Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Line Management: Managing Other People

Managing other people can be hugely rewarding; it can also be frustrating, frightening and even intimidating.

I don’t mean to be so negative because bottom line, I enjoy managing people and I have been doing it in one guise or another for decades. 

What I like about it is being part of someone else’s development as they grapple with new skills or grow in confidence to be able to do something they couldn’t before. 

I like building trust and finding new ways to explain things that I take for granted.  I like giving people room to find their own way and I particularly like delegating so I don’t have to do stuff anymore!

Obviously I run a training company so training other people is part of what I do and my line management duties cross the borders between the Home Team and our Training Consultants.  Their jobs are very different but the management skills remain the same.

I talk about this because one of our most popular courses this year is Line Management and that in itself describes a shift in attitude by many companies when they promote people into a line management role.

For a lot of companies there was a ‘throw ‘em in at the deep end’ mind-set, or if not that harsh, then it still was a point of view that if someone was good at one job, they’d be good at managing other people. That still is what happens in a lot of companies.

The positive shift is when more experienced managers recognise that new managers shouldn’t be chucked into the deep end; they need support, encouragement and new skills.  It’s really like entering a new world when you start managing other people for the first time.

This is what we know new managers find difficult:  delegating to people who were once their peers; delegating to people who weren’t once their peers; letting other people do stuff instead of doing stuff themselves; letting other people do stuff ‘their own way’; having  uncomfortable conversations; setting targets and identifying goals.

The list is even longer than that, but those are the issues we see again and again.  If those issues aren’t dealt with then new managers can have a hell of a time and don’t get to the enjoyable bits.  

They work with a level of anxiety that can blight their own satisfaction at work.

How do you get from anxiety to liking your job again? 

That’s where good Line Management training comes in.  It doesn’t take much to give people the confidence they need to manage other people effectively.

Here are a couple of things that might help:

Seeing things from someone else’s point of view.  You could say this skill is useful for everything all the time.  When you are operating from a place of anxiety, there’s often a tendency to see things only from your own POV.  The more you (and everyone else for that matter) are able to have a feel for what other people might be experiencing (even for a brief time), managing them becomes a whole lot easier. 

Understanding what motivates you and your team members.  We’re all motivated by different things so if you can get under the skin of what drives the people you manage you can adapt your expectations and management style so that each individual feels well taken care of.  Trying to manage everyone the same won’t get you the results you need.  Alongside that, if you have a deeper awareness of what motivates you, you can also let your team know that in turn.  It doesn’t all have to be – nor should it be – top down.

Those are just two of the many skills we develop in people on our courses.  There are loads more because becoming a manager ought to be an exhilarating experience and not a nerve-wracking one.


Check out Impact Factory’s Line Management Training.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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