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Whoever said managing people was easy certainly never worked in management. At first, we may consider that the job deals with the adequate distribution of tasks and delegating work — but a deeper dive into the subject quickly shows us that that’s not the case. When we realize how crucial the human factor is in all this, we begin to consider the careful observation of our thought patterns and actions.
Being in charge of a group of people mainly has to do with your soft skills and ability to connect with other individuals. Because truly hard skills are usually acquired and maintained through hard work and determination but it’s our soft skills (or lack thereof) that oftentimes get in our way.
In entrepreneurship and management, it’s exactly our ability to read people and situations that help us each time we need to take care of an issue in the team. Numerous times we’ve read and heard about the importance of showing empathy, strengthening the bond with our fellow employees and considering their opinions, feelings and ideas they have. And while this is essential, sometimes managers are not immune to crossing the line even when showcasing all the above-mentioned characteristics and patterns of behavior.
As managers, we may be crossing the line of successful leadership without even acknowledging it. Being aware of how others feel is perhaps the best way to keep great employees on board and let them further develop their skills.
Related: “I Wasn’t That Good at People Management”
4 mistakes to avoid to finally break the cycle of bad management
- You tend to view your team simply as employees without trying to see them as who they are as people. Now we see that crossing the line doesn’t always have to do with doing something — sometimes the lack of action whatsoever could also be viewed as inadequate management. Being unaware of your employees’ individualities could potentially lead to their discontent and feeling of being taken for granted. Engaging in conversations about their aspirations, goals and opinions on work and life would quickly upgrade your professional relationship and make room for mutual trust and loyalty.
- Not acknowledging their boundaries is something you should abandon altogether as behavior. Being close to the team doesn’t necessarily mean the employees don’t have their personal boundaries. There will always be topics out of question and you, as manager, should both be aware of what those are and make sure you never cross that line. Simply asking what conversational topics are acceptable is always the best approach.
- Do you demand your employees to be work-ready even outside office hours? If so, I’d advise you to reconsider this approach. Realizing that your team has their off time to recharge and relax is crucial for the long-term success of everybody involved. There are managers who expect everybody to be available all the time — this is not only unsustainable as expectations but also extremely detrimental to healthy professional relationships and maintaining a successful work-life balance.
- Exceeding your employees’ job specifications without ensuring proper training is something you need to reconsider. Sadly, there are managers who slowly start to delegate more and more tasks that exceed their employees’ capabilities without giving them the chance to learn and obtain new skills. This vicious circle of demand and discontent is proven to be a ticket toward employees leaving due to increased levels of stress and overall feeling of inadequacy.
Related: Master People and Money Management for Better ROI
Effective management has a lot to do with self-awareness
More often than not, we believe that successful management requires reading tons of specialized literature, attending numerous seminars and workshops or even landing a degree in the field. Make no mistake — I strongly recommend aspiring managers-to-be to go that road and gather as much expertise as possible. All the knowledge and education certainly pay off sooner or later.
I can’t stress the importance of being self-aware enough, as well as being aware of your surroundings and how others feel at any given moment. This way we achieve so much more than simply delegating work and keeping our projects afloat — we are able to build a community of individuals who are fulfilled with their needs met and opinions being taken into consideration. Essentially, it’s the professional relationships we build that matter the most whenever we ask somebody if they feel content with the job they have.
However, sometimes along the road of establishing professional relationships, managers tend to go a bit overboard and cross the line when it comes to the way they choose to communicate with their teams. It’s irrefutable that mistakes and mishaps will happen, but it’s in these moments that we are able to achieve elevated management style and become even better leaders and entrepreneurs.
It’s clear that managing people is by all means not an easy task — the good news is, however, we can all get better and better by simply working on our self-awareness and aiming at improving our soft skills.
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