Of course, people will tell you that being a manager is rewarding. And yes, hopefully at the very least you’re getting some sort of remuneration to compensate for all the shit you have to deal with (although in the charity sector I work in the financial reward isn’t typically that awesome). And of course, there are real benefits to being a manager.
There is real pleasure to be had in seeing a team member develop and grow – or being able to achieve amazing things for your cause and organisation because you and your team have nailed it. There is ten percent of pure joy and exhilaration when you get the results you’re aiming for, but in my experience, to get there it’s ninety percent blood, sweat and tears.
So, don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy and don’t feel inadequate if you’re finding being a manager harder than you expected. Either they’re telling giant fibs or they’re a terrible manager and not taking the tough decisions.
So why is it so hard? Well, mainly because management is primarily about people. Getting folk to do the things that need to be done to the standard that is required in order to deliver, depending on your sector, for your customers or beneficiaries. But people aren’t computers. You can’t re-programme them so by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del you can reboot them if they start playing up or making mistakes. People are independently minded, demanding, inconsistent, emotional and vital creatures who do not exist in a vacuum.
There will always be things people don’t want to do, or don’t care enough about to do a good job. There will always be decisions made about resources or the allocation of work that not everyone supports or wants to implement. There will be times when team members don’t get on with one another, or when one member appears to be coasting on the hard work of others. There will always be some who think their performance is better than it is or folk who for whatever reason are not performing as well as you need them to.
Frankly, there will be days when you feel like murdering your bosses, your team or your colleagues and maybe all of them multiple times! And that’s where your skills as a manager come in. It is your ability to adapt to these situations, find ways to resolve them and still deliver high quality results that make you a good manager. And it’s also what makes it so bloody hard. My new book, It’s Murder in Management, hopefully gives tips as to some of the survival techniques that make it just that little bit easier to become and to endure as a manager.