Be the Best Manager You Can Be ; The two main reasons managers fail and how to overcome them
By Mitch McCrimmon

Managers fail by not coping with the pressure they are under and by paying too much attention to the work itself and too little attention to people.
Can you describe the best manager you ever had? If you ask five colleagues this question you will get five different answers. The problem is that being the best manager is in the eye of the beholder and you can’t satisfy everyone. Still, there are some practical steps that will help you be the best manager you can be.

There are two main reasons why managers fail. The first is that they are caught in the middle between the people they manage and those that manage them. They are under tremendous pressure to produce. They feel anxious, vulnerable and exposed. Less effective managers can’t control or hide their anxieties so they dump on people reporting to them. This gets them some short term relief when people move faster, but they lose out in the longer term through higher turnover and lower employee morale.

The second reason managers fail is that they are more interested in the content of their work than in developing and coordinating the efforts of others. They expect their teams to run like machines with minimum attention while they spend their time doing what they perceive to be more interesting or more important.

The best managers overcome these hurdles. They can absorb pressure from above and they love seeing people developing, succeeding and having fun at work.

To be the best manager you can be, learn to control your emotions so you can handle the pressure without jumping all over your team every time a mistake occurs. It’s also vital to manage the expectations of your boss so you can minimize the stress placed on you in the first place. Don’t try to reason with your boss when he or she is angry. When your boss is in a good mood, discuss the damage that losing your temper can have on employee morale, retention and productivity. Then when a crisis happens and your boss gets angry, remind him or her about your agreement that if you get angry with your team you will do more harm than good. Do some reading on stress management as well.

To use your time well, follow the 80-20 rule. Allocate 20 percent of your time to the strategic matters that most interest you and 80 percent to developing, coaching, facilitating and motivating your team. Spend some time every week with each individual team member asking questions and doing a lot of listening. Ask what work they are most and least enjoying, what they would like to do more of or less of, what they would like to learn and what they need from you. Also, importantly, seek their input on work related issues rather than trying to be the person with all the answers. There is no better way of showing people you value them than to ask them for their opinion. Of course you have to listen genuinely and not just go through the motions like a store clerk mechanically telling you to have a great day.

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