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What is the hardest thing about being a manager?

I would really like to be a manager or CEO one day. What is the hardest part about managing a team? What do you like best about it?

Thank you! #technology #management #leadership #human-resources


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Jason’s Answer

The hardest part of managing a team is TIME. You want to spend time communicating and giving lots and lots of feedback to the team on final product. Unfortunately, your role as a Sr. Leader will pull you in directions that may not allow you to see that final product or watch your team work as closely as you like (budgets, shareholders, press, strategy sessions with your boss, etc.) The best advice I got for leadership was a 5 step process and it has served me well: 1. Set Clear Expectations--no one can get there if they don't know where they are going, 2. Educate to those Expectations-- you have to SHOW THEM what success looks like, 3, Hold the Team Accountable--celebrate the wins and learn from the failures, but don't ignore them 4. Be Consistent in your Leadership--they should be able to anticipate your moves because you are so consistent, and when you are not, make sure you tell them why, and 5. Reward and Recognize--if you want good performance you have to provide specific, immediate, and meaningful feedback to see it repeated. Hope this helps!


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Doug’s Answer

Being a manager can be challenging for many reasons. Managing different personalities can be a challenge. One of the biggest challenges for me has been keeping work/life balance. Being a manager may require you to always have your phone on during off hours which may upset your family members. This is where you have to create trust with your teams and delegate duties so that you are able to disconnect when needed.


I completely agree! Jeniffer Palma

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Jeff’s Answer

The biggest challenge is to learn to adapt your coaching style to what fits best for your direct reports. It would be great if you could just say Do X, Do Y. then they get done. However, that is rarely the case. You may have one employee who does a great job, but you need to give them very clear, very detailed instructions. Another employee tends to lose focus and not do the task by the deadlines, so for that person you need to learn to constantly follow up and set short terms tasks so you know that they are working on the project efficiently and able to complete by the deadline. Another employee you realize after working with just isn't a good fit and you need to let them go. So learning how to manage a variety of employees and also to identify what works best for each employee is most challenging.

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Phoebe’s Answer

The hardest thing being a manager is letting an employee go for underperforming after you have tried everything to keep them afloat in vain. It leaves you thinking , is there anything else that I left out that could have been done to save them? But at the end of the day hard decisions have to be done!

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Mauro’s Answer

Being a manager is rewarding. You can help people grow, coach and inspire them. Because no person is the same, there is also a lot of learning involved. The toughest part of the job is having to make decisions that could negatively impact people's lives (e.g. letting people go), especially during tough times.

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Robert’s Answer

For me, the hardest thing about managing a team is the differences in opinions and knowing that you are LEADING and not ORDERING. I was really young when I was put into a management position. I thought this meant I was the "boss" and people would listen to me simply because i had a title attached to my name. Your team has to trust you, they have to respect you, and most of all, they need to feel respected and trusted as well. Value their input and opinions, and i have no doubt you'll make a great leader someday. Great question.

Totally agree, Robert. Listening, empowering, and building trust are key to great management. John Hendrickson

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Sanjeeva’s Answer

There are many challenges being a manager of people.
The word people, many work environments are very diverse and there are many different opinions and work styles.
Therefore finding a common ground that works for the team to achieve the objectives set forth is a tough and important one.
As a people manager, it’s important to let people that report to you or look up to you to grow into their role and feel empowered.
There are times when you want to step in and advice and course correct however for the betterment of the person it helps to let them figure it out through experience, both good and bad. You have to use common sense at times and jump in if something bad is going to happen to your project or team, however less management the better.
Finally it’s all about the environment you create, it’s important to create one where your people challenge you and are free to share their opinions about doing best for the team.


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Swetha’s Answer

To become 'a good manager' and 'a manager' is completely different.
In current days becoming a manager is easy but to become a good manager you need to very Organised, timely, punctual, careful to what you speak, understanding, not getting carried away with Power( which most managers do). Degree may not be of much importance in this role but attitude matters the most. All the best. Hope you become a great manager( leader)



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Donna’s Answer

For me the most difficult part of being a manager is delegating. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything I am required to do along with the things I want to do. Since I am ultimately responsible for my teams performance I find it necessary to be a part of every part of the process and not relinquishing control. It takes a long time for me to trust someone to handle tasks the way I would handle them. I was putting in way too many hours of overtime.

My favorite part in building relationships with my people, which helps me to ease back and let control slip to others from time to time.



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Sirlei’s Answer

Hi Ali G.,

To me, the hardest part of being a manager is finding the right words and frame of mind to provide constructive criticism. I find it's important to always leave the employee with a sense that, yes, there is room for improvement, but that we can work on it together.
Sometimes, depending on what the issue is, that's hard to find...

