Managing people, is it an art or a science? I think it is a little bit of both. The artful part is managing people to be more effective than they would be without you. The science is all about how you go about doing it. Management involves, Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. These four pillars are the textbook terms for management. When I speak about the art and science of managing people am looking at the person not the process.
There are managers who want their employees to become “Minnie Me’s ” They want their employees to not only act as they do, but react as they do. Major problem with this scenario is that everyone is uniquely different. In many respects you can manage a process, but not a person. No one can manage how a person will react to different scenarios. Our backgrounds are uniquely different and so will be our reactions. No one can tell another person how they “should” react, or how they are “suppose” to do they job. We can lay the guidelines and then manage the process.
As a manager your job is to make sure that the area or function under your management is aligned with the strategic goals of the company. You are given a staff to help you make this happen. As an example: A customer service representative who has the job description of answering customer calls and identifying solutions to customer complaints. You can not expect to know how this employee feels when they have an extremely rough customer that is less than cordial. Once the employee is provided with the policy and procedures for doing their job it is up to you to manage or enforce those P & P’s. However, you can not manage the person’s feelings. This is the artful part of your job. You can lead them. You can allow them to discuss their feelings, identify with those feelings and allow them to learn and grow by your example. You can not tell the employee that they should not take irate callers personally. You don’t have the same feelings and experiences as the employee. Doing so would be like telling the employee they have to like broccoli because you do! But you can help them to manage their own feelings and find the right solution for themselves when the next irate caller is on the phone with them.
The art of management is not molding employees to be like you. It is the science of knowing that everyone is unique.
‘Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become what he is and should be.’