Manage the People, Not Just the Process

Have you looked at your company’s org chart lately? Unless you’re getting ready for a hiring push or a reorganization, most likely you haven’t. But you might want to dust it off and take a peek.

Many organizations, often mid-sized and smaller firms, include not only the job titles, but also the names of the individuals holding those positions in their chart. This can be a smart way to go, especially for companies with a lot “official” job titles that no one ever uses.

But it’s smart for another reason. It’s a reminder to management—you know, the folks in those little boxes at the top—that there are real, actual human beings associated with all of those job titles and functions.

Here’s why that’s important. Most managers find themselves in supervisory roles not because they are natural managers of other human beings, but because they have demonstrated a mastery of a particular subject area or skill set.

And although smart companies try to make sure these folks are trained in the supervisory skills they need to be effective managers, it’s all too easy for them to fall back into the role they know best: managing the processes for which they’ve been made responsible.

Not that that isn’t important; it’s mission critical, of course. But hand in hand with managing the processes of the workflow comes managing the people responsible for them.

Imagine yourself in charge of a department in which productivity is steadily decreasing. Leadership is aware of this, and has placed the challenge on your shoulders: turn the ship around!

Most such situations boil down to a combination of two factors: problems with the process, as a result of internal and/or external factors; and problems with the individuals performing the duties involved in that process.

A savvy manager with a solid knowledge of his field can often diagnose problems with the workflow and implement changes. But if his or her team already isn’t performing up to speed, they’re even less likely to handle those changes successfully.

There may be new or expanded training needed; there may need to be a shuffling of roles and responsibilities; the team may need stronger coaching to get them inspired to rise to the challenge; and individuals not pulling their weight may require prescriptive measures. (Did I hear anybody say “All of the Above”?)

That’s why managing the process is only half the battle. But unfortunately, a lot of managers lack the skill set to really effectively drill down to the human element that is the most fundamental part of that process.

However, just as you can easily find enhanced training and coaching for your team, management and supervision tools are abundant as well.  Don’t be afraid to spend some of your daily hours searching them out, and finding ways to implement them.

Because if your company’s org chart features both names AND job titles, that should always be a reminder that all of those processes that drive your organization’s success are rooted in people….real life human beings. Manage accordingly.

Because that’s what it takes to….