Managing in the office

August 23rd, 2017

Why is managing people so hard when the skills are generic?

Managing the office, office furniture, people, resources, making decisions and executing plans are all things that every human adult does regularly and you could say that they were what we were designed to do.

In fact if you can organise your children and partner whilst keeping the home running smoothly, in fact you are probably doing much better than many divisional line managers.

So what’s the problem? Managing members of your family is not a piece of cake, but we can express our feelings more freely, we have shared interests with the other members and there are frequent opportunities to repair relationships in a comfortable environment rather than sitting rigidly in a business environment propped on uncomfortable office chairs.

However, in the office, we face the restraints of the ’rational’ systems and order of business life and it’s a very different game. We tend to be careful about showing our emotions, choosing to keep our heads down at our office desk and we generally act like everything we do is intentional. But in home and work there’s a human incapacity that causes many of the problems when we are confronted to try and manage other people.

The mastery of managing people which sets apart the really good manager from the rest is an ability to understand people from different perspectives.

Most of the time, we care for our own feelings more than those of others.

Our natural need to care for our own feelings as a self survival behavior means there can be disadvantages with it through dysfunctional office behavior: a more common occurrence such as e-rage, kicking office furniture, bad appraisal meetings and insensitive decisions. It can cause huge disasters like merger failures.

We can never completely share another’s experience but it’s possible to get closer to their perspective than we would usually be motivated to do.

Thinking this through often brings surprising answers. Managers may conclude that they should spend more time being informal with subordinates and talk to them around the office and not just from behind an office desk. Go over and chat to employees at their computer desks to find out how they are and what they are doing.

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Last Modified / Updated on: March 16, 2017 at 11:54 am

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