Why Is It So Hard to Manage People?

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Silhouettes-81830_1920Talk about management and you immediately begin to talk about people.

Every business owner I have ever met with complained that getting employees to do what they were supposed to do was one of their biggest problems.  Over the years, I have heard about many “solutions” to the people problem.  My recommendation is save your money and time—none of them really work!  The E-Myth Manager is the only one that gets it right.  The author states that the reason they all fail is that they fail to recognize one common, inarguable precept:  People are simply unmanageable. 

It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how well you plan, or what system you try to introduce.  The sheer irrationality of people will always screw it up!

But you can’t run a business alone, so you need employees. 

The E-Myth Manager continues:

“Let’s start from square one.  People can be many wondrous things – creative, inspiring and emotional to name a few.  Rational we are not.  So when you try to manage someone, you attempt to enforce reason upon an irrational organism, creating polarity.  In so doing, you create resistance—resistance in the person you’re attempting to manage as well as resistance in yourself.  Resistance, of course, causes conflict, which in turn evokes exactly the opposite effect you were striving for:  an us-vs.-them mentality.” 

Systems Are the Key to Managing Employees

Fundamentally, every business is a system—a set of processes that, working together, reliably produce an intended result.  The key to financial success is to focus on improving your business systems.  The more you do so, the better the results you will get.  It’s that simple.

The key point to remember is that while systems run the business, people run the systems.  The system becomes the solution to the problem that affects all businesses—how to deliver a quality product or service to the customer every single time. 

Manage the System, Not the Employee

Systems make it easier to train and manage your employees.  Training is easy.  Just hand a new employee the system manual and make sure they learn it.  A better way is to use your computer to record your instructions along with screenshots, or use a video camera to show how the job should be performed.  These videos can easily be uploaded to your private YouTube channel and shared with your staff.

Now you are not managing the employee, but managing the system.  In my office, putting a tax return together is a documented system that every employee who assembles a tax return uses.  All I have to do when I sign a return is verify that the system was followed.

If I find an error, there is no argument, because I have communicated in advance what the process is and what the results should be.  Plus, I am not attacking the employee’s work.  I’m just pointing out that a step in the process was not completed.