Contact her at 720-466-8876 or info@turningthecornerllc.com.

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