Managing People: What’s It Worth?

So I was recently talking to a new manager at a client of mine who told me they had just started managing two people and that it was 'very straightforward as its just admin like signing holidays off and taking calls when they are sick!'

Which got me thinking....what's the extra salary actually for? 99% of people who were asked to manage/team lead/supervise etc were probably all given more money to take these added responsibilities on. Often it may come as part of a grade-change or a movement to the management pay bands - or it may be a negotiated amount to make it 'worth my while'. Doesn't matter how it happens: we take on the extra money but are we doing what the organisation wants for its buck? Signing holidays off and dealing with people phoning in sick I would put at about £30.50 a year - so what's the other couple of thousand or so for? Well, I would say that no real skill, effort or financial reward is required for me as manager to:

  • Tell my people what to do
  • Catch up with them – 'how are you doing?'
  • Be a sympathetic ear
  • Pass on stuff I’ve been told to tell them
  • Ask random questions at recruitment interviews
  • Blame the organisation or someone else when I don’t want to be unpopular
  • Oh, and sign off holiday forms and other admin….

But what we are surely paying for (and which requires skill and knowledge) is:

  • Setting a vision – where is this team going? £300 pa?
  • Running meetings that get stuff done! £300 pa?
  • Selling change so that people actually adapt £250 pa?
  • Managing performance and getting great results £1000 pa?
  • Having difficult conversations without tears! £300 pa?
  • Saying ‘I’ rather than ‘They’! £150 pa
  • Navigating office politics to benefit your team £150 pa?
  • Motivating/influencing/coaching others in the most effective ways £500 pa?

Many are not in it just for status or money - they genuinely want to manage and lead others and feel they have something unique to offer to get things done through others.

It does amaze me however how others opt in and out of various bits of the list above, often because they are uncomfortable, are 'mates' with their direct report, don't want to sometimes be the bad guy delivering tough messages or are just not confident and skilled enough to be able to do it. Managing people isn't some fluffy thing anyone can do - and a lot of people out there shouldn't be anywhere near it! You can't pick and choose the bits you will and won't do in people-management just as I wouldn't necessarily get away with doing so in my non-managing day job.

I don't think I can be a software developer or an accountant from next Monday - so why are some people quick to take the money and think they will be an effective people-manager!?

Find out more about our latest non-textbook Practical & Punchy workshops including the Painless People Management programme