As a manager, you can’t afford to indulge in the mistaken fantasy of simply commanding and having your employees snap to attention and accomplish everything in perfect harmony. It’s a lot messier than that. Here are a few things you should know before getting started.
Due to the fact that our brains process tons of information, it’s wired to try to figure things out as soon as possible and free up that mental space. This can lead to quick judgments, which rarely ever capture what’s actually happening. Look for both sides of a story, and back up your judgments with data.
Your job as a manager is to make goals and then to choose a course of action to reach them. These goals are based on information, but maybe not all of the information. Speak with people on all levels of the company to get different perspectives on what effects your choices might have.
A talented employee who immediately grasps the concepts and technology you work with is like a holy grail. Finding it is more trouble than it’s worth. Rather, invest in the people you do have, and offer quality training that will help your employees develop into the potential that everyone has.
Say you do stumble across the aforementioned holy grail. They’re going to do a lot of good for your company, but the problem is that they can only do so much. They’re just one person, and they’ll run out of steam eventually. It’s a much better idea to have a group of capable employees work together to accomplish things that no one can do by themselves.
Numbers are great. They behave in precise, measurable ways, and you can do lots of fun things to manipulate them to your advantage. But in the end, numbers and business strategies can only take you so far. The biggest companies in today’s spotlight—giants like Google, Apple, and Microsoft—only became what they are now because someone had a dream, then formed that into a mission that they built everything else around. A mission will guide you when you feel like faltering.
If your employees don’t enjoy working for you, then their productivity will suffer. True, you must have rules and structure, but you also have to be willing to bend and adapt. With the way society, technology, and industry are constantly changing, you have to be willing to trust in a new way. As with any too-rigid substance under pressure, a rigid culture will break under the pressure of change.