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Us vs. Them

Management: Who is it really for?

When I ask people why they became Managers, the reasons vary:

“I wanted to make more money.”

“I wanted to have more responsibility.”

“I want to stretch myself professionally.”

“I want to move up within my organization.”

Sad, but true – the responses all start with “I” but the job is really all about ‘THEM.”

I rarely hear “I want to develop people and help them develop professionally.”  Managers and supervisors are charged with getting work ‘done through others.’ If you truly believe that training, communicating, teaching, coaxing, cajoling, motivating, coaching, counseling, providing feedback, taking corrective action, mentoring is the job of the manager, then you know it’s about the results you get out of others that counts. Does it reflect well on you if you leverage the talent that reports to you to the best of their ability on behalf of the organizational objectives?   It should, and it often does.

But as the participants of the most recent Supervisory Boot Camp found,  how it ought to be in a perfect world where everyone behaves s you hoped and expected can be very different from the real world where people do what they want and much of it is not found in management books and training rooms.

The focus in the training room is on the person in the chair – the program attendee.

It isn’t on their boss. In fact many of the boss’s who sent participants to training, never told them why, what they wanted them to work on or get out of the program, or how they were going to support them when they tried new strategies and skills back on the job. We can’t do anything about them.

It isn’t on the employees. People who aren’t in the training room can’t be fixed, although I do bring my magic want and pixie dust for illustrative purposes. Employees are the challenge but the creative solutions have got to come from the only people I can talk to – the managers and supervisors who come to training.

While the job of managing is all about others, the focus on training is all about the manager. It is a job that can be filled with frustration, but it can be rewarding as well. It calls for energy and creativity, and my role is often to help people find both.  Whether you send someone or attend a training program, understand that everyone can benefit from the outcome.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 8:59 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.