If you want to be a happier manager, you’re not alone! In a 2011 Berrett-Koehler survey of 150 leaders, a stunning 68% of managers confessed they don’t actually like being managers. So what can you do about it?
The best leaders can see it as the signal to make a change. An effective manager or leader doesn’t make excuses and stay stuck in a rut. They figure out how to extricate themselves and reconnect with their sense of passion and meaning so that they can be a happier manager. Here are 5 things that you can do to be a happier manager:
Be a Happier Manager By Recognizing Myths At Work
First, is it possible you’re managing by hit or myth? (myth meaning a long-standing belief that could be debunked).
The book, ‘Myths of Management: What People Get Wrong About Being the Boss’ (by Stefan Stern and Gary Cooper CBE (Kogan Page 2018) presents 44 of what the authors say are faulty beliefs:
For example, some myths include: that leadership is more important than management/that there is one right way to lead or manage/that you must keep up with all the new management ideas and give them a try. Stern and Cooper gently kill off these myths, while sharing how to find the balance. That’s my goal as a career consultant and coach, as well – to find the balance that works for you.
Be Authentic – and Flexible
I’ve been reading another book – ‘Managing For People Who Hate Managing: Be A Success By Being Yourself’ by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. 2012).
According to Zack, success as a manager comes through finding the managing style that fits who you are. This is not to say you can do whatever you want. As she says, “Be who you are – just flex your style to manage others.” Whether the approach you take is tough or mild, it’s about a range of techniques – being versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate. The ideal is “maximizing your rapport with others while maintaining your core of integrity.”
Be Accountable to Be a Happier Manager
You may dislike of being a manager because you are not taking charge of and ‘owning’ what you do. As I say in my ebook ‘The Top 5 Advantages of Hiring A Business Coach Today’ accountability means owning responsibility for all your decisions and actions regardless if the outcome is good or bad. Accountable leaders do not point fingers to try and shift responsibility to others when things go wrong. They focus on fixing the problem and making things right.
The Value of Learning and A New Perspective
Could you benefit from research, a refresher course and refreshed relationships with colleagues? In my work with executives and entrepreneurs, I have often found that those who remain open to learning and flexibility are more likely to ‘close’ in on success. Approach struggles and setbacks as great opportunities to refine skills, grow professionally, and meet and conquer challenges
While you may not enjoy what you’re doing, doing it well can provide a lot of satisfaction. Of course, if you dislike being a manager at your current company, there may be issues that are too major to overcome. This month I’ll be writing more about how to find a new position, professionally.
Improve Your Managerial Skills With A Business Consultant + Coach
You may be an expert in terms of education and experience in your specific field, but you may not be proficient with the management skills needed to run an effective team. A business consultant/coach can help you develop those critical interpersonal, strategic and management skills that are essential to be effective at any level.
I can help you pinpoint the cause of why you are overwhelmed and becoming unproductive, and help put you on the path to make changes. Please download my free ebook, and let’s arrange a 30-minute initial meeting. It’s easy to manage and can help you significantly improve your managerial skills.
Tackling business including how to achieve goals, set priorities and improve skills is often helped by a great cup of coffee (or tea or juice). As a business/career coach, I sometimes treat clients and colleagues, as I advise them on many career and management issues. And one place I used to go was a local coffee-deli-restaurant-bakery I’ll call BCW (now closed and replaced by a new business). What happened to BCW – and could a business coach have helped? Keep reading to find out.
Though it was a social venue, it often was, like many cafes, a meeting place for business meetings. Its very location was a kind of ‘how to succeed’ geographically. BCW was located on a main street, near a busy intersection with a streetcar and bus stop. It was spacious, yet intimate, with a summer patio. Yet, sites like Reddit and Yelp had no shortage of opinions as to why it’s good riddance.
Amidst the raves for certain menu items, there were dozens of comments and complaints about the service, the food, the size of the place and dealing with difficult people including the owner. Maybe she was overwhelmed at work. Many ‘posters’ recommended the nearby Starbucks as the better place to go. As I read the complaints, I began to get a picture of what *might* have caused this angst. ‘What not to do’ morphed into ‘how to manage well, reduce stress at work, meet and exceed goals with great service’, and overall ‘how to succeed’ in a business.
