I know it is not right to be sick of people. Particularly the people you work with, or for you – particularly those that report direct to you, particularly if you hired them. But at the end of fiscal quarter where every penny is counted, stupid, very costly, mistakes become, well, bothersome. You cannot punish, hell, you cannot even yell, because most people are harder on themselves then you can ever be regarding work performance. And bosses that yell are powerless against employees who consider them under duress by a bully manager who has had to correct the employee frequently within the past month. But how to keep the mistakes from happening at all is still a mystery. When the mistakes are large dollar mistakes, the mystery deepens.
Maybe I am getting too old for this. I have been a first line manager for years. I learned consistent forgiveness and teaching are essential skills not to mention the ability to calmly explain to top management what issues occurred. Forgiveness and explanation, however, doesn’t make the problem disappear and my patience is not my strong point. I still have to figure out how to fix it or help direct the fix. This is where I remind myself why I really get paid. My salary is not in question when things go well, it just becomes a question when things do not go well. Many management books will call that “leadership” but it is only leadership if you do it well. In my terms, I call it survival but these days the fight for survival is not only for myself and my salary but my whole team. This fiscal quarter is particularly important these days as the company’s new owners stand in judgment of my little team’s future. I am sure they have a plan but my plan is just to keep my team working as long as possible and so stupid mistakes only accentuate what I trying very hard to avoid.
I fret. I worry. I eat chocolate. I eat anything that is sweet, crunchy, or within arm’s reach. There has to be a cadre of lower level managers that are severely overweight. Better to stick something in your month than spit out the continued frustration you are feeling. I think of my company’s health care emails telling me to watch my blood pressure, exercise regularly, and maintain portion control yet never do they mention my health is directly related to work responsibilities. I could be on a great bike ride if I wasn’t sitting in front of a computer screen trying to figure out how to fix a disaster. At least my bag of Hershey Kisses understands my difficulty and they don’t judge.
So, I try to wrap my mind around reality. When compared to people who lead divisions, companies, military units, hospital emergency teams, or nations my little problem is infinitely small. Breathe in, breathe out. Chocolate. Breathe in, breathe out. I practice a new mantra. People make mistakes. I make mistakes. I will need to help fix. My team will learn more by fixing their mistakes.
Tomorrow will require composure and a solution. I am still sick, but no longer of people. I am sick of the Hershey Kisses and I put them away. Time to just drink some water and develop a method that will keep the mistake from ever occurring again and figure out a way to explain it calmly when asked. It is going to be a long week.