Managing in the Real World

We don’t manage people; we manage relationships. People manage themselves; they choose their own behaviors. Managers create the environment in which people choose to join with them in meeting the goals of the organization.

We don’t do business with organizations; we do business with people. All successful business interactions depend on relationships with people within those organizations.

The failure of all relationships is the failure of expectations. No matter what the relationship, we have certain expectations about what we need or want from that relationship or that person. If we assume that the other person knows what those expectations are without communicating them, our assumption may lead to disappointment and conflict.

Assumption is the parent of all mistakes.

The only way to clarify expectations and assumptions is to communicate them, openly, honestly, and with respect and trust, accepting that they cannot be met unless they are understood.

Communication involves listening as well as speaking. Listening with empathy requires respecting another’s knowledge, opinions, perspective and integrity, even when you hold a different point of view.

It is commitment, not authority, that gets results. It is the manager’s responsibility to develop relationships and communicate a vision of excellence that pulls rather than pushes others to join with that vision and that manager in achieving desired results.

It is the employee’s relationship to the manager rather than the task that most affects employee performance. Employees become vested in the success of managers they respect and who respect them as partners in meeting the goals of the organization.

All employees want to be treated with respect and dignity. They also want their concerns and issues to be respected, even if they may seem insignificant to others.

All employees want to be treated with equity and fairness. Employees know the difference between fair treatment and “equal” treatment. They recognize that while things may look the same from the outside, fairness may require different treatment for similar behavior based on individual circumstances.

No performance problem that is ignored gets better on its own.

The only way people know that their performance is unacceptable is to be told, with courage and compassion, in specific terms which describe, rather than characterize, the behaviors which need to be changed. Take care of problems while they are small and correctable.

We don’t manage time; we manage our priorities within the time we have available to us. Choosing the right priorities will determine our success and whether we have squandered or invested our time. Know which activities are most important to the mission and goals of the organization.

How we spend our time communicates our priorities to others. Employees pay attention to the things managers do and make judgments about what is important to them based on where and how they spend their time.

Guest Post by: Betty Shaffer, Shaffer and Associates – Tustin, California

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