In business, management of people is no easy task and yet it is one of the things that has the largest impact on whether your firm thrives or falters. Dealing with a wide variety of different characters is difficult enough, but the day-in, day-out nature of working relationships means things are forever in a state of flux. You have never cracked it. There is always something to fix.
One of the biggest challenges is simply keeping in touch with the feelings of those you are managing. If you have been promoted, you will have seen how quickly your relationships with co-workers can change. It is not that they turn against you or anything like that. It is just a subtle change in attitude. Certain feelings are no longer shared. In modern parlance, you often find yourself out of the loop.
Unfortunately, this makes management more difficult and the further you progress in a company, the greater the disconnect between you and the majority of the staff. To some extent, this is unavoidable and you simply have to do what you can to try and keep tabs on feelings and opinions so that you can manage more effectively and successfully.
Many managers are fantasists. They define the company philosophy and expect employees to identify with it. They state goals and demand that people work to them. They are then baffled when these things don’t happen. They blame the individuals and may ultimately find themselves looking for replacements. They imagine these replacements will identify better with the company ethos and that things will therefore now go swimmingly. More often than not, the new members of staff react like the old ones.
If this is the case, there is clearly something else going on that the manager doesn’t know about. How can they discover what this is? One technique is to make use of employee engagement surveys.
You have to word a survey carefully to encourage honest answers, but if you manage this, you can get to the root of problems instead of forever attempting to deal with the symptoms. Human beings are complex and cannot be controlled like machines. They need motivation and to feel valued and different things affect these emotions.
You can only manage effectively if you understand how people are feeling and you also have to understand that people will feel differently at different times. Management is an ongoing job. You have never cracked it.