The problem with managing people

Is that most people don’t like to be managed.

The reason why most managers are terrible managers?

I’ll give you 32:

  1. You are raising your status while lowering others.
  2. You’ve grown attached to certain outcomes and ignore other possibilities.
  3. The person you are managing doesn’t know what you know, doesn’t believe what you believe and is not (likely) going to choose what you would choose.
  4. You think you know how to manage someone else’s life better.
  5. You’ve latched on to a title. Crowning yourself with responsibility and authority.
  6. You focus on hard skills instead of investing in the soft ones.
  7. You’re part of the bourgeoisie—who works less and gets paid more and brings little value.
  8. You spend most of your time hiding (meetings, TPS reports, emails, performance reviews…).
  9. You’re trying to make things better but don’t know how to make better things.
  10. You’re trying to make things better but your team wants the environment to be safer (safe from being fired or hurt).
  11. You let your ego get in the way.
  12. You make things personal instead of accepting external conditions for what they are.
  13. You’re playing a finite game instead of an infinite one.
  14. You let the voice in your head get carried away, assume the worst and make a wrong assumption.
  15. Your worldview (biases, prejudices, internal narrative) is wrong (always is from how you look at things).
  16. You insist others to follow the map, to follow the step-by-step set of instructions instead of encouraging others to use/build a compass.
  17. You think about what you’re going to say instead of listening to what others have to say.
  18. You don’t ask Why? (At least five times.)
  19. You blame people instead of the system.
  20. Coaching isn’t a habit.
  21. Nudging is foreign.
  22. Thank you isn’t in your vocabulary.
  23. You make decisions to keep yourself from being fired instead of making decisions that will help the people around you.
  24. You are suffering from the Peter Principle. And like most managers, you’re not good at it.
  25. You think that money is enough of a motivator.
  26. You have 30 years of experience of doing the same things you have always done.
  27. You don’t listen to the wisdom that the crowd has to offer.
  28. You don’t know how to hire people who are better than you.
  29. You don’t give people the space to make mistakes. As a result, people only take projects or assignments they know they won’t fail at.
  30. You don’t understand that people like us do stuff like this.
  31. You spend too much time trying to make fear go away instead of learning how to dance with it.
  32. You watched one TED Talk on Knowing Your Why and think you have the missing puzzle piece.

And there are a million more.

The problem with managers is that they are trying to get people to do what they did yesterday except a little better.

Leaders, on the other hand, figure out where it is they want to go, get out-of-the-way and let people do what they do best.

Most managers think they are good leaders. They’re not.

Good leaders can be good managers. Good managers rarely ever make good leaders.