June 7, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.

Managers need the right skill set to motivate people

Managers need the right skill set to motivate people
Managers need the right skill set to motivate people

By Shawnette Somner- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Managing people has got to be one of the most difficult and challenging jobs on the face of the earth.  

Humans are complex beings and each of us comes with personality patterns that can either be admired, misunderstood or disliked.  

The role of the person who is responsible for managing is to be able to find a way to balance their managerial style with a level of respect — while being a balanced and organized individual themselves.  

The Bible speaks of training up a child in the way that he should go.  I support that wholeheartedly and I believe that if we direct our children toward positive activities, behaviours, speech and the like, they are unlikely to stray too far from it. But what about training for adults? 

As a friend of mine recently posted in a Facebook comment, training is for animals — not for humans.  

We train horses. We train dogs. Many of us have even had the opportunity to witness the outcome of trained dolphins and whales.   

I must concur with my friend, that once the human being reaches adulthood, “training” is most inappropriate. 

In our roles as managers of people it is important first of all to have the skill set to do so otherwise we will continue to see repetitious conduct of the behaviours we do not like.  

It is important for us to have clear and frank discussions with people to let them know what we do not like or appreciate — while maintaining the respect of not sharing that same information with all other colleagues.  

It is equally important to share with the person the things we do like and appreciate.  

While providing critical feedback, especially if a person’s job may be at stake, it is important to offer suggestions and to share information that could help that person improve.  

To take it a step further, it is important to provide the individual with opportunities to excel.  

All of this together amounts to guidance, not training - and it still allows the individual a fair sense of autonomy as an adult, rather than being made to feel like a child.  

Notwithstanding the fact that some people in charge of managing people, as the old saying goes,  possess elevators that don’t go to the top.  

Those are the kinds of managers that create more confusion in the workplace than necessary.  

We realize the impact of their inefficiency and appreciate them most when they are not around because things generally run smoothly.  

Dealing directly with people takes guts. It takes a high degree of tact and oftentimes decisions must be made that will be unpopular.  

So many people avoid what really needs to be dealt with for fear of the outcome — which oftentimes is a necessary outcome.  

Recently I’ve had conversations with a few people who are in positions of managing people and their stresses are common.  

Some of them like their jobs but despise the various issues they have to deal with as managers.   

I’m particularly reminded of a recent master degree university graduate who has landed a very good job but verbalized to me, “I hate managing people.”  She’s young and clearly lacks the skills to do so — so I’ve offered her some pointers.  

But she has decided it’s a job she just doesn’t want to do because the people she has to manage present far too many challenges and she also feels a certain level of disrespect from them because she’s young.   Subsequently she’s actively seeking another job.  

I will encourage her to hang in there and to be the best manager she can be while being a role model to even some of her senior staff.  

It is important for all of us to bring to our work environment a good level of competency, good work ethics, and the ability to manage ourselves.  

By doing so, the entire work place will certainly run more harmoniously. n

Shawnette Somner is a mother and educator. Email: [email protected] 


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