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Jeniffer’s Answer

I think the hardest part about being a manager is to stay positive on the days were you feel like everything is going wrong. Being a manager is tough, which is why I like to refer to it as being a Leader instead. Everyone has a bad day, but how do you overcome that bad day so you don't effect anybody else. You focus on the positive and control the things your able to control. The most important thing you have control over is your attitude. If you do things with a positive attitude and concentrate on the brighter side of things, you create a more positive energy for your team to follow. Lead by example and your team will always have your back because they recognize your in it with them.

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Patrick’s Answer

The most challenging part of management is consistent character. Making sure your character stands out more than your title is paramount! Followers are attracted to true leaders, they can always tell when you have a sincere passion to serve your gift, so it is best to use your authority as a quality, not just a position. Make people valuable and they will value you, the goal is to produce leaders, not just to maintain followers. My favorite part of management is inspiration, every great thing that was done has been inspired by someone or something. I love inspiring them and I love when they inspire me and I let them know it! The measurement of your leadership won't come from who you lead, but what you inspire, go get it!

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Lane’s Answer

I think finding your authentic leadership style is one of the hardest parts about leadership.

It can be intimidating to be responsible for the performance of other people, and many new managers have an image in mind of what a leader is "supposed to look like". You have to understand that there are many, many different styles and approaches that can be effective in motivating people to perform, and if you try to pretend to be one of them that you are not, your people will see right through that and not respect you.

Be humble and admit to mistakes rather than pretending to be perfect.

Don't just say, but demonstrate that you care about the people on your team.

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Wilson’s Answer

Time, personalities, and competing priorities. Juggling the needs of each team members and needs of external stakeholders while keeping everyone's focus on the strategic objectives of the group.

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Jeremy’s Answer

Wow, you've gotten a lot of great feedback here! I agree with others that time management can be very difficult especially if you're managing a large team. But for me, the hardest thing about being a manager is when you have to deliver the tough message that someone is being let go/fired. That's never an easy conversation to have. Hope this helps!


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Charles’s Answer

There are many difficult components about being a manager, but nothing that is rewarding comes too easy. One of the most challenging things for me is Time management. You have to Manage time in doing your work, coaching your team so that they can grow and your personal life. You have to carve out time for each, while also being flexible, because things come up all the time an all of these areas that you will sometimes need to take care of right away. The best advice I can give in relation to solving this problem is to create a schedule, but add buffer to handle the unexpected things that come along on a daily basis.

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Kim’s Answer

This could vary depending on your skills and personality. Everyone has strengths and it is important to lean on your team to fill the gaps where your opportunities may exist. Take for example, a sales manager, your strengths might be with dealing with people and personalities, however you may struggle with operational or administrative aspects of the job. If this is the case, you would want to lean on someone on your team that is more geared towards that to help complete some of the required tasks, like making a schedule or completing reporting. Although, both tasks are required of the job, you may be more successful delegating certain tasks.

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Srinivas’s Answer

"No one size fits all" - Understanding individual team member, Maturity levels, skill set, capabilities, saturation levels, priorities and more aspects to consider. And Bring all the members to work under one umbrella as a Team.  


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Steve’s Answer

It's not easy to make that jump from subordinate to manager. I found the hardest part for me was having to discipline or fire a worker, especially being a new manager when I was younger. It's important to treat everyone with respect and communicate effectively with all your subordinates. One should know they are not going to remain in the job if they are not performing to the role, once you have given folks the tips and tools and training to become successful.


Good luck as you put on your Manager cap.

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MaryLee’s Answer

The hardest part of being a manager is having the time to spend assisting and motivating your team and working on their career aspirations, while still completing tasks for your manager and attending meetings. You have to juggle managing above to your superiors as well as managing down to make your team successful.

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Sarah’s Answer

Time Management, Pressure of being the face when something goes wrong, Driving execution thru others, Difficult Conversations

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Luis’s Answer

The toughest part of being a manager for me was the people piece. Sometimes others don't match your passion so you need to finding a way to motivate others to have the same passion for the job, company, industry, customers can be difficult. Having a strong leadership team will help make your job easier. Make sure they are grounded to what the employees need to be successful and what your leaders need to be successful, this should help make your job as a an upper level manager easier to accomplish.

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Sarbari’s Answer

The hardest thing is probably understanding that every person that is on your team is different. What works well with one person may not work at all with the next person on the team and hence you really need to invest the time to build the relationship with your team. The establishment of trust is the key factor in being a good manager. You also have to know how to motivate them, coach and mentor them but not solve their problems for them. The other hard part is being good at providing timely feedback both positive and constructive. This does take a lot of practice and it is not the most comfortable and natural thing to do.

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Pam’s Answer

To be an effective manager, it's important to understand and be aware of the different learning styles and motivations of the members of your team. Each person is different so there's a need to be adaptable to various styles. Also, knowing how to stay one step ahead of your leader is key to success.

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Nicholas’s Answer

Hire the right people for the role. Enable your team to succeed. Coaching and development. Having difficult conversations with underperform people.

