Management: Harder than expected.
April 1, 2014 1:42 AM Subscribe
So, I manage a business. I’ve had general management experience in the past, but it didn’t translate particularly well to this job. I feel like I’m in over my head and need advice.
posted by quincunx to Work & Money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have to keep track of about 14 employees, most of whom are much older than I am and some of whom have an attitude problem. I’m freshly 26.
I’ve been working there for two months now, and I feel like I’ve been accepted by most people working under me. About half of the staff I have gotten to know a little more personally than the others, and it has paid off- I have noticed them sticking up for me, complimenting me, etc. The problem that now arises is that I feel like the other staff maybe think I’m picking favorites- hard not to do- and there’s drama between various employees. I really, really want to be fair and level-headed and not be the type of manager who plays favorites, but in a fight between one of the girls who’s nice to me and one who doesn’t know me that well yet, it’s hard not to do. (We’re all women, if that makes a difference.)
Another problem that arises is that I am generally of two styles of management: Rigid and by-the-book (well, maybe “rigid” is unfair, but let’s go with “business-like and “just get it done” and “work is work” and “don’t ask questions, just be efficient” instead) or “Good cop.” I generally err on the side of being nice and chill, hate drama, and don’t micromanage anyone- I let them do their job and I do mine. Problem here is that I feel like some of my girls NEED me to be the “bad cop” and the “team leader” more directly, and I’m having trouble with that role. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Now the girls have accepted that I’m staying and are coming to me with more and more problems and responsibilities, and most of them involve some “bad cop” type of solution.
Most of the problems I'm having stem from people saying things like, "I've been working here x years, and y isn't doing her fair share." Or "I need this day/time off last minute." or just generally dawdling and not getting things done on time. Or sometimes asking me to book them extra hours and so on. Or getting mad if I book them too many hours.
On top of all this, the owners of the business just threw a dinner party and announced that their goal is to be completely out of the business by like, halfway through this year. They also talked about expanding to a nearby city or a third location. So, yeah, the subtext was, “You deal with it!”
TL; DR: How do I win the respect of a diverse group of people but still manage to be tough when I need to? Especially when I’m young. How do I be fair?