Leaders direct their energy not only to useful things but also to exaggerated ones that aren’t worthwhile.
Photo by Katerina Holmes
We’ve all met them — managers who direct their energy to a few areas while they should be doing something else.
It is called the power of habit. If you are promoted to management from a specialist role, you are likely to micromanage tasks you used to excel at. Annoying right?
The exaggeration of some leaders is alarming. Should not they have a general overview? They should. But managers often choose to focus on situations and areas they are comfortable with.
Let’s not call them selfish, as it is not entirely correct. Managers who focus on themselves do not simply understand what their role is. Management is a combination of self + team.
Yet, many leaders forget about their team. They are worried about how others will see them. Whether they are successful or not. If people like them. If they do a good job.
Such managers are closed-minded corporate freaks. They completely waste their precious creative energy on themselves.
It’s always a wise idea to try to be useful and put your skills and passion towards tasks that can help and be productive.
You are a manager for a reason. If you struggle to accept your role, find the reason. Please do not judge others by your own standards. Self-reflection is important, but constant reflection is not going to bring you much.
2. Comparison to other teams
Comparison is helpful, healthy, and can lead to innovation. But comparisons also drive competitiveness, jealousy, and toxic culture.
You should avoid comparing too many teams to other teams. I know numbers matter, and productivity is the key indicator. Do it humanely. Do not treat people like chairs you have to fill in.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt
When you worry too much about how your team is doing and are carefully checking KPIs and timesheets, you only create hostility in your team. There should not be any winners vs. losers in company competitions.
Save your bitter comments for yourself. Accept your team for what it is. That is the way you learn to work well together. Otherwise, you lose a lot of motivation and energy by trying to mold them into standard tables.
3. Details without the bigger picture
Get over yourself, expert managers, and be ready to learn new skills. I know you are talented analysts, programmers, and project managers, but wake up.
Management needs to focus on the big picture, not only on task details.
If you had the chance, you would demonstrate how great you are all the time. You might want to steal tasks from your people and do them yourself as you like doing them. Your way can lead to micromanagement.
Always ask yourself why we do what we do and what is our purpose here. What is your role in the company? What big picture are you trying to achieve?
That is the key. Details do not matter that much. If one email is written like this and the other one is like that, but the meaning is the same, why make any problem out of it?
The big picture keeps your focus. Try not to lose it on the track.
4. Pocket money
Managers are often the most effective cashiers. They are worried about not spending too much on salaries, fruits in the office, business trips, or training.
I had a client who agreed to give a large budget to a colleague of mine. Eventually, he could not do it. I stepped in and offered my service. It was cheaper as we discussed how much to charge for the training. Well, this management client still pointed out how expensive I was and tried to negotiate the service.
The fun fact is that although you are responsible for some budget, the money is not yours. So, complaining about a few bucks here and there does not make any sense to me.
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. — Ayn Rand
Too much attention to money weakens team spirit. The best investment you can make as a manager is to invest whatever you can into your team.
Be generous when you can.
5. Internal fighting
Have you ever attended any management team meetings? Imagine a heated sweaty room full of big egos. Well, some management meetings can be like that. People hate each other.
Sadly, many companies have managers who pay too much attention to internal fights than to positive relationships. They want to humiliate their fellow managers and prove they are right.
Yes, that is right. Dysfunctional management teams are nothing new under the Sun, sadly.
Whom are you trying to help by arguing with each other? No one.
Definitely not your teams. It is pure energy waste.
Replace emotional disgust with an effort to work together respectfully. You are not asked to love each other. Just work alongside your teams.
Argue about ideas, not about relationships.
Decide to pay attention to…
Reasonable and kind relationships that will support employees’ development and build a culture rich in idea exchanges and performance appreciation.
Direct your energy towards building something remarkable together as a management team.
That is what matters. A team is stronger than an individual.
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