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Impossible Management Problems

We recognise that managers have quite reasonable expectations that they are to exercise control over their staff; to resolve problems that crop up; to remediate, or even discipline, challenging behaviour; and basically, to be accountable for getting the work done.

This is what managers are employed to do. So, to this end, it’s important to have skills in things like emotional intelligence, time management, conducting difficult conversations, and acting with courage and authenticity.

But we know that despite possessing all these skills, managers still find themselves dealing with what seem like impossible problems, eg. the staff member who takes excessive sick leave; or who just can’t seem to improve their standard of work; or the person who just doesn’t comply with your reasonable directives.

We have probably all been in situations like this where no amount of emotional intelligence, or radical candor, or even performance management is having any effect.

And we know that the effect of these kinds of situations is that, as a manager, you cannot either set firm goals or achieve them, and your and well-being and career prospects are at risk of being held hostage by your staff member’s problems. And we know that being caught up in chronic problems that resist solutions can be very stressful and consequently, draw a manager into a destructive downward spiral that does long term damage to their personal and professional well-being.

A key reason why we think some problems resist resolution by existing training approaches, is because those approaches focus on the individual manager as the locus of control in the workplace, when in fact, the problems – and opportunities - of the workplace usually arise from the ways in which the relationships between the people doing the work are organised.

By that we mean problems almost always arise from the ways that the organisation requires people to interact in order to get the work done. But they may also originate from the ways that people self-organise according to what they think is expected of them.

But, if workplaces processes assume that the manger is the locus of control, they miss out on the ways in which the broader sets of workplace relationships exercise significant power over how the work gets done.

Imagine the impact of this approach to management for your work fulfilment!

Take a moment to consider what life would be like if you experienced less suffering and an increasingly healthy workplace culture?

© 2022 fervid partners

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