Not everyone slides easily into managing. I’ve seen highly-competent self-starters, responsible for big projects involving huge dollar amounts, totally fall apart when called upon to handle a “people” problem in the workplace.
Too often, they “handle” it by simply avoiding it, letting it fester and play out, then – when the situation has broken wide-open – overreacting abruptly and arbitrarily. And because they’re high enough on the food chain, or a strong producer themselves (or the outright owner of the business) they get away with it.
But for most managers, in most workplaces, that’s simply not an option – things only get worse with that approach. Plus, most supervisors don’t actually have the luxury – or the backing – to simply rid themselves of a “human” problem.
I’ve been directly involved in some excruciating experiences with managers who’ve become so snarled up in “human” issues at work they become sleepless, anxious, indecisive, distracted, or even worse: depressed, frightened, hopeless, filled with rage and self-loathing.
And if, as is so often true, there are also personal or family problems on the homefront, or there are addiction issues, and on top of that, they aren’t that self-aware about their own ways of reacting to stress – it can become a total train wreck. I’m not overstating this in the least, I assure you.
Now, most situations aren’t that apocalyptic. What usually happens is that a minor situation evolves into an ongoing irritation, a human problem affecting the present, without an easy solution. The concern is the dominoes will fall in unpredictable directions. And that’s the reason why some of those situations go unaddressed for so long: the lack of certainty around controlling outcomes.
Talking with someone like me can really help. Things get put in perspective. The steps toward good outcomes get identified – as do things not to do, not to say. Above all, it helps someone come to terms with his or her choices, stay on track, keep the focus on what’s important.
Managing in this postmodern world is not for the faint-of-heart.