New Perspective from a Business Coach
Good decisions, bad decisions – sometimes it helps to have an outside-inside professional, like a Career Management and Business Coach to help you manage the myriad of issues in your working day. I generally work with corporate executives, but doing business day-to-day involves people from all disciplines. There are some things big corporations can learn from small business and vice versa.
As for what you can do when you’re at the mercy of review sites, and people dumping on you just because they can? Not much, because the web is all about democracy. The owner of BCW is still seeing these reviews, even though her business has shut down.
When (and if) you should defend your reputation online is something I’ll address in another post. For now, try envisioning your business as a main-street café. Where everything you do/don’t do contributes towards success or failure of that business. Where the world has a front row on how you prep and implement throughout the day. Your workplace ambiance has to be pretty darn good for people. That it’s the kind of meeting-place that succeeds with customers and clients.
Would you like to talk about your business issues over coffee? Consider the initial meetings as the appetizer before the ‘entree’ into complete career and business coaching! Book an appointment today.
In a few days, there will be an election in the Province of Ontario. As Kathleen Wynne conceded over the weekend, that means there will soon be hundreds of Liberal political staffers, and a few MPPs, looking for work. That is part of the real aftermath of an election.
Now, if you’re not a fan of the Ontario Liberal government — and not a lot of people are right now — you’re probably not going to lose a lot of sleep if they’re voted out of office. If you’re a Liberal political staffer, you’ve probably already lost sleep — and you’re about to lose a lot more as you try to figure out what to do next. But, if you’re an employer, you should probably be excited because a lot of talented people are going to be available for hire soon.
That’s because political staffers come with a skill set that are valuable to companies and leaders. Unlike officials in the bureaucracy, political staffers don’t have job security. Rather, they serve a minister or premier and get fired when their party loses an election. After an election loss, these highly skilled people all hit the workforce at the same time creating a temporary smorgasbord of talent.
While private sector employers may not be aware of the qualities that political staffers bring, they are incredibly valuable. They include:
When your job depends on the government being re-elected, you have a built-in incentive to work as hard as possible to help your party succeed at the polls. Political staffers are used to working long hours and being on call — and doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
Politics is one of the biggest employers and incubators of communications talent. Again, when your job depends on persuading people, you get pretty good at crafting a message, managing issues and dealing with the media.
Every day, even very junior political staffers give advice or make decisions involving millions of taxpayer dollars. To do this properly, staff need to be able to analyze the risks and rewards of a project from all sides. As a result, people who have made a career in politics usually have excellent decision-making skills.
Flexibility and adaptability:
Consider all the government portfolios – education, health care, infrastructure, transportation, natural resources, environments Each of these has its own dedicated ministry. Most political staffers have worked for multiple ministries, meaning they can quickly adapt to new files, people and new projects.
Immediately, political staffers are thrown into morning briefing meetings with government ministers and senior leaders. This can include the premier or prime minster. Even the most junior staffer has a lot of experience dealing with big personalities and high-stakes meetings. Policy staff, in particular, are used to high-level meetings with companies, governments and other stakeholders.
Though you might think it was more advantageous to hire staff from the current governing party, it is even smarter to hire staff from a party just out of power. In Ontario, where one party has been in charge for 15 years, staff turnover has meant that many former staffers now have key and senior positions in organizations all over Ontario. These people — thousands of them — are all connected through LinkedIn and Facebook. This massive and very loyal network can be helpful when you’re looking for a vendor or a contact or information about an issue — and they all have relationships with senior government bureaucrats.
In the next few weeks, when these talented people hit the market, some private sector employers will gloss over their resumes, thinking that they’re typical “government” workers. But that’s a mistake your competitors are going take advantage of. Bankers – take a good look at Finance ministry staff. Corporations and startups – kick the tires on some Economic Development staff. Run a clean-tech company? Environment staff. Universities? Education staff. And on and on it goes.
Originally published in the Financial Post.
Image: Financial Post
To find out more about how to choose the right people, contact me.