If it Wasn’t for the People…They Wouldn’t Need Managers

If it Wasn’t for the People…They Wouldn’t Need Managers


In my more negative moments as a manager I have found myself saying, “if it wasn’t for the people this job would be easy”. Well, if it wasn’t for the people they wouldn’t need managers. Most of the time I really do enjoy the people. I enjoy encouraging, supporting, and assisting them to achieve our common goals as an organization.

There are times every day though where people can be the most difficult part of the job. People issues present some of the toughest issue that a manager has to deal with on a daily basis from settling disagreements, addressing performance issues, or just dealing with negative attitudes. How we handle these issues goes a long way toward how we are seen in the eyes of our subordinates and peers, and also determines our success in leading a team.

While I have not mastered all personnel issues, nor do I think I ever will, I do have some tips that may help in dealing with the people we lead.

  1. Remove the emotion – this is the toughest thing to do and the one that derails most manager’s good intentions. We are all human and by our nature we are often ruled by our emotions. As a manager you need to learn to be in control of your emotions and to not let them cause you to make bad decisions. You need to keep calm, keep in control, and deal with issues, not personalities. Remember, it is the behaviors that are the problem – keep focused on them.
  2. Always stick to the facts – one good way to take emotion out of any situation is to stick to the facts. Don’t let people drag you down into innuendo and supposition. Focus all discussions on what is known and insist on facts when dealing with issues.
  3. Focus an employee’s attention on what is in their control. Don’t allow an employee to keep focusing on what others are doing or not doing. Make them understand that the only thing that is in their control is their own actions and that is the only thing they need to concern themselves with.
  4. Turn an employee’s thoughts toward solutions and away from problems. Too often people want to come to us to complain without ever considering what the solution to the problem might be. When somebody brings a problem to you don’t just take care of it for them, ask them what they think the solution to the problems is. If you ask every time somebody brings a problem to you they will soon realize that they need to think of a solution before coming to you and it may get them to solve their problems on their own. At the very least it will get them thinking in terms of solutions and not just problems.
  5. Always focus on the positive. You need to model the behaviors you wish to see, so focus on the positive and look for the best in people. Thank people when they point out issues to you and work with them to come up with solutions. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the negative or to only see the bad that people do. Look for the good that your people are doing and recognize these things on a daily basis.

Dealing with people isn’t easy and it can often be frustrating. We deal with many different personalities and conflicting needs. It is our job to focus our attention and that of our people on the positive, seeing problems as opportunities and finding solutions that benefit everybody.


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