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Melissa’s Answer

For me, the best thing about being a manager is also the most challenging thing. It's the people! It is an amazing opportunity to be able to learn from your team and help to support their career goals, but managing different personalities can be challenging to master.
It can be challenging to adjust your style to different types of personalities. As humans, we often look at situations based on OUR personal experience which can be limiting. It's important to take to the time to get to know your team by asking questions about how they prefer to work, their communication style, how they like to receive feedback. Armed with that information, you are more able to see everyone person's strengths and adjust your management style in a way that helps the individual thrive. The people I've managed who are most different from me are the ones I've learned the most from.

Melissa recommends the following next steps:

Look at resources/tools that help you understand your own personality, communication style, and strengths. Knowing yourself is the first step to being able to work with and lead others.
Saved!

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Sridhar’s Answer

Hi Ali,
This is a great question and comes up all the time. I dont see being a manager as a challenge but rather its a great opportunity to help people learn and grow. Of course, it comes with huge responsibility. The main difference between between an individual contributor and manager is that as an IC, you are only responsible/accountable for your job and tasks whereas as a manager, you are accountable for the entire team. They say people leave a company for the managers and I think its mostly true. There are different styles of management. e.g. hands on vs hands off. While there is no right or wrong style, building trust is the most critical foundation for being a good manager. I like to empower my team and give them their space so they can be very creative. Being very transparent is another key virtue. Communication is another extremely important virtue. Over communicating always helps where as under communication always hurts. There are lot of other good practices that all good managers follow but different individuals have different needs and hence one size doesnt fit all.

Thanks,
Sridhar

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Daniela’s Answer

The hardest thing about managing a team is TIME. Time management is important in order to be successful. Everyone on your team has different needs, is motivated differently and requires different types of development. In order to complete all your task and ensure your team is successful you need to be able to handle the multiple hats you will need to wear throughout the day. Getting to know your team and watching them grow and develop is very rewarding. Helping others attain their goals is my favorite part of the job.

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Kedar’s Answer

This is a great question and comes up many a times, not only in the minds of folks wanting to explore a managerial role but also in the minds of managers who have been in the role for a considerable amount of time.

A lot of responsibilities that a manager handles are intangible i.e., its not quantifiable as easily as a document completed, a review submitted etc.
Its important for a manager to appreciate this fact and come up with innovative ways to feel content about the role that he/she is playing.
The hardest thing about being a manager, besides ofcourse justifying his/her role to the senior management, is about trying to make a difference to the team, the organization and ofcourse to the customers as applicable.

e.g. if a team member is pursuing a particular certification in his field of interest, the manager should be able to work with the team member, try and carve out some extra time for him/her to pursue the certification etc etc. The manager should be able to consider this as a job well done by being a part of the learning journey of the team member.


In short, the hardest thing about being a manager is to be able to step into the shoes of his/her team members, be their friend and guide and work with them to achieve professional goals. If this aspect is taken care of then the other responsibilities towards the team, organization and the customer are easily manageable. Keep the team motivated and you would have ensure a near perfect ecosystem.




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Sharla’s Answer

Great question! There are many aspects to being a manager or executive. To me, it is important to understand if your focus is on management or leadership. I see management as focus on the process, objectives, and systems. In that regard, you must understand how your particular focus works with others in the organization. Having an understanding of how other elements are integrated, who the stakeholders are and not working in a silo will go a long way. It can be difficult. On the other hand, leadership involves directing people to effectively deliver on the process, objectives and systems. Finding and maintaining a leadership style that strikes the right balance among organization's and stakeholder's needs while adapting to the changes of each of those interests can be difficult. In either case, I would focus on learning/acquiring skills in change management, negotiation, operational efficiencies, leading across generations, and effective communication.


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Rachel’s Answer

You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>




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Srinivasa’s Answer

Time management essentially, between running the business and growing the business, Managing people and growing people. Being bold to take tough calls for the benefit of the team.
Other key aspects that a manager should be doing, but not having enough time are ..
1.) Keeping a fine balance between people and technology. Keeping abreast with latest technology and Industry trends is important for any manager in IT/technology industry. If not down to nuts and bolts, but at least at a high level. It helps you to be relevant to your teams as well as to your stakeholders.
2.)Connecting the individuals in the team and their work to organization goals is another important aspect.

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Jaypal’s Answer

There are many aspects. One of the crucial point is to deal with people : People management. Definitely, one of he toughest part, like one cloth does not fit to all sizes, similarly one behavioural/managerial style is not suitable to all. Understanding people, their problems, guiding, motivating, inspiring them are key to get along with teammates/ colleagues. So I would say, the ultimate journey would be journey from being a manager to being a leader.
Hope you find this helpful! All the best

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Devita’s Answer

The hardest thing about being a manager is being able to influence people who have been doing the bare minimum to get by to pursue the potential you see in them. I try to establish a foundation with my employees from the beginning so that they understand my intentions are always to ensure that they have what hey need to succeed. I share my experiences and downfalls and how I've overcome them to push my own limits.

