Not only did he have poor people skills, he micro-managed. It was his way of making sure people did their jobs. And he got angry and made disparaging comments when things didn't go his way. Because of how he dealt with her, she never felt the desire to do what she was capable of doing.
And so it goes in the world of work. As a manager, if all you ever wanted was for people to come to work on time and do what’s required, you could just manage them the way you do anything else, such as funds, tools, equipment, supplies, etc. You wouldn’t need people skills.
But what most managers really want is for team members to do their best work—both individually and as a coordinated effort.
People have talent. They have energy. They have the potential to be creative. They can be bold, patient, persistent, and a lot of other things as they work through tough challenges.
But even if they’re capable of delivering this kind of effort, they don’t have to. There’s a certain level of performance - and they know what it is - that’s specified in their job description. To keep their jobs, that’s what they have to do. When the boss tells them to do something, that’s what they have to do.
The problem is that this level of effort is what managers recognize as “business as usual.” It’s not the kind of high performance team members are capable of. What managers want most are things that can’t be specified or measured: courage, compassion, commitment, composure, optimism, decisiveness, and dozens of other aspects of performance. You can’t demand these things and you can’t hold people accountable for them.
To get what you really want from people, you have to lead them. You have to grow them into the kind of team members who willingly do these things. And you have to inspire them. You have to support them and encourage them. Eventually, when they know the leader, like the leader, respect the leader and trust the leader, then they may choose to give that level of effort. And if they do, day in and day out, work will become very satisfying to them. And of course it will be satisfying to the manager.
That’s why people skills and personal strengths are so important. It’s not rocket science, but it’s the real reason why managers need to make the effort to become better leaders.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .