It is said that 70 per cent of people don’t leave their jobs — they leave their managers. This statistic came from research conducted by the Gallup Management Journal a few years ago, and not much has changed.
Middle managers and supervisors are the most important people in any organisation. If you are one of them, you are the person who has to get the best out of your team every day. However, your team’s performance is determined by the relationship they have with you.
I was a manager for 15 years and I know what is involved. You are stuck in the middle between the team member and your manager, and that can be a difficult position to be in.
Be a leader
Whether you are a manager or a supervisor, you need to think of yourself as more of a team leader. It doesn’t matter whether you are in sales or customer service or in a production situation — you are responsible for a team of people, and you are expected to achieve results through them.
Most of the managers that I have worked for, and worked with, were mediocre. Only one or two can be described as good. This is not a personal attack on these people; it is just what I have experienced as a team member and colleague. If you look back over your career, I am sure you have had similar experiences.
Why is this experience of poor management so prevalent? I believe it is due to the following:
Because it’s such a difficult job;
Nobody shows you what to do or gives you the right training;
Some media and popular culture send the wrong message; and
Some people don’t have what it takes to be a manager.
1. Being a manager is a difficult job
Managing people is a difficult job, but it is also very rewarding if you do it well. If you don’t get a buzz out of seeing a member of your team or the whole team doing well and being successful, then you are in the wrong job.
2. You do need training
Pester your manager for leadership training or do your own studies. For some reason or other, many organisations and senior managers believe that training is not required, and that you either have it or you don’t. This is not true, so get the help you need to become a great manager.
3. Ignore the wrong messages
You must have heard the old cliché “nice guys don’t finish first”. Some portrayals of successful leaders in books and movies lead people to believe that only tough, courageous, “no nonsense” type of people make the cut. And if you are gentle and kind to your team, then you’ll get walked on. Trust me, “tough guy” leaders will always have problems with their teams.
4. Maybe managing isn’t for you
People can improve with training but we have to accept the fact that some will not. You can send a poor manager on a training course, but he will either reject everything he hears or realise that he is in the wrong job.
You may start to feel that being a manager or team leader is not for you and that may be the case. You will obviously make your own decision about what track your career will take, but I would ask you not to give up too easily.
Some managers are in the wrong job, but they tend to be in the minority. If you feel that you are not having the success you should have, ask yourself if you have ever received any help.
Like many managers, you may feel that you are left very much on your own. You may feel very differently about managing a team when you have received the right training for the job.
It is useful to remember that how you manage your team can directly affect the company’s bottomline. As billionaire German entrepreneur Karl Albrecht said: “The way you treat your staff is the way they’ll treat your customers.”