It has been said that a successful manager is one who works himself out of a job. Have you ever thought about what that actually means? If I were your employee and you were able to teach me how to do my job with excellence, then I would no longer need you to oversee me or “manage” me on a daily basis. That would free you up to move on to bigger and better things. In other words, you would have managed yourself right out of that particular aspect of your job. However, you would not need to worry about job security! If you can successfully train people to become proficient in their job because of your coaching or managing skills, there will always be a whole host of job advancements and opportunities waiting for you! Cream always rises to the top!
Being a good manager also requires a person to understand personality information. Learning to “get along” with people is paramount in any profession. Training someone to be proficient in a skill set is important. However, each one of us works with other individuals, and that requires people skills. If people do not rise to the occasion in their interpersonal skills. there will be trouble in relationships and job performance. No one can be truly productive for long in a hostile, toxic environment. However, the job still needs to be done. That is where a cooperative spirit comes into play.
I know of a situation where an individual was very proficient in her job, but she could not work effectively with anyone. She isolated herself and would not communicate with the other team members. Her skill set was proficient, but her people skills were so poor that no one wanted to work with her. She created an environment of mistrust and hostility. She is no longer employed by that company.
As a teenager, I worked with a construction crew. My particular job that summer was to cut blocks that would be used as decorative trim pieces on the outside of the buildings. One of the carpenters spent about an hour teaching me how to do it and then another hour watching me do it and correcting my mistakes until I no longer needed him to oversee me. I now understand that he was managing the job, not the person. Soon he was able to move on to another task that required more expertise than I possessed. As far as working with me was concerned, he worked himself right out of a job! Before he quit training me, however, he also said, “Doing your job will help us all get along better and will help us complete this task faster. Don’t make us beg you to do your job!” That is a simple little illustration, but it communicates what I am trying to say. It was a good experience, and I will always be grateful for it. However, my ability to work with the rest of the construction crew was up to me. I had a newfound skill set. Then I learned how to work with others in a daily job situation. That took more time!
I realize personality conflicts are real. People do have a challenge in “getting along” with one another. Relationships are important, and being cordial and cooperative with co-workers can make or break any environment. However, even when managing a job, you can still be friendly and congenial toward other people rather than being disconnected.
As a business owner, leader, and manager, it has taken me a long time to see this finer distinction. By nature, I am very people-oriented. But, when it comes to running a business or being involved in other businesses, I must focus on the task and that often puts the burden back on me. Have I been clear in my expectations? Have I gone over the job details or requirements and the expected outcomes? Have I created SOPs to help the employee know how to get the job done correctly? Have I communicated in a friendly manner, answering questions and explaining personal expectations? This requires a lot of thought, experience, and wisdom!
I have discovered that when I do all that, it makes relationships much better. If there is an issue, I will say to the person involved, “This has nothing to do with you personally, but it has everything to do with the job we are trying to accomplish. Let’s stay focused on how to succeed at the task at hand so both of us will enjoy what we are doing more.”
Remembering to manage both the task at hand as well as the people involved has produced excellent results for me, and I am confident that it will for you, too.
Tip: Encourage people and manage the job!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm