I have many clients who don’t enjoy and actually hate working with people. After working with me, some have grown so much they now excel at working with people. Others have made job changes that don’t require managing others…and are now successful in their careers. Some became entrepreneurs, believing it would prevent them from having to deal with managing people. Yet, they found that in order to make money, they needed acceptable people skills.
Whether you like managing people or not, good people skills are critical for success.
Managing people can be confusing:
- -They say one thing and do something different.
- -They get upset with you for telling them the truth.
- -They ignore your advice and do it their own way…to the detriment of others.
- -They lie about how difficult it is to work with you in order to further their own career.
Gordon is a manager in a technology company and has 10 team members that report to him. When there is a problem, he uses the ostrich approach and only gets involved when it’s absolutely unavoidable. He pits team members against one another by not filtering his comments. He says he detests chaos, but, actually thrives in it because he can swoop in to save the project and client.
After hearing many complaints, Gordon’s boss mandated he works with a coach. At first, he tried to manipulate the coach into believing he had the wrong team members. After all, it wasn’t his fault people were difficult to work with. But, the coach had a lot of coaching experience and started the process with a qualified job fit assessment on Gordon.
The assessment results showed Gordon he didn’t like managing people. He remarked, “True, but, there is no other way of making more money and landing a better position in the company.”
Over the next several months, he listened, became coachable, and used the advice the coach gave him to handle specific situations. He enrolled (and actively participated) in “soft skill” workshops. These built his confidence and competence. He still did not enjoy managing people, but, he learned how to effectively work with them and through them to achieve the intended results. A year later, he was promoted to the director level.
What Can You Do When You Hate Managing People?
- Clarify. Do you actually dislike working with people OR do you lack the training and experience to do so? To gain a realistic POV, use a qualified job-fit assessment. Using objective data will help you understand why you feel the way you do. It can also help you understand your team members and gain insight into how to improve your working relationships.
- Resolve Past Circumstances. When past issues have not been resolved (work, personal, and family), they’ve not been forgotten, even if you don’t consciously remember them. Take the time to talk out concerns (e.g., trust) and gain a healthier perspective by working with a therapist.
- Take Part in Soft Skills Training. Participate in workshops that focus on experiential processes, not concepts or theories. These will provide breakthroughs in how to work effectively with and manage people like a boss. Areas to focus on include: conflict resolution, active listening, building alignment, creating win-win-win outcomes, etc. As the boss, you probably will not love managing people, but, you will develop an effective management style over time.
- Hire an Executive Coach. And, find an industry mentor. Each can help you work through confusing situations and political relationships. As the boss, the keys are to listen and be coachable.
- Focus on the Project and Results. Focus on empowering your team. As the boss, provide clear goals, budgets, milestones, and expectations for projects. Manage according to milestones and provide needed resources for the team. Don’t manage people’s personalities. When conflicts occur due to team members being difficult, personally resolve it or bring in a facilitator. Remember, it does not mean you’ve failed when you bring in an outside executive coach to resolve a major issue. It actually makes you look successful.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
Being a great boss requires working through complex issues and confusing situations. Jeannette Seibly has been an award-winning champion for people for the past 26 years. Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results.
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