Why do Managers Duck People Management?

This piece of research caught my attention recently;

“While 84 percent of organizations know that workforce effectiveness is important to achieving business results, only 42 percent of those surveyed say managers devote sufficient time to people management.”

What stops managers from spending time on developing workforce effectiveness?

Why do so many managers ‘duck’ managing people.

  1. Some managers don’t think it’s their job – ‘I am here to make sure that widgets get out the door on time and on budget.  I expect people to manage themselves.’
  2. Some managers don’t have the tools they need – Few managers are trained in the systems and processes that will help them to develop the potential and the performance of the people that they manage.
  3. Some managers believe that conflict comes with the territory – and would prefer to avoid it for as long as possible – Many managers fear that ‘managing’ people leads to conflict and conflict leads to poorer performance.  ‘People management’ is synonymous with ‘managing underperformance’.  Few managers have a positive, engaging and developmental management approach that thye know will work.

For me the managers job is not about ‘managing people’.  It is about providing them with a relationship to the organisation that allows them to develop their potential and to do great work.

In my experience managers that work systematically on building this relationship and then use:

  • feedback,
  • coaching and
  • delegation

to develop each persons contribution to performance very soon become outstanding managers recognised as leading high performing teams.

However it does take time – perhaps 60-90 minutes per week for each person managed to do the most effective job.  But the returns on that investment can be enormous – I would estimate productivity gains per person to be in the region of 25-40% within 6 months.