Sometimes it’s hard to be a manager. That’s especially true when you’re in charge of employees with certain attributes which don’t show up until they’re well past their 3-month reviews.
But sometimes the problem employee you’re stuck managing has been there since the invention of the wheel. That employee is well known on their floor for engaging in behaviors which have their colleagues’ hands curled into fists for the better part of the day. Most of those behaviors stem from a misbegotten belief that their tenure indicates they know everything about every role in the company.
And when employees like this lurk, it’s your job to manage them – for your people.
But in this post, we’re going to tell you the one thing it takes to be a real manager. Not a nominal manager. Not an easily-bullied manager. Not an easily sucked-up-to manager. A real manager.
Read on to discover the secret of keeping it (managerially) real.
Pull No Punches
Whether your problem is the perpetually late newish hire who feels comfortable enough to go off the rails (having passed the audition) or the long-term employee whose welcome is wearing thin, not dealing is a cop out.
You’re a manager. You’re there to manage. So, when it’s clear there’s a problem, guess whose it is?
Taking on the problem directly is what a real manager does. Confrontations aren’t necessary, because you’re a manager and part of your skill set is knowing how to pet the cat in the right place.
Far too often, people in managerial positions lament the fact that situations like these fall under their purview. They don’t like being the “bad guy”. They don’t want to make anyone feel horrible. And God forfend that they should ever have to fire someone.
But to be a real manager, you need to be willing to be the bad guy sometimes, for the sake of your department, your people and your reputation as a manager.
Weak Manager, Toxic Workplace
Nobody’s saying you need to be feared to be effective. Quite the opposite. You need to be a presence your people can count on to act when action is required.
And in the case of the newish hire who disappears for 3 hours at lunch time, or the long-term employee who meddles continually, direct action is most definitely required.
Being direct means not allowing toxic situations to flourish. Those situations can burn through the workplace like wildfires.
Action means you approach situations which may potentially decrease your department’s effectiveness and morale and neutralize the problem. That may mean a firing. But it usually means letting people know they need to get their poop in a group.
So, the one thing it takes to be a real manager is to be an advocate who speaks on behalf of your team directly, intelligently and with purpose. You don’t let things boil over. You turn down the heat, so people can get back to work.
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