Management is manipulation disguised as motivation to help others achieve mastery.
Now that I have your attention simply because I used the word manipulation, let’s get started.
Manipulation has such a negative connotation today, but one variation of the definition means “to change one’s behavior in a skillful manner”. There are so few people in this world that can be both self-aware and disciplined enough to notice that change is needed and then actually make a change. Most people need to be coaxed, prodded, and sometimes even threatened into change, to be manipulated out of their bad habits, mindset, etc. If you walk up to someone and give unsolicited and candid feedback, people hate you. This is a simple truth that you, as a manager, have to deal with. You have to help people draw their own conclusions about their weaknesses by themselves.
Manipulation can be good or evil, it just depends on the heart of the person and the intent with which it is used.
When you are managing people, your job is to find each person’s “lid” (their max potential), to help them reach and perform at their lid, and then keep them there. The delicate part of this balance is to hold them at their lid while simultaneously never pushing them past it because you’ll break them and then they’ll resent you for it. In order to be an effective manager, you need to actually know each of your employee’s strengths and weaknesses, what drives and motivates them, and what they are trying to avoid.
Each person has to be helped to reach their “lid” in different ways; i.e., manipulation.
Some people need to be yelled at to stay motivated, some need compliments or public praise, and others need to be pushed but in a one-on-one accountability type of setting.
The Rude Truth
Let’s see how many people I can piss off here: as a business owner, sometimes you have to hire people that have lower lids than the average of the employees around them and that is okay. Businesses are built on the backs of “B players”. If everyone was a high-performing, super-alpha employee, you would have a madhouse on your hands. You need people that will do specific tasks, you simply wouldn’t waste as much time mentoring them and pushing them past their lid. Save your mentoring for those whom you know will actually make changes and actively seek personal growth. You are not a pastor or counselor (unless you are reading this and you are one) and it is not your job to sit down and find out why each person or employee has their lid at the level that they do, you just have to accept where their lid is and hold them at that level on a consistent basis. 99% of the time people put their own lids on themselves, which are unfortunately much lower than they actually should be. It is up to leadership to “lead” them to the water of realizing their full potential, and shatter their expectations of themselves so that they can drink up the success that is available to anyone if they’re willing to work for it.