Another thing that is hard is watching people self sabotage and miss the opportunity to take their career to the next level because of their mental and emotional boundaries. As a leader I realize it's more of a career counseling interaction more than anything. What can I do to help them be comfortable with being uncomfortable? How can I make sure they are better employees after interacting with me than they were before?

With that being said, it's so rewarding when I have actually been able to get my employees to the point that they see their own greatness. To see them push themselves after working with them helps me hold myself accountable as well. It forces me to push myself so that I can continue to do the same with my employees.

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Janne’s Answer

Hi Ali,

I agree that to be a good leader, sure, you need to manage your time really well and be clear, set expectations and make sure that your team can see the vision, the North Star if you will, that you are steering them towards.

However, in order to be a GREAT leader, you need to get to know your team really well. You need to know each individuals' strengths and how to help them play to those strengths in order to help them show up at their best at work. Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses will help you release the greatness of the team, making the team shine, rather than focusing on improving 'weaknesses' to get to an even level of 'ok-ness'. This is both the hardest part but also my favourite part leading people

Janne recommends the following next steps:

Read 9 Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, this book will give you some inspiration and food for thought
Saved!

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Naveen’s Answer

"Balancing individual job responsibilities with time spent overseeing others": 32%. My impression? Fundamental but true: the classic balancing act all new managers must come to terms with. Hold tightly onto too much yourself and you get little done; delegate everything and you'll bury -- and alienate -- your staff."Supervising friends or former peers": 19%. Always tricky when promoted from within an organization. Usually not an issue if you come from outside.

"Motivating the team": 17%. Indeed, a challenge to managers at all levels. Many managers find it can be #44490f13682d" style="color: rgb(0, 56, 145);" target="_blank">hard to motivate but frustratingly easy to demotivate.

"Prioritizing projects": 16%. Often takes time, experience and judgment to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.

"Meeting higher performance expectations": 16%. And very different expectations, focused not on individual achievement but on eliciting high-quality work from others -- a completely changed orientation.

The survey also contained 10 "essential tips for new managers." Following are my three favorites, along with brief commentary.


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Amit’s Answer

I don't think there is one universal hardest thing about being a manager (or leader -- as I'd like you to start thiking about that role), mainly because different people have different natural strenghts. But here are few things many managers/leaders will struggle with:

1. Delegation : Especially if you've been a high-performings individual contributor, it's extremely difficult to delegate and trust people to come up with the goods.
2. Inspiring people: Managers have certain amount of power, but if you want to build a high-functioning, stable team, in this competitive market where your reportees can easily find new jobs, it's not the power of the role that will be of use, but rather your ability to inspire people into being the best they can be.
3. Managing Conflict: Good teams can break due to interpersonal conflicts. And a good manager/leader will need to keep an eye on them, and not to avoid them, but to address them in the right way. There is a lot of literature on this. If you are interested in leadership, you should start reading about this, and even practise in your relationships.
4. Earning trust and respect of the team: This is about your core-values. It's easier to make people fear you, but way harder to make them respect you, and hardest to make them trust you.
5. Prioritizing: Unlike an individual contributor, a manage/leader has to juggle multiple conflicting priorities all the time, and they need to keep a track of changing realities, and thus changing priorities, and proactively change course. It's a breadth job, not a depth job, so it needs a different set of habits.

These are just a few "hard" things about being a manager/leader. I'm sure different people will pick up different ones. And you may be good at a few of them so they won't even be hard for you. So really you need to ask yourself, "what do *I* struggle with?"

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Kedar’s Answer

This is a great question and comes up many a times, not only in the minds of folks wanting to explore a managerial role but also in the minds of managers who have been in the role for a considerable amount of time.

A lot of responsibilities that a manager handles are intangible i.e., its not quantifiable as easily as a document completed, a review submitted etc.
Its important for a manager to appreciate this fact and come up with innovative ways to feel content about the role that he/she is playing.
The hardest thing about being a manager, besides ofcourse justifying his/her role to the senior management, is about trying to make a difference to the team, the organization and ofcourse to the customers as applicable.

e.g. if a team member is pursuing a particular certification in his field of interest, the manager should be able to work with the team member, try and carve out some extra time for him/her to pursue the certification etc etc. The manager should be able to consider this as a job well done by being a part of the learning journey of the team member.


In short, the hardest thing about being a manager is to be able to step into the shoes of his/her team members, be their friend and guide and work with them to achieve professional goals. If this aspect is taken care of then the other responsibilities towards the team, organization and the customer are easily manageable. Keep the team motivated and you would have ensure a near perfect ecosystem.




