portrait of a woman with Venice mask

Managing people is about managing personalities and conflicting interests.  It’s about figuring out what motivates people, and how to get them to do their jobs to your standards.  It can be very hard.  It is especially hard getting people to do things that have to be done, that don’t particularly excite them.

Think about entering data into a database, or writing reports.  Different people will approach the problem in distinctly different manners, but likely they will procrastinate, or prioritize other work over doing tedious tasks.  So, how do you get them to understand the value of doing the mind-numbing tasks?  Once they understand the value of those tasks, how in the world do you get them to actually DO them?

Every employee you meet, and indeed every person, is going to need and want different things out of their job, and out of their life.  that means that motivating people, and managing people is all about managing the individual personalities.  I like to sit down and understand what is most important to each person.  For some people, it will be a specific goal, such as going to Disney World.  For others, a flexible work schedule is going to be a requirement.  How many different motivators can you think of?  Dozens, off the top of your head, right?  Money, Fame, Recognition, Time off, Travel, No Travel, Being able to spend time with kids, Flexibility, Regular bonuses, Flat salary.  Each person has their own motivators and the key is managing personalities and requirements.

Don’t think that employees are going to change for you.  Rather they may give some, and approximate what you’re trying to get them to do.  Ultimately, though, you’re going to have to bend yourself and conform yourself to their individual needs to be the most successful.  So, look behind the mask, and figure out what motivates them, and where they want to go.  Chart a path, and begin with the end in mind.  Because managing personalities is something that takes energy, time, thought, and some creativity at times.  You may also decide that certain things, you aren’t going to deal with, and that’s OK too.  You need to decide what those are, and identify them clearly.

What about you?  What do you think?  Please leave me a comment, and tell me what you think.