Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The "Joys" of Leadership - NOT

Here's something that probably falls very much into the category of "so tell me something that I don't know." Being a manager is no easy deal. Indeed, anyone who has ever had to manage a staff knows exactly what I am talking about. Over the years I, like thousands if not millions of others, have read all sorts of articles and books on the topic of managing, not to mention hearing more speeches than I can remember.

What brought all this to mind was a discussion that I had been following in our online GM Roundtable. Members were exchanging views on various aspects of running a business and dealing with the myriad issues that arise be they involving people or products or both.

As you might expect, there were a number of comments surrounding how people felt about and made tough decisions, especially when it came to having to fire people. Adding to this discussion was Kevin Cronin who posted the following:

Early in my career, I heard an accomplished turn-around CEO respond to a question about whether or not he ever lost sleep over people that he had to fire. He said that he had not because there was always some justification for the action. He went on to say that the only times he had lost sleep was when he kept someone on too
long who should have been let go earlier because it caused poor performance
and significant stress to the organization. I have found this a helpful
reflection when dealing with these situations.
I thought this was a very telling remark and one with which I supected many would agree.

As I continued to reflect on what Kevin had to say (and I very much appreciate his allowing me to use his real name) it reminded me of what I have always thought made the role of a manager so challenging.

Simply put I think what makes it so hard for so many of us is that all three of the things that a manager (read: leader) is really asked to do are things that are subjective, not objective.

The three magic "joys" of managing - hiring, firing, and evaluating.

Anybody want to add to the list?

1 comment:

c.rosenblum said...

Those certainly aren't the "joys", but the mechanics. Unfortunately every position has its required activities which bring about a result. I think that the joy of management is that nugget of success that occurs when the right mechanics bring about the desired result; A struggling salesperson can be uplifted by one order from a long pursued customer or a complimentary word that can give them the confidence to continue to pursue success. Working together with a team of people to accomplish something...and you're the leader. That's the joy.