Most managers are playing one of two games with employees and team members.
- Tetris - this is where the pieces should fit into the right space. Find the spot that fits and put your people into that spot. Once they’re there - it’s a lock. My job here is done. Move on to the next person.
- Candy Crush - Let the people fall where they fall. If it’s not working, blow it up and start over again.
(True confessions: I’ve never actually played Candy Crush and I’ve only played Tetris once. But I believe this is the general idea of these games.)
There are serious problems with both models when it comes to managing people. Tetris is far too rigid. People change. People grow. I’m a different person that I was a couple of years ago. Definitely, a different person that I was 15 years ago. Don’t think for a minute that management is about filling slots.
Blowing up and starting over isn’t a great management style, either. It harms the team and leaves you “lonely at the top.”
It’s best when we realize that management isn’t about gaming productivity or fit.
Management is mostly about aligning people with their passion and the organization’s mission and vision. After the hard work of alignment comes the harder work of designing accountability structures that motivate and encourage while assisting team productivity.