With Halloween just a couple of days away it seemed fitting to do a mashup with Edgar Allan Poe. Career speak and dark romanticism, which the latter was his sweet spot; But even more notably, poetry and writings like the “The Raven” and ‘Annabel Lee”. Further support to the thesis, this also seemed fitting as the Bizzeebobber.com blog is typically more like short stories (in length) than blog posts. Poe mastered short stories interwoven with the macabre.
Not everyone aspires to manage people especially in Corporate America. Who needs everyone else’s drama? I felt the same way, at first. Managing employees isn’t always what you set out to do it just sort of happens. It’s not a yearning that hides under the floorboards. It’s a realization by you and your company that you are ready for more… there is consistent evidence and signs of it [and by “it” we don’t mean… Well, you know. Have you read the classic, “Tell-Tale heart”?].
Managing a team or department(s) could be rewarding and fulfilling, too. This post is dedicated to anyone interested in embarking on a career of management – and cherry on top if you love celebrated writers like Edgar Allan Poe. Or should I say, Gold Bug on top. Maybe it’s just on my mind, “The Gold-Bug”.
Many say it’s important to be bitten by the Management bug, but “The Gold-Bug” is truly a better premise because the short story is about a secret message that will lead to buried treasure. You know that we are all about hidden treasure, Quoth Bizzeebobber. (Comment below, if you can successfully use the word Quoth in a sentence. Pretty sure this would be considered murder in my usage of the word. Tip: Challenge yourself, refrain thyself from using this muttering: Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”).
Perspective on managing others. Is it “A Dream” role?
Management can cause hope and sorrow. Poe described it best in this epic poem, “A Dream”, but I would like to share my thoughts on the topic.
Firstly, let’s talk about HOPE. You have to have hope or else why bother? Hope is bigger than you – it’s larger constructs.
Nothing is better than guiding others and watching them succeed. Managers do this and it’s quite the honor. Not taking credit for their (your subordinates) efforts and labor as a true leader is always in the backdrop (Though it’s important to be able to roll-up your sleeves and be hands-on when needed, too; Be willing to do the same work as people aren’t beneath you. They are beneath you maybe in title and rank, don’t have a big head). Currently, I lead a group of Project Managers who implement health and benefit sites for clients. Thus, my client is essentially the team I serve. I act as an escalation path should they need it, when their clients are frustrated. I ensure my team has what they need technology-wise and ultimately, from a mental perspective.
Never have your team talking to themselves (getting in their own head). It would even be better to have “Some words with a mummy”, if they are starting to unravel. It’s important for a manager to give the team hope. To be an inspiration.
Managing employees is not barking orders or telling others what to do on a power trip. It’s listening and showing empathy, but also providing constructive criticism. You cannot always give praise. You cannot enable them either. There’s a necessary balance.
I have hope that my team or anyone I manage will get better. They will improve based on our numerous interactions. They will become good leaders in their own right instilling integrity, humility, and empathy. Understanding the elements of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) are harbingers of success. In essence, I HOPE I am shaping tomorrow’s leaders.
Hope is forward-looking never back. Inspired by a poem, please give me no slack:
Lead others and lead them well,
don’t do all the work or let them dwell.
Respect each person’s personality and style too,
remember that success is never about YOU.
Do these things and do them twice,
a manager you are that is worth a great price.
Sometimes it’s hard to watch your team falter. You want to step in and help – to take over and make things go right. You have sorrow experiencing their defeats and can even personalize it. You have to remember that management is an important role and not achieved overnight.
Do not cause sorrow in others, because you are in charge. Treat people like people. Be stern, but fair. You will never get the best out of people by threatening or talking over them. In my trade, Project Management, wanted to reflect this sentiment with a poem.
All projects have challenges you must know this to be true,
You will never be successful, If you let disappointment overtake you.
Dwell not in negativity or despair,
find the things you did well and go from there.
Learn from mistakes and client complaints too,
make sorrow a memory like going to the zoo.
Poetry is not our most profound skill here at Bizzeebobber. Hope we are not “Diddling” with your love of the same. One might say that adhering to a theme is where we are most adept or is it “The Power of Words”?
4 “Tell-Tale” signs you are ready to manage employees … it takes more than just HEART
1) You have better experience than your peers. Not just “The man of the crowd” [Or woman]
When you really take a deep look at things are you as good as you think? Be truly honest. Different than the bravado you might show at the “bubbler” with some friends you have gotten to know at work. We all think we are better than our boss (or our boss’s boss), but there is a different mood when you truly are.
This alone won’t qualify you to be a strong manager, but it’s likely that you are ready because people come to you all the time anyway.
Are you that person others come to, because they don’t want to go to the actual manager?
2) You help others without being asked. “The business man” [Or woman]
Minor digression, but my female readers please excuse my liberties with [example]. It’s just that many of these works were written prior to evolutionary changes in mainstream…
You help others without being asked (But not a braggart as the actual short story, “The business man”, depicts): It shows responsibility and leadership to help others when not asked. It’s caring about the welfare of fellow peers and colleagues, which is a great sign that you are truly ready to manage people.
In my case, I was always asked to coach others on the role and eventually – future companies I worked for – just assumed this same role and presence. Inevitably, it led to management because this was my regular comfort zone.
Are you that person others speak highly of – and you have a great reputation?
3) Your boss defers to you… “Lionizing”
I don’t mean they are asking your opinion all the time before they make a move, but more about your skill set and talents are respected by them. They seek you out to understand if XYZ can be done. You are the subject matter expert and they are likely somewhat removed from how things really work.
People who typically do a job really well are the first ones upper management considers to promote to manager. Impressing your boss will work greatly in your favor.
Are you that person where even the boss feels comfortable venting to you?
4) You truly care about solving a pervasive business problem (or customer’s problem)… You would work even if there were “Three Sundays in a Week”…
Those moments where you wake up from sleep in a cold sweat – Kind of like that a ha moment and revelation in figuring out “A Predicament” that has been so vexing – means your ready for management. It’s not always about the particular solution or remedy that comes to you in the wee of the night, but the fact that it’s weighing on you like a ton of bricks. You can handle the pressure; It’s taking accountability for the outcome of a project or some aspect of your job. It shows that you truly care and in order to be an effective manager you have to care. That is paramount.
Managing others is a natural evolution of wanting to solve broader problems beyond your own.
The Black Cat” is never a veil. Bad luck is not a thing… You work through the problem(s) and get a successful end result. You control your destiny, and hard-work is poetic justice. EYE on the prize (Fans of Poe may get this one, especially if you focus on the EYE versus “I”)
Are you that person who always puts the company first? Some may call you the one who drinks the company kool-aid.
L is for Leadership
Edgar Allan Poe loved the letter “L” as it is cited in many of his famous works including Annabel Lee. In becoming a manager of people, it’s simply about Leadership. We can deploy other “L” words too such as: Learner, Liaison, and Listener, to name a few.
Perfectionism is not a realistic aspiration; Leaders – managers – make mistakes too. And will again…
Once you are a manager will you ever want to go back to being the underling? I don’t think so, Nevermore.