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Do Not Be a Manager or a Leader

Managers: I am burned out.

Leaders: I am burned out.

HR: They need help, let's maybe talk to them and organise a wellbeing workshop.

Business leader: They are burnt out because they don't know how to do their job. Ask L&D to arrange training so they can learn.

L&D: We have arranged a series of workshops and training for the next 3 months.

After the workshops:

Managers: I am still burned out.

Leaders: I am still burned out.

Coach: I talked to the managers and leaders and they say they don't want to, never wanted to and hate managing and leading people.

This is reality not a made-up story. Many times I talk to burnt-out, frustrated, ready-to-quit managers and leaders I find out that they don't like managing people. Many go as far as to say that they don't like people.

When you find yourself in a role you dislike or have no desire to pursue burnout becomes inevitable, and no wellbeing or training program can remedy it.

So, what do we do? How can organisations address this? Recruiting better? Sure! But what do we do with those who are already in?

When I ask why they got into the role most talk about a higher salary, title, wanting to fix the organisation, create something related to work etc. Almost nobody talks about people. It's like people are not even part of those roles.

Shouldn't recruiters and hiring managers screen for this a little better if people were as important as we are told? So how should we assess for it? Not through badly designed competency-based questions.

You can use personality assessment, strengths assessment and other psychometrically valid (NOT MBTI) assessments that check the person's inclination towards other people.

I use strengths assessment and here is the kicker. The majority of leaders and managers are Process or Thought Oriented followed by Impact Oriented and the least of my population is always the People Oriented ones. And we wonder why people are not taken care of and managers and leaders are so focused on doing task-related jobs.

Don't be surprised it is in their profiles you just chose to ignore it! Now, it doesn't mean that Thought and Process Oriented people cannot be great managers or leaders. It means that their focus will not be on the people.

Your job as a manager or leader is to be ready at any given moment for:

  • What are my people going to mess up today?

  • What do they need help or guidance with?

  • Who needs my attention today?

These three are the basic questions managers and leaders must operate by daily. These three are present every day so this is what you should be ready for just like you get ready to open the store or for a busy operation.

People are part of your daily existence and you can hardly prepare for the things they come up with:-)

I hate giving advice but here it is; If you don't like people, or you don't want to manage and lead them please do not be a manager or a leader. It is hard because people are difficult and you will do damage. Not only to yourself by putting yourself in a role that will burn you out but to the people under your care. Find a good job where you can be the best individual contributor.

PS: Once an HR Director told me that she didn't like people:-)) I was like, great! We are all set for fun!

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