Friday, November 1, 2019

5 things about people management

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharney

Let me start by saying that I love managing people. I find it one of the most professionally rewarding things I've done in my career to date. That said, there's a number of things I'm still figuring out:

  • How much information to share. Ideally you want to give people enough context to understand the environment within which they are working without overburdening them with superfluous details or distractions. In practice I tend to share much more than was ever shared with me when I occupied their positions, my team seems to value it, though it has definitely led to a handful of more difficult conversations. 
  • How to balance individual needs with the needs of the team. Not everyone has the same work style or preferences, optimizing the work environment to get the best out of of everyone isn't easy, especially when some team members may feel as though they are either benefiting from or being held back by a more laissez-faire approach. 
  • How to best manage interpersonal relationships with people outside work. I'm a social being and bring my whole self to the job, but being a manager naturally creates a degree of professional distance that can be difficult to navigate in healthy and productive ways. I recall a conversation I had with a Deputy Minister who told me that the worst thing about their ascension was how the tone always shifted whenever they entered a room. I'm not there by any stretch, but that story still weighs heavy. 
  • How to measure success. It's not too difficult to evaluate whether or not you are delivering on expectations with respect to the work. You can ask simple questions, are we meeting deadlines, or are we meeting expectations? However its nearly impossible to evaluate whether or not I'm managing effectively with respect to the people. I have little to go on other than overall satisfaction / engagement of my team and the quality of their work. Moreover, we don't help people learn how to give constructive feedback. We are all kind of meandering through. 
  • How to turn good habits into practice. I keep telling my team that we need to build our practice up so that it can endure any shifting winds -- new hires, departures, re-organizations, change in mandates, etc -- and I'm mostly doing this by trial and error right now. I'm not even sure where to look for support on this and its always the first thing to fall off whenever duty calls.

Where is the conversation about thoughtful people management happening right now? 

It's got to be happening somewhere, I've been doing some reading but surely there's a place where there's a more active discussion about people's practical experiences.

Someone connect me to the conversation?

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