The simplest truth I know about managing humans is:
Managing humans is, more than anything else, about maintaining a set of human relationships. And the simplest truth I know about human relationships is that they require trust.
There will come an occasion when you need your reports to do something because you’re asking, even if they don’t know the reasons why and sometimes even if they disagree. They will be willing if they trust you if they believe that you have their backs.
You want the cooperation of your peers? You need their trust. You want to be given the space to act? You need the trust of those higher up in the organization. You want to convince that candidate that they should join your team? They’re going to need to trust your pitch.
Trust is the foundation of your relationships. Make sure that foundation is strong.
My 2019 stretch goal as a manager is:
My goal this year is to double my team size while maintaining our culture and the level of excitement around every single hire.
My team is still small and every one of them has all the people around them excited to work with them. With every hire I’ve been able to communicate to the team why this person is a great addition to our team. The challenge is how to scale the level of personal involvement and care that got us where we are.
I take care of myself by:
As I get older I’ve been trying to take care of myself better, both physically and mentally. To do that I’ve had to recalibrate my thinking and prioritize myself. Stop putting off going to the doctor. Make the time to start exercising. It’s ok to spend time and money on things that will improve my health or quality of life.
Sleep is a big one. If getting a proper night’s sleep required that I buy a better mattress, I need to value that and be willing to spend that on myself. The same goes for anywhere I spend a significant amount of time. Making myself more comfortable and happier during those times is worth it.
Prioritize and value your health and quality of life. You are worth it.
As a manager, I try to model:
I try to treat everyone with courtesy, kindness, and patience. Here’s the hard part: I’ve been trying to be aware of it and bring that every single time. Being nice to people when things are going well? That’s easy. But it takes real effort to keep it up when things are hard.
No matter what kind of a day I’m having, I want anyone who approaches me to feel that I am happy to see them and want to help. That’s the behavior I try to model and that’s the behavior I want from my team.
All of you out there new to managing and trying to figure out how to run teams full of complicated humans, know that you are not alone. There are so many of us out there facing the same struggles.
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