Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why management is hard.



Although there are millions of pages of literature written on ‘how to’ manage, the fact remains managing people is and will always be difficult. One of the most obvious reasons is people are different (genetically and environmentally) hence respond differently to different stimulus at different times. A great manager is able to gage how that person is feeling that day and provide the right mix of challenge, support, motivation and accountability to get the job done.

If we look at the most successful managers of all time we would likely find very obvious and consistent strategies, styles and traits; leading by example, clarifying expectations, providing positive & constructive feedback & motivating the group through actions and words. Regardless of the performing situation, there needs to be 3 constants in order to ‘qualify success’. A goal. Accountability. Incentive. Without a goal, there is no direction and the chances of achieving the desired outcome diminish. An absence of accountability prevents the goal from being a shared process and without incentive (a finals, a target, a reward) there is no beginning and end to the entire process making it much more difficult to remain focused.

Management also spans 4 very important categories. Self, Team, Operations and customers. Often people believe business is contingent on 1 or 2 of the 4 categories ‘me’ (self) and the ‘customer’. This is why 1 in 5 businesses fail to make it to 5 years and of those 50% fail to make it to 10. A great manager knows that all 4 facets of their business require an equal amount of attention to flourish and grow and failure to focus on all of them will result in overall failure.

With that, you could imagine the greater the number of people in a business, the greater the challenge of effectively maintaining balance across all levels, which is why management is hard.

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