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Brendan’s Answer

There's a bunch of people that have addressed the most common answer of making life altering decisions on behalf of your employees. That is by far the most emotionally difficult decision that a manager has to make. However, it is hopefully the most infrequent as well. What I've found to be the most difficult part of being a manager is creating a culture of constant feedback (positive and negative). Your team members are unable to know what they are doing well or where they need to focus without feedback. It's a vital part of creating a successful culture yet many managers find this to be the most difficult part of their job. This is because everyone receives feedback differently. Some people need lots of praise before you can introduce any negative feedback at all. Some people will argue with you about any negative feedback that you deliver. Others only want to hear what they can do better and react immediately to everything you say. You need to learn how to provide feedback frequently and how to manage the conversation when conflict is created by delivering negative feedback. You also need to be very careful not to utilize feedback to create a team of carbon copies of yourself. Though you may be the best person ever to perform the job, you need people around you that think differently and go about their job in a different way. Innovation doesn't happen by following the same process day in and day out for years and it certainly doesn't happen if no one questions the process or the boss from time to time. You need to give and receive feedback very well to be an effective manager. This is an area that I'm expecting to always be learning more about. Feedback is crucial, but also very difficult to deliver and accept for many people. Just when you think you have everyone on your team figured out, a small change in someone's life can change the way that they interpret your feedback or just change their attitude / willingness to accept or react to feedback. Always look for your team member's perspective and look for new ways to deliver feedback (both good and bad).

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Steve’s Answer

It's not easy to make that jump from subordinate to manager. I found the hardest part for me was having to discipline or fire a worker, especially being a new manager when I was younger. It's important to treat everyone with respect and communicate effectively with all your subordinates. One should know they are not going to remain in the job if they are not performing to the role, once you have given folks the tips and tools and training to become successful.


Good luck as you put on your Manager cap.

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Michael’s Answer

The hardest part about being a manager is when one of your employees is not performing. When this happens you must have what can be difficult discussions with them. What makes it especially difficult is when they do not desire to or want to improve their performance. Because when they do not want to improve, then you are left with no choice but to eventually terminate their employment (i.e. they will be fired).

Part of your question asked about being a CEO. I have owned a business and there are many challenges. You are constantly concerned about your employees, about the performance of the business, how to stimulate growth of the business and how to contribute to your surrounding community. While these can be difficult, they can also create some of the most stimulating and enjoyable events when things get properly executed.

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James’s Answer

The biggest challenge a new manager faces is delegation. A new manager has to transition from focusing on their own output to focusing on the output of their staff. Many people are promoted to a manager position because they are good at their job and have developed knowledge and expertise that allows them to produce very high quality output. Those skills and that experience has nothing to do with managing people.
The shift to producing good work to teaching other how to produce good work is critical. Your team can produce multiple times the amount of work you can produce on your own. Training, mentoring, delegation and holding people accountable are tools that a successful manager uses.
It will be easy to fall into a common trap "I'll just do that task myself because it's faster and easier than teaching one of my staff". Trust me, managers fall into that trap all of the time. Of course this is exactly the wrong approach as it removes the opportunity to train and mentor staff and the only outcomes is that the manager themselves will have to continue to perform the task because no one else knows how to. So this is another difficulty of becoming a people manager, you have to give your staff some leeway to learn what you are already an expert at. This can be frustrating, but remember, you learned many lessons along the way and your staff will need to learn those same lessons as well. You can train and mentor them, but just like you they will do most of their learning on-the-job, so you have to give them space to learn for themselves.

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Howard’s Answer

There are many challenges in regard to being a manager. I think the first thing to look at is to identity your own strengths and weaknesses, Second take time to find the strengths and weaknesses of your employees you are supervising. As you look to delegate and assign responsibilities to your employees, consider aligning employee strengths with job duties. As far as your own weaknesses, look for employees that are strong in those areas.

Also, an important skill is to identify how best to approach your employees when having to discuss job performance or even corrective actions. All people do not receive constructive criticism in the same manner. Some employees need a little encouraging while others want you to just get to the point.

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David’s Answer

Being a manager is truly difficult especially in the consulting world.

A manager is responsible to manage every aspect of the project and is considered the center of the engagement:
Downwards to make sure your team is operating effectively and efficiently.
Upwards to make sure your supervisors understand the progress and risks.
Externally to clients to make sure they are happy.

Also there is a major difference between a CEO and a manager. A manager is responsible for a specific project or department, where as a CEO is responsible for the entire company. There could be many managers but usually just one CEO in one company.

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Lee’s Answer

I would agree that one of the hardest things to manage is time. Time management is very import. One of the toughest pieces of management is having difficult conversations, it is important to build trust and a strong relationship with your team. What I like the most is seeing my team members perform at a higher level than they ever thought possible. Seeing them succeed is the best part of management.

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Todd’s Answer

As I continue to grow as a leader and manager, by far, the most important and most difficult skill to grow in is the skill of listening. Below is a paper I wrote confessing my mistakes along the way.

Listen Before Talk….A Lesson in Leadership, by Todd Zeiler (2016)

It was time for our monthly officer readout. I was prepared,organized, and eager. The room was set. I had arrived early, connected to the projector, and awaited for the exec team to drive over from HQ. It was time to deliver an “award winning update” on the cutting edge technology overlay (okay okay...it was a GSM overlay but we were pumped about 200Kbps and picture phones). My first big project. In charge of adding “lightning fast” technology overlay to the HQ city of Atlanta. The Cingular CEO would be my drive tester. The officer in charge was driving over for our monthly update. My pencil was sharp but unfortunately, so was my tongue.

