Ep #83: Why It’s So Hard to Manage People
Some leaders don’t find it difficult to manage people, but for others it seems to be this gut-wrenching thing. Being a good leader requires an ability to connect – to see and to be seen. Let’s talk about connecting and how courage and vulnerability come into play.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- To manage people, and have the kinds of conversations that good leaders need to have, requires a level of intimacy.
- Kris’s meaning of “intimacy.”
- Why intimacy requires vulnerability and, therefore, courage.
- Who you are, and how you’ve lived, is how you lead.
- As a leader you have a responsibility for the care of the emotional health and the thinking of people who work for you.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
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- By the end of this week, we’ll be releasing information about our new, live course called How to CEO for Entrepreneurs. People on the waitlist will benefit from some early registration perks, so sign up today at how2ceo.com.
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello, hello, hello and welcome. I’m so glad you’re here today. How are you? We are still in the fire in California, but I did just go this past weekend to Utah, southern Utah. My daughter finally got to play soccer, just so fun. And wow, what a beautiful place. We were in St. George. If you haven’t been to St. George and Zion National Park, if you are here in the US, put it on your list. It was certainly a beautiful place. So happy to get out and get some clean air and sort of see some new area. We’ve been stuck in our house for so long. So I feel a little tired after a 12 hour drive, but also kind of refreshed to just sort of have a lovely time and a nice time with my daughter. Watching her play is always my favorite thing. I love watching my kids play.
So today I want to talk with you about something I wrote a little while ago, and it really is rooted in thinking about all the… Well, why. I think about a lot. Why is it so hard to manage people? Why is it so hard to convey what we want from other people, to get what we want from other people, to tell people that they’ve not delivered what we want, all of it. Which then drives so many of us to avoid the conversations we need to have, or to maybe go the opposite, which is sort of rail against people in a way that helps us not have to feel our own discomfort. Right? We just blame and maybe even sometimes shame. I hate to say that, but that’s kind of the truth.
So I was thinking… I think a lot about this and why is it that for some people this isn’t as hard, and for other people, it’s just a gut-wrenching thing? And we throw a lot of terms out that I think a lot of you listening would identify with, like people-pleasers, or I don’t like conflict. I don’t like confrontation. I just have high expectations. You know, we just sort of throw these things out and there’s this general like yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, we understand, right? Oh, that’s what makes it hard. I just want to make everybody happy. I just want everybody to like me. I don’t know how to tell people, “no”. and so, yeah. Okay. All that’s true. And I don’t want to dismiss that, but what’s underneath it? You know? Like, do you ever wonder? I do. That’s my job.
And here’s what I think. I think that in order to be able to have the kinds of conversations that good coaches, managers, leaders have, it requires a level of intimacy. It requires an ability to connect and be seen and see others, unlike other people normally do with one another, in order to be really good, and in order to create an atmosphere and a culture of trust. Because it’s from trust that we can achieve that kind of connection and intimacy in our conversations, and frankly, just in our feedback.
But because so many of us, I think, really don’t know how to experience intimacy… And I know that word is often used mostly in personal, loving relationships, but I’m just talking about intimacy in that exchange of being seen and seeing others, and then sharing what you see. So I think that intimacy ultimately takes a tremendous amount of courage because in order for me to say to you, “The work that you produced for me, employee team member, is not what I expected. It’s not up to standard. It isn’t what I would have expected from you.” That obviously requires courage, right? I have to have the ability to feel strong enough to say it.
But then in order to say it in a way that someone will hear it and hear what my goal is, versus just an attack, there has to be intimacy, which means I see you as I say it. I don’t just tell you, “This is terrible, or this isn’t what I want.” I tell you, “Hmm, this isn’t what I expected. Let’s talk through it. Let me see you in your process.” And for some people who work for people like that, that’s also very uncomfortable. Like, “Whoa, I don’t want to be seen. I just want to do my work and get out of here.” But what I can tell you is that teams that thrive and teams that want to work for leaders like that are willing to be seen and appreciate it, because there’s a safety that comes with it.
So I know this can feel a little esoteric, but I want you to stay with me because I want you now to think about the relationships that you have with people where you are willing to have intimacy i.e., be seen, where you are willing, you are able to reveal your own insecurities, your own mistakes, your own inadequacies, your own failures. And you do so and you know, it will be held. Not stomped on ignored, shamed, right?
This is one of the reasons why I have so much value for my dear friend that I know I’ve talked about a lot. I have very good friends. And my good friend Brooke, is certainly to me, where it doesn’t matter what I tell her. First, she’ll laugh at me, which is fabulous. But then, I can share with her, and not only will she hold the space, but then she actually will give me feedback. But I can hear it because there’s an intimacy.
Now, I don’t work for her. She’s a friend. But I think that as we have relationships with people that we work with, we have to be willing as leaders, to be vulnerable and say to someone, “Okay, I’m going to be vulnerable right now. And this is going to take courage to tell you that what you did yesterday was not okay. The work you produced did not meet my expectations.” To feel that disappointment, to feel that frustration, to channel it into feedback and not use it as a weapon, but instead foster more of a relationship. But that takes a tremendous amount of courage from the leader’s perspective.
