We can change. Human beings are quite good at it – resistant, maybe – but in general, good at change.
When tough situations occur, there are managers who know what to do and they do it. They do not shrink back from the situation. They see themselves in a place of responsibility in getting results for the organization and for their team, and they engage effectively and inspire action and excellence – regardless of the situation. Consistency is key for them, and frankly their performance is nothing less than remarkable. People want to be on their team, not because it’s easy, but because the leader is predictable, consistent, and inspiring, and the team is a winning, happy team.
But, there are those first line/front line managers that fall into one or more of four root causes of human struggle and failure: Being unaware, unable, unwilling, or unsuitable to lead a team to excellence, including handling the tough situations that are inevitable in management and leadership.
From my vantage point, here is a list of Top 10 Managerial Thinking Errors that contribute to struggle and failure:
• “The problem will just eventually go away.” They’re not fully aware of what’s lurking even though symptoms clearly exist.
• “I don’t want to be disliked – I don’t want to hurt feelings.” It’s excruciatingly uncomfortable for them.
• “I can’t do anything about it.” They’re a bit delusional here.
• “I don’t really see it as a priority.” They’re simply not moved toward action.
• “I don’t know how to handle it.” They’re lacking in skill, knowledge, or ability.
• “I’m afraid it won’t turn out well – it’s already explosive.” They’ve let it go too far for too long – intervention is probably needed.
• “I worry about a personal attack; retaliation.” Yep, that may happen – but they need to understand that it goes with the job.
• “I’m afraid to ask for support on how to handle it – I can’t let people know how bad it is.” People already know how bad it is and are wondering why they’re not doing something.
• “They’re not receptive to any feedback or correction from me. The ‘I dare you looks’ are quite intimidating.” And the employee is still working for them?
• “I’m new to management and I don’t want them to think I’m above them.” They don’t really want to be the leader – they just want to be one of the team.
So where does change start? It starts in the thinking, followed by the handling of the emotional aspects of hard situations, and lastly with actually taking action. At ground level, the initial thinking must be around the issue of purpose. What is the purpose of learning to properly and expertly handle tough situations? Is the purpose about you, about your team, about the organization, or about the respective employee?
The answer is…