As I have since learned, your strength is your potential weakness. Being thankful and leveraging one’s strength is a good thing but a strength left unchecked can be a painful tripping point for all of us. As a leader shared with me in the last few years, if he could hire on one quality alone it would be “self awareness”. The great leaders measure a 10 on the self awareness scale. Aware of their God-given strengths but also aware of how and when those attributes can become a crack in their armor.

Back to the meeting in Atlanta. The meeting begins. The officer (who later became a mentor and better to me than I deserved) was in place and ready for his update. His ability to surgically wade through the fluff of any update or slide deck and get to the meat of the update was intimidatingly impressive. No yelling. Foul language was very rare. You simply wanted to hit a homerun on the update out of respect for the atmosphere and desire to succeed that he created. He was (and still is) the kind of leader you simply didn’t want to let down. So the update begins. For some reason, as a young PM, the leadership team in the room was comfortable with my giving the update to the officer team directly. I cannot imagine the trust entailed (maybe courage is a better word) to allow me to give the update when so many levels existed between the updater (me) and the project sponsoring officer.

I launch into the update. He had questions. I had answers. Others had questions, I had answers. I had answers to questions not asked. I had answers for questions where they didn’t even finish their sentences. Then the moment of truth. The moment that hurt but looking back it was the medicine I needed to put a dent in my disease. I am the lead project manager giving the update on the state of the technology overlay for the HQ city of Atlanta. Market leadership was in the room. At the end of the day they would have to live with and answer for the end result of the overlay. To this point, they had not weighed into the update very much. Better said, I had not left room for anyone else to speak. I don’t remember what the question was but I finally had answered too quickly too often and rubbed the market leadership the wrong way. In front of a room full of execs and the sponsoring project officer the market leader crisply says……”okay answer man, let someone else talk for a minute”. Ouch. He was right. I didn’t want to admit that in the moment. Fo a matter of fact it hurt to hear. It was embarrassing and humiliating. I was thinking…….”man, you could have saved that feedback for after the meeting”. But he was right. I have shared that story many times with him since. It hurt but I needed to hear it.

“Where words are many, mistakes are most” ………..an inspired writer once said. We’ve heard the analogies but they are worth hearing again. A cell site traditionally has more receive antennas than transmit. There is a reason for that. Listening is critical to valuable dialog. We were created with two ears and one mouth. There is wisdom in that design and when I lead with the opposite ratio I shut down the room.

Hopefully I have grown alot since that meeting that took place in the early 2000s. I guess that report card must be filled out by my family, friends, and co-workers. Whether I have improved and grown as a listener is not my grade to give out but I know that I believe more than ever if I don’t grow in the skill of of being a listening leader I will be average at best. The power of a question and pushing myself to be an excellent listener is the key to growing as a humble and respected leader.

Whether you hear these words or not……..are you willing to “listen” for feedback on your listening? “Okay answer man, let someone else talk”. My guess is the world would be a better place if we all learned to “listen before we talk”. It must begin with me.

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Shiraz’s Answer

Being a manager is both a challenging and rewarding experience. It is challenging because as a manager you have to build a considerable amount of influence and leverage. You have to ensure that your team is always motivated, encouraged, empowered and aligned. You have to articulate your vision, strategy, and goals. You have to ensure everyone is moving in a uniform direction. A manager has to adapt to different personalities and communication styles, within their team as well as with those at their level and those at levels above them. In other words, a manager has to manage relationships across and above. Overall, being a manager can be a very rewarding experience as you see team members grow and develop, and you see projects and products achieve significant accomplishments. The ability to guide and implement methods and models to set up others succeed is a very rewarding experience.

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Stacy’s Answer

The hardest part about being a manager for me is Time and Flexibility to adapt my communication style and learning style to each person on my team. Time challenges have to do with learning how to juggle time to complete the deliverables I have as a manager but also make sure I have enough time to provide guidance, mentoring and coaching for my team is a huge challenge. Adapting Communication Styles and Learning Styles to each person on my team is critical to effective communication, building trust and helping each person reach his/her goals. I believe managing people is a balance of teaching and psychology and if you are in management it should be to help people grow and develop to be the best they can be which will help the team and company be the best they can be.

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Jonathan’s Answer

There’s many things being a manager has taught me, one of the hardest things to do is being able to take bad criticism and turn it around. We’re all humans and we all have feelings, sometimes we do things unintentionally that could come off in a negative way to others. I once had a manager that sat me down and asked what he could do better and he didn’t want me to hold back at all. He made sure to work on what myself and others disliked about him. Once I became a manager myself that was a tough conversation to have because there were little things I unintentionally did that came off as rude, but I made sure to work on them to ensure my team felt better. One of my favorite things as a manager is knowing my team can come to me with any problems, good or bad and know that I will work with them.

