Manage Things Lead People

I’m often in discussions where client groups talk about ‘managing people.’

My thought around that is that you really can’t manage people.  You can lead, coach, discipline, teach, inspire, bawl out, and otherwise affect the lives of people.  But people are completely resistant to management, and efforts in that direction don’t work that well.

Management is about things.  You manage (and build) the systems that people interact with.  You manage materials and equipment and cash and other resources.

So don’t measure how well you are managing the people around you.  Instead ask how you’re helping them grow as people.  Are they better people for having worked with/for you?  Have you had the hard talks?  Have you showed them that you care, and also have high expectations?

Lead people, manage things.

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