Management: Doing What it Takes, Even When it Sucks
A Little About Me
To get started I should probably tell you a little bit about myself. I am a manager at a fast food restaurant. Management at different establishments vary, so this is based on my experiences as a manager in the food industry.
With that being said, you should also know. I have a big heart. I am a very compassionate person. I hate to see anyone hurting and I happen to also be an empathetic person. I have put myself on your emotional level and I can relate as though I am there with you. It is a blessing and a curse. The biggest problem with this is for me in management, it is a flaw. It makes certain aspects of my job absolutely miserable for me. I despise having to reprimand people as I don't particularly enjoy confrontation and don't even get me started on having to fire people. It is all apart of management, whether I like it or not.
Which is why I have become fond of saying, "Don't make me do my job."
I may hate that part of my job, but when it comes down to crunch time, I will make the hard calls. Can you?
Speaking Up and Speaking Out
When you happen to be one of those people who are none confrontational or just plainly introverted, having to deal with confrontation daily can be your own personal hell.
Believe me, I know.
If you want to move up in your career though you must be fully aware of everything that it takes, and that includes being confrontational even when it isn't your thing. Its draining, its stressful, and I cant name one person that I know personally who actually likes having to get in another persons face about anything, but its all apart of the job.
I'm a soft-spoken person. I prefer knowing what the problem is, assessing it, and coming back to it later after I have had time to analyze everything. You would never know that watching me on my job. I get loud, I tell people what to do, and I adjust the problem on the spot right when I realize something is going wrong. (Which you have to train yourself to be extremely quick at or else its your butt on the line)
When I first started out, I didn't say a lot of anything about anything. It is just who I am. Even to this day I do deal with confrontation outside of work really and I have been told I am a completely different person inside of the work place than I am outside. Sometimes, that is just what it takes. While I don't like to speak up and speak out and I don't enjoy people being mad at me, I had to learn the hard way that I have a choice. Either be the good guy and have everyone love me and risk my job, or be the bad guy, secure my job, and actually have people respect me and my authority. It is a tough call, especially when you have the kind of heart that I have, but it's one that you have to make. Before you walk in that door, your game face goes on, your personal feelings get left behind, and it is all business.
Can You Be the Bad Guy?
A big part of the management position is having to be the bad guy. I hate this part.
I honestly feel like somewhere in the list of job requirements it should list:
- Ability to be heartless
- Ability to put business before employees
- Backbone of diamond (because steel simply isn't strong enough)
- Assertive and Confrontational
- Ability to withstand extreme pressure daily (40+ hours a week)
I can admit that I do not have to be the bad guy often. In the restaurant that I work in my team is great. I do not have to reprimand people on a day to day basis, but when I do, I hate it. Do I do it anyways? Yes. Do I skirt around the issue to avoid confrontation? No. Do I wish I could? Well Yeah!
It is hard not to grow close and to care about people that you are around 40+ hours a week. You get to know your workers on a personal level and therein, it can become personal when you have to do things like, fire one of them. Especially if you happen to be fond of that worker. I am speaking from experience, it can be a devastating experience for both you and the worker. You must remember in these moments though that if you are rightfully firing someone for violating company policy that they were aware of, then it is not your fault and you should not feel guilty for doing so. It is much easier said than done, but it is a must to understand when you are in a management position. Yes, people will look at you as the bad guy. Are they going to look at you as a hero if you take one for the team and lose your job for someone else? Possibly, but you'll have your 15 minutes of fame and then they will move on.
Being the bad guy is a job requirement.
Ask yourself this. If you knew an employee didn't do their job and it caused everything to go awry that day and your boss approached you and told you that it was crunch time. You had to fire someone over how bad the day was, and its your choice. Either you fire someone or you get reprimanded for what happened (even though it wasn't your fault and you knew whos fault it was), What would you do?
Could You Fire Someone That You Liked?
How to Be a Good Manager
Being a good manager can be hard, demanding, and exhausting. It is definitely easier to be a boss, and just sit on your butt, tell people what to do, and point a finger when things go wrong. It is not easy to jump in, help, accept blame when you mess up, and actually contribute.
You have to maintain a good attitude, no matter how stressed you get, and still convey the message that you care even though you have to law down the law.
Just because parents must discipline their children does not mean they do not care. The same can be said about managers and business. Just because we have to reprimand people for doing wrong does not mean that we cannot get the point across in such a way that says, "We will not tolerate this. We care about you, you are a good worker, but this is unacceptable."
At the end of the day, when you clock out and leave, as much as you wish you could leave everything behind, you can't. You have to come to peace with yourself about doing your job, the hard parts and the easy parts, and figure out what is more important to you. Being the good guy, or being the bad guy. Only you can decide what you are willing to do to move up in the business and what you are not willing to do, and no one else can make that call for you.
If you want to be a good, successful manager, my best advice to you is lay down the law but don't neglect to spread the love either. You want to be respect, not feared. Admired not hated. Being a manager in any business is a very large responsibility and not for the faint of heart, but at the end of the day you can help people grow and discover themselves. It is a rewarding position, you just have to be prepared and aware of all that comes with it.