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Mradul’s Answer

I feel like being a manager is more difficult as compared to being an engineer.
Manager is someone who have to deal with people with versatile personalities, have to take care of all their requirements, whether his/her employees are getting updated as per the latest technologies.

Manager need to do stress management as well as he/she has to be on call with multiple customer accounts, he/she should be aware of all the activities going on in the different customer accounts.

So, these are some of the hardest thing which i feel is difficult for being a manager.

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Brian’s Answer

This is different for every manager and can vary depending on the level of skill required for a role. For Sales helping your team stay motivated can be challenging at times.

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Mridul Kumar’s Answer

Few hard things;-
- Firing an Under performing Employee
- Supporting a Grieving Employee.
- Handling Conflict Between Multiple Employees
- Dealing With a Dishonest Employee
- Persuading an Employee to Stay.
Hardest:
- Laying off employee

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Beverly’s Answer

Hi! What a great question. Not only will you glean from the answers current leaders provide you, but you also have caused me to reflect. :)

Early in my career the hardest thing was to put my success in the hands of others. When you are a people leader your team’s stats are your stats. Very soon I learned not to look at my own stats. I learned that when investing my time, energy, and focus on my team my results took care of themselves.

Today the hardest thing is letting go and taking quality time away. I find I’m so involved with my team that I stay in an always connected state. I’m learning to unplug a little at a time. I do this by turning off my connected devices when I need to spend alone time or time with family.


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Cicero’s Answer

Firing a friend!
This is were your role as a manger clash with the personal interests. Invariably we develop friendship at work, what makes quite a common situation. I've seen very good leaders hesitating when the need to take an executive decision to dismiss a team member (and a friend) who is performing poorly.

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Ashwath’s Answer

The hardest thing as a manager is manage your inherent bias. A manager or a leader's professional decision-making should not be clouded by his/her personal bias.

There are courses offered by firms to their managers on how to manage the bias.


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Col Sen’s Answer

As a CEO or a Manager (at all levels), I think that managing expectations of people is most challenging. It is not difficult to do a job or meet timelines or say the bottom-line (i.e. profit) provided your people oriented skills are sound. I as a Circle CEO of a telecom tower company with huge portfolio in a most difficult terrain of Uttar Pradesh (East) in India found that it was definitely challenging to meet the professional delivery to the clients month- after-month or y-o-y but not impossible. What was almost impossible to keep everybody happy : like when you are trying to meet the demands of clients, your team gets over stretched and keeping that kind of momentum for 24X7, 365 days is not sustainable. If you fail in that your boss as well as clients will be unhappy. Imagine, out of 48 districts, 42 was under severe floods, yet the expectation from one of the clients was like that of summers. When you can not do any construction, movement of material is just not happening, ware houses are flooded with stocks, everything is stuck as rains/floods are just not relenting, trucks are standing on the highways with the goods for days and labours are not ready to work, climbing on the towers or poles are risky..and so on...but demand has to be met or else you are a fall guy. Escalations will not be liked by senior bosses but that will continue pouring. Every meeting/reviews will be like an one sided war wherein you and your team is shredded into pieces without mercy....as a leader you can not lower your guard. You might be crying your heart inside but the sound of that cry has to buried deep down within you else your team will break...morale will go for a toss...which will take serious toll on your overall performance. Nobody accepts failure....come what may! You have to stand firm on your ground that may be shaky or even sinking, but never say "Die". I think this is the challenge. Fighting the battle everyday with smile is a challenge. Mind you, when you are at the top, you are very lonely! So, you need to have very strong family, friends and colleague's support and lastly, not the least, you have to have faith in you. Like Swami Vivekananda said: "Faith, Faith, Faith in yourself. Then Faith in GOD! " Meaning thereby that you have to have strongest possible belief in yourself more than even god, as saying goes: God helps those, who helps themselves!

One must remember that your team is the one which delivers, but you are the driver, who is driving them to success or failure. Responsibility lies on you, not on them. Thus, work hard, develop your team, train and mentor them and give adequate support so that they succeed. It is also important to remember that "Success is theirs but Failure is Yours"! Thank you!

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Pam’s Answer

To be an effective manager, it's important to understand and be aware of the different learning styles and motivations of the members of your team. Each person is different so there's a need to be adaptable to various styles. Also, knowing how to stay one step ahead of your leader is key to success.

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Gino’s Answer

The hardest trait probably for any Leader to develop, is not being at the forefront.

Most leaders are type A personalities and it goes against the grain for us to take a backseat. Its important to lead but that also means not necessarily being the face of every engagement/ initiative that our team is a part of.

I find the best leaders are at the forefront when there's a lot of heat on the team and take a backseat when the kudos/credit comes in, ensuring their team gets to bask in that glory.

Allowing oneself to be comfortable doing the same is a hard trait to develop.

