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Managing People - Why Is It So Difficult?

Managing, supervising, being a team leader is the hardest job in the world and I'll tell you why. Imagine what it's like to drive a car. You turn the key to start the engine, select drive or the gear you want and press the gas pedal. The car then moves off and if you want to turn you rotate the steering wheel to the right or left and to stop, you press the brake pedal. All this was quite difficult when you first learned to drive but its easy now.

If I asked you to drive my car, you might take a short while to get used to it, but you'd immediately be able to drive down to the supermarket and get me some food.

However, if I was to tell you that my car was different from any other you'd driven then I'm sure you'd have a problem - "You don't start it with a key there's a little switch somewhere. When you engage forward gear it might go backward and if you turn the wheel left it might go right but sometimes it goes left. And the gas peddle is what stops it and the brake pedal makes it go faster but not every day. You'll get used to it in time; I've lived with it for years".

Managing people is pretty much like this, every model is different and you need different skills to "drive" each one. Just because pressing the gas pedal on one model makes it go forward, doesn't mean to say that the next one will be the same; it might, but it might not.

The problem arises because we "learn" on certain models and then find to our annoyance that the others are different. "Why can't they all be the same" we scream in frustration."

Human beings are the most complex and complicated pieces of "equipment" you'll ever have to deal with. Many of them have similarities but every one of them in this world is different and they all work in a slightly different way. Your job as a manager is to get these complex humans working as efficiently as possible, there's no one around to show you what to do and there's no instruction manual.

What also complicates the relationship between the manager and the team is this - Human beings are totally driven by their emotions.

When managers face a problem with one of their team they try to solve it logically and then they wonder why it all goes wrong.

Imagine that one of your team announces - "I'm leaving this job, I've found another job doing the same thing and it pays more money." You realise that you don't want to lose this team member so you approach your boss and agree an increase in salary. However, when you offer the increase in salary the team member turns you down.

So you think logically - "What's wrong with this person, why are they leaving?" They might be telling you that they're leaving for more money however that now doesn't seem to be the reason. It might just be that they're leaving because they feel you just don't care about them.

I've seen this happen so often with the good guys in a team. Because they're one of the high achievers who don't give the manager any problem they get left alone too much. What happens then is - they feel that the manager doesn't care about them so they leave.

Managing people is a hugely difficult job, a degree in psychology would help but if you haven't got that then click the link below.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people. Visit

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