Bromberg’s How to: Management
I recently had a very odd and disturbing experience regarding a management issue.
One person whom I oversee, we’ll call Joe, recently explained to me that I basically suck as a manager. Why not fire the person immediately? Aside from the fact that Joe was an independent contractor, he was needed for the time being in order to get the work done, which put me in the awkward position of “dealing with the BS” and just shaking it off when it was over.
When you are a manager you do your best to create solutions.
With this individual it wasn’t a question of being properly motivated, it was distaste for my management style, according to him anyway.
Some people cannot hold themselves accountable and/or they do their best to put blame on others. As a leader, this is one of the hardest things to manage—when people can’t see their own faults. Of course, that goes both ways, and it is ideal when both manager and employee come to terms with their own weaknesses and how to focus on their strengths.
Managing people is one of those jobs that some people should just not do because it is only for those with a certain disposition.
Some people are affable, thoughtful, reasonable, yet business-oriented and those people are in a good position for management. I like to think of myself as all of these so when I come across a challenge, like Joe, I need to refocus. I need to see what my options are and then proceed. Either I can just shake it off and be patient to see if the results improve (after offering my suggestions), or I could do something more drastic and find someone who will get the job done and not prove to be difficult. I have opted for option one but that is wearing thin, and now option two seems to be looking more attractive.
At some point, you realize that some people are not easily managed and will not be a good fit with your company no matter what you do.
What did he say that set me over to option two?
Thinking about this still makes me cringe. Joe said to me that he could do a better job than I could. Straight up, he tells me this. Joe said that not only am I not doing a good job but that I am basically a pimp, and that I am pimping him. Those were his words. He was saying that I am no manager, but a person making money off of others with no regard to anyone but myself. Ouch.
Joe went on to say that if I do something differently, which I will try (to humor him and entertain whatever solutions he thinks might help my bad management style), that he bet me $5000 that he would do a better job. I didn’t take this bet because I know he doesn’t have this kind of money, and just saying that was incredibly insulting. He also took note that I don’t have a degree in management and that I “need to read a book or take a class.” He then said, “don’t take it personal.”
I don’t have to continue expressing how damaging this was to me, given that these are things you just don’t say in a professional setting, especially to your superior. If I had stopped giving him work, he would have laughed and said, “Okay Mike, this just proves my point that you don’t know what you’re doing.” I didn’t want it to be left on that sour note. Plus, I would still need to have someone get that work done which would put be in a bind.
When you run into a challenge as a manager, you need to step outside yourself, consider your options, and proceed in a professional and positive way, as much possible at least. Sometimes not firing the person and not yelling at the person is being the bigger man. Sometimes you have to think about it as bad karma for them.
Either way, management can be a double-edged sword. Like any leader in business, you have to be ready to take a beating when it is not well deserved, or let someone else take the credit when you are the one who deserves it. Being a good manager is about knowing that at times you have to be uncomfortable to get things done, know your limits, and proceed with a clear mind.
I may not have a degree in management, both I strongly believe that this is advice that goes a long way when we are making decisions and dealing with “problem employees” or those that need to be managed more than others. Being a manager is about doing the right thing for the business, for you and your superiors, and hopefully your staff. You may not succeed in pleasing everyone all the time, but you have to know how to fight your battles so that in the end, you have as few losses as possible. Nobody ever said leadership was easy. But at least, I now can say someone I did business with thinks I am a pimp.