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Audrietta’s Answer

What I like best about being a manager is helping my team members develop, finding their gifts and talents and putting them to good use. I love seeing my folks grow into what they didn't even consider as their abilities. The hardest part is making sure that I give attention to what they need considering so many competing priorities. But that's the joy of it all. I learned to be intentional about helping them to thrive. Sometimes that means the learn, grow and then leave for bigger and better, but that's ok too. You feel rewarded by knowing that you had a hand in their growth.

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Rukhsana’s Answer

In my opinion the hardest thing about being a manager is dealing with all the different personalities of people and learning how to work and interact with them. Everyone is different so it requires a lot of understanding and patience to handle different issues that people bring to the table due to their own views and opinions. You have to be open minded and be willing to listen to varying perspectives.

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KRISTY’s Answer

I think the most difficult thing about being a manager is dealing with subordinates who are unwilling, but able. In reality, this means that the employee is able to perform his or her duties and tasks, but is unwilling for one reason or another. As a manager, you have provided all of the training and coaching necessary and the employee has the skills, but refuses to follow directions. This employee requires discipline and performance management plan, up to and including termination if behavior does change. This negativity can impact your entire team and office. The morale can suffer from just one person so as a manager, you need to address these issues immediately.

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Erin’s Answer

Being available to your team when they need you. Different needs can potentially come up when you have a conflict on your calendar. Prioritizing and setting proper expectations is key. Don't over-promise and under-deliver. Make time for regular 1x1's with your team members to understand areas where they need guidance or would like to expand on their career development. Always know what motivates your team and make the time to recognize the wins.

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Doug’s Answer

The hardest part I've found being a manager is managing people. You often find yourself managing people that report to you and others that are not direct reports. How you manage these different groups varies. You also have to layout clear expectations to ensure that those looking to you for guidance know what they need to accomplish and be able to motivate others. Not everyone is motivated the same way so you need to listen to them in order to get to know them which will help you determine how to best direct them.

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Leahanne’s Answer

There is a whole cottage industry dedicated to advice on Leadership - what makes good leaders, what's hard about leadership. I would say, if you're doing it right, EVERYTHING is hard about leadership. But that's what makes it exciting and challenging. The key is unlocking each issue, what's hanging you up - what's the underlying obstacle or issue to be addressed, and then identifying and marshaling the right people to help you solve it. Leaders get into the most trouble when they're arrogant, they stop learning and they don't empower their people to help solve the problems, a.k.a do the work. As a leader, you have everything you need within your four walls, you just need to recognize that there's a problem or something to be addressed, and then you have to have the willingness to engage and empower your team to help. Also, you have to be willing to be vulnerable and want to work on being a better leader every day. It's like golf, you'll never get it perfect, but you have to love working on improving everyday.


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Dennis’s Answer

The hardest thing is to be convicted to your final decisions and you have to any personal affiliations out of the decisions making process. Many of managers fail because of allowing their personal relationships to get in the way with good solid business decisions. Stay firm with your final decisions, and you cant lose sleep over them.

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Chiranjit’s Answer

The most important thing as a people manage is to put yourself in others shoes to understand their point of view, challenges or attention they require. Also, maintaining balance between the need of business and peoples aspiration is critical for team's success.

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Jonathon’s Answer

Multiple Things:

1. Time Management: Between meetings and deadlines, you will find yourself not being able to accomplish everything. Learn how to prioritize and delegate
2. Managing your boss is just as much work as managing your team
3. Learn how to inspire

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Sanaa’s Answer

Hi Ali,

after several years managing teams, i would say that the challenging part of management, is dealing with different profiles, and be able to adapt your communication to them. Being accountable of what your team delivered can be challenging too, and you can learn a lot by driving and monitoring team members to achieve your commun goal. my advice is to keep in mind that you're one team with one goal.
Good luck and hope it helps.
Sanaa

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Katie’s Answer

The hardest thing about being a manager is learning how to deal with different people, personalities and ultimately directing a group of often very different personailities towards a common goal. You need to learn what motivates and inspires each person in your team and try to find ways that they can use their talents to serve the common goals of the team.

The best thing about being a manager is when you see all the people in your team motivated, inspired and working towards those common goals. That's when you know you've done a good job!


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David’s Answer

The hardest thing about being a manager. Really good question. Probably the hardest thing about being a manager is letting go through empowering others and allowing them to make mistakes in order to learn. Managers are evaluated, compensated and judged on the performance of their team. In order to develop a good team, you must empower your team members. The challenge is how do you empower people and allow them to make mistakes without costing you and the overall team. I believe the key is over communicating and understanding the true reason for these mistakes. You should not be afraid to directly engage the employee on the mistake without destroying their confidence and empowerment. Self-discovery is the best process to learn from mistakes so working to provide feedback in a way this is not mean but allows the employee to self-discovery the mistake and give them a path forward. Managers today have to care for their employees but care enough to address mistakes in performance early and in a manor that improves performance, not destroy employees.

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