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What is the hardest thing about being a manager?

I've always wanted to be a leader. I want to manage a large team of people in my career. I think I have what it takes to inspire a team to work hard but i'm also nervous about having this kind of responsibility. What would you say is the hardest thing about managing people and why?


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Robert’s Answer

This is a great question and one I have thought a lot about lately! One of the toughest aspects of being a manager is to be able to articulate your vision for your team, your philosophy for how everyone should work together to achieve the common goals. Once everyone understands how the team was formed, why the roles are defined the way they are, and how they should perform, then the next challenge is to nurture the team into being a well-performing team. As others have said, thats a combination of carrot and stick. You need to balance the needs of the employee (may need more training) vs. the needs of the company (need a report built today). You also need to be willing to have crucial conversations with employees who may feel they are doing a good job. Those types of conversations are laced with potential conflict. You have to be very fact-based and try to keep your own emotions out of the discussion. It is a hard job, but when the team is built and performing like a well-oiled machine, it is extremely rewarding. Oh yes and one last thing, remember to always have fun! Even in business, things should be fun.


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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Sarah,

I think the hardest thing about being a manager is that as a leader, you take on the burden of serving your people and helping them achieve their goals. You can do your best about meeting their needs and guiding them through their career journey, but capitalism is founded on achieving the most with the least you can provide. This means that you probably will never have enough people, you won't be able to reward your employees to the extend that you think they fairly deserve, and you probably can't get them all the projects that they want to work on.

But, as a good leader, you do the best you can with what you got. And if you truly serve your people, they'll do the best they can for you. And if everyone's doing their best, the upper management will reward y'all and make everyone happy.... theoretically. Realistically, some one above you will take all the credit and they will be handsomely rewarded for you and your team's efforts. You have to ignore all of that and try your best, as doing your best is your best shot at becoming the big boss one day, and breaking the wheel and really rewarding those that deserve it.

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Dexter

Congratulation on over 100 answers helping students Dexter. The new success of yours is yet another milestone in your success story. You are for sure going to attain new heights with lot more successes. John Frick

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G. Mark’s Answer

First, I'll tell you what my managers have said (and that I agree with). Then I'll tell you what I personally find hard about it.


First is disciplining or firing an employee. This has been the reason some managers have ended up in counseling, being depressed or quitting. Being a good manager requires that you care about the people who work for you. You like them. They are real human beings with real lives and real egos and feelings and you care about them. Being the "heel" is tough. Especially when the people will be damaged, will resent you, and you have hurt a friend. And sometimes it's not even their fault but just a business necessity.


Second is motivating people. Many people --in fact most good employees -- simply want to do well. They are achievers who take pleasure and pride in accomplishment. But sometimes an employee simply doesn't "get" what needs to be done, or they hate it so much they avoid it. Getting around that roadblock for a manager is easily as difficult as it for the employee him or herself to motivate themselves to do something tough or that they have "mental block" against. Understanding that particular individual is a necessary starting point.


Third is reconciling or overcoming friction between employees. Some folks just hate each other for some weird reason. Or don't respect one another. Or have actually done bad things to each other, even that bad thing is entirely subjective or imagined or exaggerated. Sometimes you have to be the "bad guy" to encourage them to "gang up as a team" against you. It doesn't have to be a big deal -- just something like, "You guys just have work late to get this done! It needs to get done!" And they get together and say something like, "Boy, that Mark sure is a jerk today!" "Yeah!" The final analysis is that some folks just don't get along, but in a business environment you have to simply say that you don't care whose fault it is, you just have to get it done and suck it up. Younger employees take awhile to get to that realization. But it has to be done.


For me personally, I've always enjoyed talking with employees, so I've enjoyed getting to understand them. But my biggest dread was monitoring their progress without being a micromanager and knowing I'm annoying the heck out of someone. This is my biggest pain -- being the middle man to give bad news to my management or my employees and trying to e supportive to what sometimes are polar opposite goals. You have be be a "broker", and that

translation can be a political nightmare that makes you the bad guy on both sides. Especially if you can see and understand both points of view. That's tough.


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Jeremy’s Answer

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Sarah, I've been leading teams for over 15 years and the main reason I love it is that I get to connect with each member of my team and do my best to help them become the best they can be. However, doing that takes an enormous amount of time and energy. So, I recommend thinking about the skills and abilities that you are bringing to the table and try to determine whether or not those traits match up with the reality of being a people manager/leader.


