If you’re the kind of manager who wants to make everyone happy, you might want to find a new position. Seriously. It’s not good for anyone. And while no one wants to work for a jackass, people do want to work for someone who is decisive, confident, and willing to do what it takes to make the best moves for the team. Sometimes that means being the bad guy or upsetting people.
I was coaching a manager recently who couldn’t understand why his ‘Manager Effectiveness’ scores were so low. He was your typical “I want to make everyone happy” manager, and in the end it just ticked his employees off. But because he’s ‘such a nice person’ his direct reports would never show their annoyance to his face. Instead, they sat around losing confidence in his ability to stand up for the team in leadership meetings, break a ‘tie’ when two employees were at a stand-still, and make overall decisions. Of course, none of this came out until the company wide effectiveness surveys. That sucks.
This post is short, sweet, and to the point. Managers have to be willing to be the bad guy once in a while. They have to be willing to have tough conversations with direct reports, tell an employee that his idea just isn’t up to par, and make quick decisions without worrying which team members will be happy or upset by it. It’s not always fun, but getting over the feeling of having to make everyone happy will, in the end, make everyone happy.
Marisa is a Culture Coach for small and quickly growing organizations trying to establish the infrastructure required to create a company full of passionate, motivated, and engaged employees. She has held culture and engagement roles for two nationally recognized great places to work, founded the research and networking group Culture Fanatics, and is an industry recognized blogger. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and twin boys and is looking forward to the day she can bike across the country to raise money for MS research. @marisakeegan.