• Steve Saleeba

10 Reasons You’re Probably a Terrible Manager

I’m not actually going to list off 10 reasons you’re probably a terrible manager. But the headline intends to make a point. Management isn’t easy, and nor should it be. Earlier this year I joined Hollywood Agency’s senior leadership team. Part of my role is to manage people. I think I probably have a relatively eclectic management style. And let’s just say for the sake of saying it, “I’m thankful they took a chance on me."

I’ve held this “thankful they took a chance” view through various inflection points across the decades of my career. And recently realized I had made an enormous mistake in my perception of taking a chance and the significance of potential.

An organizational decision to hire anyone is (or at least should be) based on that prospective employee’s mindset, skillset, experience, overall fit AND their potential. There is immense value in hiring people of different backgrounds, career paths, skill sets and personalities. However, the value of hiring based on potential is heavily dependent upon management’s ability to do their job. Put simply, an employee’s failure to reach their potential is as much a failure of management to develop that employee’s knowledge and skills.

Easy fix, right? There are thousands upon thousands of blogs, guides and think pieces online about better management and leadership.

- Here’s how you become an effective leader

- Must-have qualities of an effective leader

- Five steps to becoming a good leader

And on and on…

But speaking from personal experience on both sides of the bench, it’s a lot easier to conceive and present a concept (like I’m doing now) than to execute it. Good management requires a LOT: effort, patience, listening, empathy, understanding, and the ability to both strategize and execute. If it doesn’t feel challenging at times, you’re either gifted beyond words or probably doing it wrong.

Both at home and in my career, I live by the philosophy that you’re only as good as your team. All too often in professional sports, we see teams with enormous potential that implode for various reasons. You’ll hear sports pundits listing off dozens of reasons why star players are not living up to their potential. More often than not, blame is directed at the coach, and often the coach winds up getting fired. Consider that these coaches are at the highest level of their profession, managing a group of colleagues who are at the highest level of their profession. These people are REALLY GOOD at what they do. So, if they can’t get it right, what makes you think you can do better?

As managers, one of our jobs is to see the bigger picture, which includes recognizing talents as well as areas for improvement. Our job is to nurture talents while effectively providing direction in areas where employees may be struggling. Our job is to mentor. Our job is to listen.

This brings us to the part of the piece where we could talk about “10 ways to be a more effective manager” (because remember, you’re probably a terrible manager), but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for effective management. Say it with me – no one-size-fits-all solution.

Perhaps the suggestion I have to offer for being a better manager is to be thankful that the people you hire took a chance on you. Remember they are putting their career development in your hands. It’s up to you to figure out how to ensure they get the most out of it, which in turn will benefit you and the organization.

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