This responsibility is not for everyone and I've worked with many managers who were miserable because once they reach that position, they discover that it isn't what they thought it would be. I strongly recommend starting out with any opportunity in your world which would give you a chance to practice and learn about leading others. For example, student leadership in your school or maybe a role in a social organization to which you belong.


The hardest thing is having unrealistic expectations of yourself or your team. Before pursuing a leadership opportunity, do anything you can to investigate the role in advance. This may include meeting with current members of the team or even their leadership to try to get a true picture of the nature of the environment of that team.


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Carol’s Answer

Managing others can sound overwhelming but i use a very simple rule. I manage people the way i would like to be managed. Managing is about helping others learn and develop in their careers. Once you are an expert in your own field, you will feel capable of providing others guidance on how to do the work. As well from an employment standpoint you also are responsible for their employee matters. This means providing reviews, preparing for opportunities to advance. How great of a manager you are depends on how much you put into it. I think when you are enthusiastic and love the work you do, that allows you to naturally inspire others in your field of expertise.


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Tracy’s Answer

Being a true leader with influence and not just a manager who leads by title. Being able to adjust your leadership style to work with different individuals, coaching others who are further along in their careers, and mentoring junior employees.


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Felipe’s Answer

Hi Sarah
The hardest thing is that your are responsible and accountable for the work of your team, so if somebody within you team fails, you fail, if somebody succeed then you too, but is always your responsibility when failing or succeeding, and the worst part for me is when you try and try to help someone to grow and performs good and the person doesn´t perform as expected and you have to fire him/her, when that moment comes, you know that you have failed and that you have to change something in the way you do things to avoid that to happen again, believe me when you have someone in front of you and you have to say goodbye to that person is the worst moment you will face in your job as a manager.
However, it is very interesting and challenging to be a manager, is like playing chess, you have to know what skill has each of your team members and use it accordingly so your team performs very good and you get satisfied with the results and also your manager.
Hope this answer can motivate you to grow your career looking for a challenging management job!
Felipe


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pranab’s Answer

First of all, its a great question. Hardest part of being a manager could be definitely one of the following

1.. Firing an Underperforming Employee who eventually become close to you.
2. Supporting a Grieving Employee keeping in mind that your productivity is not impacted ,
3.Handling Conflict Between Multiple Employees and getting the best out of them in team
4.Dealing With a Dishonest Employee when there are concealing truths ,
5.Persuading an Employee to Stay .

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Steve’s Answer

This is a great question. Being a leader is hard as you want to lead the growth of a business but also manage the additional responsibility of helping lead individuals to meet their professional and personal goals. The hardest part of being a manager/leader is adapting to the various personalities of the team you lead. In addition, I have found for me and other successful leaders, we/they continue to have passion for what they do and the people they lead. Being "human" is very important.


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Mark’s Answer

I agree with what Bob said above.. Another difficult aspect of being a manager is that you walk a balance between what is best for your team and what is best for your company. Sometimes this is easy at other times they are in conflict and you have find ways to do both by thinking outside the box. There are many conflicting requirements within a team including between team members, between the employees and the company, between the team and their support groups, and between the team and their clients. As a manager you have to balance it all, keep everyone as happy as possible, and do the best you can in every situation. The bigger the team the more this dynamic comes into play.


I would say the other challenging thing that I've found is that I used to be a technical individual contributor so I spent many years writing programs, querying databases, and solving problems. The higher you get into management, the more you are mostly in meetings, working on requirements of the business, planning, creating presentations, etc. This is all important work, but I know I miss the day-to-day aspects of being a technical employee.


I hope that helps!


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Christian’s Answer

Hi Sarah, if you are ready to be a leader - please ask your self why and what are you strength to lead a team. Key thing is always coaching your team individually based on the level of competence and of course bringing the people together. So the hardest thing is always leading them in time of changes, drive for performance and the key to it is staying very close to them.
Good luck !


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Amanda’s Answer

Great question! I absolutely loved managing teams, and it was very rewarding. I learned a lot from the experience, and it is natural to be scared when you are just starting. Remember, being scared or uncomfortable is a good sign that you are stretching yourself. Embrace it!
I think the biggest differentiator between good managers and great managers is being able to inspire and motivate your team to accomplish something remarkable. Getting people emotionally invested and feeling pride about what they do is very powerful.