We always think so much about how people can hear you and what they do with feedback and how to deliver feedback, all those things. But I think this is really at its heart. When you think about the people that you are the most challenged by, the conversations you are the least likely to want to have, the feedback you don’t want to give, the stuff you avoid, if you’re honest, really, really honest with yourself, what is it? What is the emotion you don’t want to feel?
And I’m going to guess it’s somewhere between fear and anger. And it’s because you’ve put your success into someone else. How vulnerable is that? Right? I’m going to hire someone to do my marketing. I’m going to hire someone to sell for me. I’m going to hire someone to produce my product. Something that you birthed out of your brain is now in someone else’s hands. Talk about vulnerable.
But if you don’t match that through the intimacy that you create with them in terms of feedback, if you are unwilling to really go into that, then you will always be in resistance and in anger and in frustration that you have to tell them what you want, versus seeing I have brought you into this space of vulnerability with me, and I am willing, I am willing to lose you as a team member, but I still have to tell you this wasn’t okay. This doesn’t meet expectations. This isn’t aligned with our values. I have to tell you that if I’m going to build the team that will take this business to where I need it to go. I can’t avoid people and still get there. And I cannot berate and yell and chastise people to get there either.
But when I meet people… I know I’ve told you guys this, but for years I coached the difficult executive. I wrote a few books on difficult people. And I just started to coach difficult executives. And all those people who were dismissive and rude and micromanaging and controlling and aggressive, they were raw inside. They were afraid. They weren’t mean. They just came across that way. And why? Because they felt tremendously vulnerable and exposed when other people didn’t meet their expectations because of the perception of failure and attachment to that failure.
So, I have said this for as long as I can remember, that who you are is how you lead, how you’ve lived is how you lead. And the conversations that are hard for you to have at home are going to be the same conversations that are hard for you to have at work. And the core, the common core of that is intimacy, being seen and failing while you’ve been seen. Right? Telling someone “This isn’t what I expected.” And having them push back. Having an employee say, “Forget you, I quit then.” These are risks we take. I would encourage you to see, if you don’t believe me yet, that that’s a worthy risk, because then what you do is you build the whole thing.
I recently had a conversation with someone. I could tell something was up. And all I had to do was ask her one question that fostered her vulnerability. But it required me first. One coaching question of a team member opened up the door to an incredibly powerful discussion and outcome. But if you don’t do your work as a leader, if you don’t learn how to understand your own mind and your own emotions and your own connections to your work and the outcomes that you get, you will not be able to foster that kind of relationship with the people that work for you.
Now, here’s what I want to say. I’m sure there are people who listen to this and think, “I don’t have any interest in this. I just want to hire people and I want them to get their job done.” And I think over time, you could probably make that work to a certain degree, but it will never be what I know as possible. You’ll have turnover. But maybe you don’t care. You have people who work for you and have a job, but there’s not really a depth of connection to the vision and the mission. And maybe you don’t care. They won’t have the same level of commitment. There’ll be ripe for picking, but maybe you don’t care. And I don’t really care if you care, to be frank. It’s okay. I just think it helps you know where you need to keep developing your leadership skills, and it may not be here.
Because my intention, I believe that as a leader, you have a responsibility for the care of the emotional health and the thinking of people who work for you. I do believe that. That is a tenet of mine. As the boss, I carry with me positional authority. I, through my behavior and my words, trigger thoughts in my team members, which can trigger amazing emotions or terrible ones. Do I make them feel that way? No. But does my behavior become a circumstance that they have thoughts about? Yes. Which means I have a responsibility. And I take it very seriously. And I know the magic that comes from a team that has a leader and team members who are willing to learn how to be courageous by building a culture of intimacy with one another, of knowing each other and seeing each other. It’s magic.
So really ask yourself, where do you struggle? Where do you not want to be seen? Where are those conversations and those challenges, those circumstances in your business that you really just wish you didn’t have to deal with? Why? What’s on the other side of it that makes you so uncomfortable? “Well, I have to tell them that they didn’t do it right, and they’re going to be really disappointed. And then maybe they won’t show up to work tomorrow, or maybe they’ll give me the silent treatment or whatever.” Which I hear a lot, frankly.
But just notice that they’re going to use their own emotional manipulation by silent treatment-ing you, and you’re indulging it because you’re just giving them the silent treatment on the front end by not telling them anything. Either way. How about we just decide to have the courage to address it and then even address the silent treatment, which I’ll do on another podcast, because of course that’s completely unacceptable at work, silent treatment, from you or from them. No pouting at work, ever. That’s emotional abuse. So let’s keep that in mind too.
So intimacy requires courage. Courage comes from choosing to think differently about who you want to be as a leader. But it all begins, I think, by sort of believing that I can connect more and see more and be seen more and still be safe. And through that connection and intimacy with my team, I will manifest and create stronger, more powerful results. So, something to think about.
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We will be releasing a lot more information about this program by the end of this week. We will be announcing the guest experts. We will be announcing all of the modules that we will be covering and a little more details about the schedule. So I’d love to make sure you get all of that. And the best way to do that again, is to get on the wait list, howtoceolive.com. Thanks for tuning in today. Have a wonderful, wonderful day.
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