Managing Is Difficult

When I was in business school, I thought management was
easy. Organizational behavior, business statistics, finance, HR policies – no problem.
When I took my first real job as a
manager of a fast food restaurant, my perspective changed quickly.

Management tasks
are indeed easy. What makes a traditional manager’s job difficult, IMHO, is
dealing with uncertainty, irrational behavior and carrying the responsibility to press
forward.

I suspect these are common challenges for people anywhere,
regardless of job status or position. But I bet managers and supervisors encounter
these challenges more often.

Uncertainty

I think dealing with uncertainty becomes easier with
experience, but it remains difficult and uncomfortable. A manager’s
job is to eat uncertainty. I’ve came
across three tips I like for dealing with uncertainty; they all require a
little introspection.
1. Accept the Impact Bias: We tend to think future outcomes (good
or bad) will have a greater effect than they actually have.
2. Accept the
Risk/Reward Bias: We see all the things that could go wrong instead of focusing
on the long-term.
3. Stay grounded.

Irrational Behavior

One tip for dealing with irrational behavior is to
remember that the person who is exhibiting the behavior may not be aware of
doing so. It helps you, the manager, to think more clearly and be consistent. If the
employee’s behavior is unwanted, make a note in your performance log. You can also coach the employee and communicate/clarify your
expectations. Keep in mind that it’s possible you are the one acting irrationally.

Responsibility To Press Forward

Productivity consultants, time management courses, willpower
and determination – I’m not sure what makes a person press forward, but it’s
part of the job. You can’t just quit. Even in the midst of adversity; equipment
failure, layoffs, personal drama, red ink – the show must go on. And forward, with focus on the future. Dan
Pink
identified three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and
purpose. I suppose that the ability
to press forward comes natural as you become more connected to your
organization, its values and people.

What do you think? What makes your job challenging?

Thanks for managing!

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