As a direct manager, do you ever find yourself internally screaming, “I hate managing employees!” You’re not alone. Here’s what Mandy Hamerla, a multi-award-winning Leadership Mentor, says:
I come across lots of small business owners who begin their entrepreneurial journey by running their company by themselves. But, when their business grows and they hire employees, they hate the job of managing them.
It’s no secret. Managing others is a complex task. So what do you need to do to make the job easier? Let’s figure it out together!
What Is It That You Hate About People Management?
It’s worth having a long, hard think about what it is that you’re hating right now. Jot down the triggers that cause you to feel this way. And do this in an objective way that’s wholly evidence-based. By keeping a log of the issues, it’ll help you to test how valid your feelings of frustration are. It’ll also help you to identify the root cause of the problem, why problems are happening, and what can be done about them.
Now, if you ask anyone who manages people why they hate it so much, you’ll probably hear a lot of different answers. Well, I’ll list down a few of the common reasons and see if any of these resonate with you:
- The employees are disengaged. A study by Gallup discovered that a whopping 80% of employees are actively disengaged at work. This means that there is a negative impact on productivity, morale, passion, and performance. You can see why this can be very frustrating for an old or new manager.
- The employees don’t do what you ask them to do. Say you rely on each team member to do this and that. You can’t complete the project unless everyone does their part. You’ll certainly hate managing people when one or a few employees don’t do ask they’re asked.
- The employees miss deadlines. As the manager, you’re most likely the one in charge of deadlines. You’re in big trouble with the executives if you don’t submit projects and tasks on their due dates. So imagine your frustration when an individual contributor is late to give you their tasks.
- The employees take advantage of your kindness. Say you’re very flexible with work schedules. Well, an employee can take advantage of that by being chronically late, missing deadlines, lacking accountability for subpar performance, etc…
- The employees need constant supervision. Yes, it’s good if an employee runs to you for help. This means that you’re a trusted manager. However, it can get annoying when they constantly come to you, even for the simplest task. Or, you’ve already helped them countless times with a similar task but they never seemed to learn it.
- The employees keep complaining. We’re all human. We want as much as possible to stay away from the negative. If your employees keep complaining about their colleagues, the work, the customers, the executives, etc… you’ll want to run away and shout, “I hate managing employees!”
- The employees are mean to you. We often hear about managers being mean to employees. But there are cases where it’s the opposite – the employees bully the manager. This is true if you’re a very lenient manager. They might undermine your authority or spread rumors about you.
Why Are Employees So Hard to Deal With?
Here are some stats you might not want to hear… 57% of employees quit their jobs because of a bad manager. Moreover, 42% of employees stated that they feel demotivated at work because of bad management.
You should stop and think, “Am I the problem?” Let me give you one example.
Let’s say Jim always makes mistakes, to the point that you say, “I hate being a manager.” But what if Jim makes mistakes because he’s the wrong person for the task? Or maybe you don’t provide constructive feedback and let him know what he’s doing wrong.
So you see – the manager can have a BIG say on why employees are so hard to deal with. But don’t get me wrong. For sure some employees are just plain lazy or mean, no matter how well you manage and motivate your team.
Whatever the case, I’m going to list 9 useful tips to help you become a better manager, as well as help you deal with hard-headed employees…
9 Tips to Make Life Easier as a Manager
To make your life easier as a manager, here are 9 tips that you should consider:
- Lead by example
- Promote open communication
- Provide feedback
- Respect work-life balance
- Foster a positive work environment
- Give clear goals and expectations
- Offer opportunities for growth
- Provide clear consequences
- Be assertive
1. Lead by example
Here’s what someone from Reddit says:
Leading by example does not make one buddy-buddy with the Joes. Leading by example means following your word and being the standard that you set for your subordinates.
If you skip deadlines, the employees might feel that it’s OK to do so. If you’re always late, they’ll see no problem with being late.
Don’t be a manager that you’d hate if you were in your employees’ shoes. If you think like this, then you’ll know which areas you need to improve on.
2. Promote open communication
If you want to manage people successfully, you need to promote open communication. This will build trust and understanding. When these two elements are in the workplace, employees will be encouraged to work effectively and efficiently.
Plus, when managers and employees are open with each other, there’s a mutual feeling of value and support. In turn, this will lead to increased morale, engagement, and productivity.
So go ahead and communicate with each team member – and let them do the same. That goes without saying that you need to be a great listener, too.
3. Provide feedback
Get this: Around 69% of employees would increase their efforts if they felt their contributions were better recognized. Yes, you’ll see a boost in employee performance if you provide regular feedback.
If someone does something great, give them the praise and recognition they deserve. If someone does something wrong, always provide constructive feedback. Make sure that you keep it as positive as possible to avoid discouragement.
4. Respect work-life balance
Maybe the reason why an employee keeps complaining or making mistakes is because they are burned out. They spend every waking hour doing or worrying about work.
As the manager, you can help reverse burnout by respecting work-life balance. You can implement flexible work hours, avoid unnecessary after-hour communication, or, if possible, offer remote work opportunities. If you do, maybe your employees won’t be so hard to deal with anymore.
5. Foster a positive work environment
Here’s the thing… You might actually enjoy managing employees if there is a positive work environment. You can foster this by following all the tips I mention here.
When employees feel respected, valued, and supported, as well as enjoy positive relationships with colleagues and management, they are more motivated, collaborative, and productive. Everyone will have less stress and more mental well-being. This will significantly reduce your headaches as a manager.
6. Give clear goals and expectations
Probably the reason why Sarah always goes to you for supervision is because you don’t give clear goals and expectations. She’s not decisive, so she runs to you for anything and everything. As we saw, this can be the reason for your frustration or annoyance.
One way to counter that is to make your goals and expectations very clear. Let everyone know EXACTLY what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. With this, fewer employees will need your help in simple or repetitive tasks.
7. Offer opportunities for growth
If an employee has been working at the same job over and over again – for the last 20+ years – they’ll start to get bored and hopeless. There’s no growing involved.
Well, this can be the main reason why an employee is so hard-headed towards you. They may feel bitter that you never gave them a promotion or allowed them to grow.
This is why, if you want to make it easier to manage people, you need to offer growth opportunities. You can hand out promotions to worthy candidates, skill development programs, career path discussions, or more challenging assignments.
8. Provide clear consequences
What if it’s not you but the employee? You’ve been a great manager. You’ve followed all the tips here and did even more. However, your employee is still not cooperating.
Now is the time to provide clear consequences. Let them know that if they continue making mistakes or being lazy, that could lead to an axe. If they go against company policies, you should remind them about work suspensions.
All this will help the employee re-evaluate their performance. Sometimes, you need to remind employees of the consequences for them to get their act back together.
9. Be assertive
Don’t be that manager that anyone can walk on. You need to learn how to be assertive. This way, employees will actually listen to you and do what you say.
If you act with authority, that will scare away the employees who want to be mean to you just because they can.
A lot of managers can honestly say, “I hate managing employees!” But you can make life much easier by first finding the root problem. From there, you need to follow the 9 tips to help you be a better manager and encourage better employee performance.