The Harsh Realities of Work
Picture this: It’s Friday evening, and you’re sitting at your favorite local watering hole with a few friends. In between the banter about weekend plans and relationship struggles, someone inevitably brings up their work week.
It’s starts like this… “I can’t believe my boss made me do X…” “If only I had the freedom to X…” “If I was in his/her position, I would never micromanage in the same way as X.”
No matter what the situation, managers are often the first to bear the blame when an employee is disgruntled at work.
Are there some terrible managers out there in the world? YOU BET. For every stellar leader, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of absolutely miserable managers.
Having now been on all sides of the equation (subordinate, manager, client, and vendor), I’ve picked up on some interesting management nuances I’d like to discuss in today’s article.
1) You Fall Into One of Three Categories — At the end of the day, there are really only three groups of people in a work environment.
- Come up with strategy/vision
- Translate that vision into actions
- Carry out the day-to-day tasks
Before anyone has the right to start complaining about management in their organization, it’s crucial to first understand where they fall on this spectrum. Since most people are based in the “carrying out actions” category #1, it stands to reason the majority of their interactions with management will be time-sensitive and task-based.
Example management request: “Bobby, I need your help to deliver 10 TPS reports by Friday.”
Many people mistakenly label this as “micromanaging” when truthfully, it is the harsh reality of residing in category #1 on the spectrum.
2) The Responsibility of the Managee — The second harsh reality of management involves an inward analysis.
Is your manager the problem? Or are you as the employee the real problem?
I (like most people) do not desire to work in an environment with day-to-day monotony. I prefer to be given long-term objectives/results and the freedom to set a plan to accomplish those objectives as I see fit.
The problem is, this freedom comes with significant responsibility — responsibility that most employees are unwilling to accept. As I mentioned in my How to Start a Company video, the vast majority of people don’t want to think that hard. They just want to be told what to do each day.
Functioning in a work environment free from “micromanagement” requires an intense commitment to the project at hand. It requires time management, creativity, honesty, resourcefulness, perseverance, and judgement.
The bottom line is it requires a lot of work.
If someone resides in management category #1 but does not demonstrate the commitment it takes to get to the next level, I’m afraid they are equally to blame for their unhappiness.
3) The Infantry Parallel — The third and final reality of management speaks to the leaders themselves.
In my years in the working world, I’d say one of the top three reasons people people lose interest, become unproductive, and leave their jobs stems from the following time-tested phrase: A leader cannot expect his/her team to do what he/she is unwilling to do.
The classic example is a general sitting in a boardroom while troops are sacrificing their lives on the battlefield. If a leader is unwilling to stand on the front lines, make cold calls, work in the hot sun, and spend night after night away from their families, they cannot expect their soldiers, salespeople, construction workers, and doctors to do the same.
As you start your weeks, I encourage you too to think about how you want to be managed. Are you doing everything you can to reach the next level of management? Or do you share some of the blame?
See you next Sunday at 8:30pm. 🙂