How often have you seen management who look like they would prefer to be anywhere else but at their desk?
Lately I’ve been working with a couple of managers of different organizations who are exactly in this position. They lack energy, having worked to exhaustion for the company. They’re starting to be short with their co-workers and their families. And in one case, they were internalizing their frustrations and shutting down their communication with their boss.
Does this sound familiar?
If you’re a manager and you’re feeling trapped, underappreciated, struggling in a company where you have no sense of ownership or purpose, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s quite common for managers who are focused on achieving the company’s vision and goals to get to this state of personal discouragement.
Michael Gerber puts it well in his book The E-Myth Manager, where he states that there are rules of successful management. I’ll summarize:
To be a great manager you need to know what you want to become and have a clear vision of what you want to do with your life. You have to be willing and able to take responsibility for your future and managing yourself. You need to decide whether the future that you dream of can be achieved doing what you’re doing.
If you want to be a good manager, you need to hear and see yourself as others hear and see you. And you really have to care about and show interest in those people you supervise.
This process of finding your life’s vision is not always simple. As a successful manager, you may have always thought you had to focus on achieving the company’s objective.
If the company objective is for you to drive a team of people to achieve high sales goals, you might be invigorated by this if your personal vision is to have lots of money or be a top sales manager.
However, if you decide your purpose in life is to work in a low-stress environment and spend more time with your family, which is more important than achieving high sales or more money, then of course you’re going to feel unmotivated and eventually burned out.
While it might be counterintuitive, as a manager you must think about what you need first. If the company can provide for many of those needs, you’ll be able feel energized in managing that business.
Ultimately, as Gerber says, once a person has decided that the management position has potential, the manager needs to think like an owner in terms of where money is coming from and where it’s going.
A great manager looks at the processes of the business and tries to make them better. A great manager understands the needs of their staff and works to help them reach their potential. By achieving success in these areas, you’ll be re-energized and re-motivated as a manager.
As business leaders, we need to ensure that our managers aren’t burning out by giving them the skills, opportunities and trust to build and improve our organizations.
We need to encourage, celebrate and enjoy the successes that these managers create and not be threatened by them.
Leaders and managers have a responsibility to better their workplaces by creating environments and cultures that are conducive to fulfilling lives, dreams and visions of owners and managers.