And specifically to your question, the hardest part of being a manager, is solving smalls scale problems that are distracting to the team or the goal (someone has friction with someone else and can't get past it, someone isn't dressing professionally when it matters, and you have to take your eyes off the goal to deal with those sorts of issues).


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Bob’s Answer

Managing people can be very rewarding and amazing if you have the right personality. A good manager looks at what his people want or need and balances those needs with the needs of the business needs of the company.


Depending upon the profession, one of the hardest things is realizing that you will have many, many personalities some of which will want to be your best friend, some of which want your job. Finding out what motivates the individuals, finding a place where they feel challenged but not overwhelmed can be the secret to a good manager. A good manager needs to have the ability to LISTEN, even if he/she does not agree.


Given everything above, the hardest thing can be getting everyone (or at least 99%) moving toward the same goals whatever they may be.


Managing people is both very rewarding and very challenging. I absolutely love to help each person on my team become successful. I spend a lot of time teaching and mentoring them. It is very rewarding to see them and the company succeed. It is also challenging to deal with people's personal problems and challenges. I must be a good listener and not become judgmental. The manager must help employees work through their problems, distractions from work and help ensure the team gets along. Neil Brown

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pranab’s Answer

First of all, its a great question. Hardest part of being a manager could be definitely one of the following

1.. Firing an Underperforming Employee who eventually become close to you.
2. Supporting a Grieving Employee keeping in mind that your productivity is not impacted ,
3.Handling Conflict Between Multiple Employees and getting the best out of them in team
4.Dealing With a Dishonest Employee when there are concealing truths ,
5.Persuading an Employee to Stay .

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DECLAN’s Answer

Hi Sarah, don't be nervous, the key is to know your values, whats important to you - be real with your team, tell them what's important to you and explain why - start building trust early in your career with the people you interact with and when you become a manager - it will be easy.


I'll leave this with you #people take responsibility for what they help create,# ... go have a thing about this... this is something you should jot down everytime you interact with a group and see if it makes sense... over time you will see how powerful this can be ...


good luck


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Roshan’s Answer

NOT ENOUGH TIME
GIVING NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES
INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT ON THE TEAM
BALANCING BEING THE BOSS WITH BEING A FRIEND
EMPLOYEES WITH BAD ATTITUDES
DEALING WITH PRESSURE AND SHIFTING PRIORITIES FROM MY OWN BOSS AND OTHER HIGHER UPS
CUMBERSOME LENGTHY PROCESS TO FIRE
INSUFFICIENT AUTHORITY AND DISCRETION TO
REWARD


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Sean’s Answer

Short on time, but I'll try to express the highlights.


First, don't manage... lead. Certainly management in the classical sense is required. After all, you have a business to run and there are processes, procedures, and policies to uphold. However, when it comes to people... LEAD instead of manage:


As you move through the chain of command, you will be introducing more and more complexity to your role, and that will necessitate delegation and expectation. I like to say "direct what you expect, then inspect what you expect." Learn how to delegate effectively. Learn how to have crucial conversations and be declarative when needed. Learn about something called "Emotional Intelligence" so you can master your emotions, rather than be mastered by them. Learn how to consult with the business partners that support you, but once you have the data, own the decision.


Set an example of thoughtfulness and work ethic. What you do and how you do it is far more important than what you say.


Always, ALWAYS, stay connected to the customer. The customer is our life's blood. Without understanding their needs, you can't inspire the full potential from your reports.


Finally, inspire and motivate. Bring your A game to work everyday whether you feel it or not. Positivity begets positivity and you CANNOT allow negativity to exist. It's toxic and ruins well-running teams. Take input from many sources and then chart a course for your business. Communicate the expectations with fervor and execute maniacally against it. Review the results.


There is so much more, but again, just trying to stick to the highlights. Best of luck to you. I wish I'd had this resource at a young age!


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Michele’s Answer

being able and willing to compose and stay professional with Bosses, fellow employees and customers at all times. being able to resolve any issue at anytime with professionalism and respect.


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Mary’s Answer

Great question. I guess the hardest part is learning to work with a lot of different personalities. You have to make sure your people are happy and satisfied and that means different things to different employees. Some like a lot of mentoring and guidance and some like to be left alone to work independently. The part I like the most is that if you take care of your people and you surround yourself with great people the whole team gets better. That part is really not that hard. My people know I have their backs and in turn they have mine. It makes the job a lot more fun that way.


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