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Learn How To Manage Any Kind Of Difficult People
[Image: 3066591-poster-p-1-five-essential-lesson...people.jpg]

Management guru Henry Mintzberg once observed, "The great myth is the manager as orchestra conductor. It’s this idea of standing on a pedestal and you wave your baton and accounting comes in, and you wave it somewhere else and marketing chimes in with accounting, and they all sound very glorious."
"But," he continues, "management is more like orchestra conducting during rehearsals, when everything is going wrong." In other words, leading people never turns out like you think it will. People, events, and other factors often surprise you. That’s why the most important thing you do as a manager is to keep learning.
You really don't need the best people, you need the best teams . . . The main attributes to look for are curiosity and temperament.
When I first became a manager two decades years ago, in my mid-twenties, I probably wasn’t quite ready for it. But then again, you’re never quite ready to lead until you actually do it. As I've learned since, managing other people isn't so much the art of orchestrating plans but, as Mintzberg suggests, one of guiding teams through plans gone awry. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to do that.

When I started out as a manager, I looked to hire candidates with impressive credentials—hard-working people who went to top schools, scored well on aptitude tests, and had impressive resumes. I also offered pay and designed and retention practices that I thought would motivate great performance.
However, recent studies show that high-value work isn't necessarily done most by individuals but by teams—and that, more and more, those teams are increasing in size. Other research suggests that diverse teams outperform others that are more homogenous, even if the more uniform teams are composed of people with higher ability.
After 9/11, the CIA commissioned a study to determine what attributes made for the most effective analyst teams and discovered this to be true. It wasn't the individual attributes of their members that led to top performance, or even the coaching they got from their leaders, but the interactions within the team itself.
I've learned that you really don't need the best people, you need the best teams. I eventually realized that the main attributes to look for are curiosity and temperament. A curious person can learn just about anything they set their mind to, and if they have the temperament to work on a team, they can achieve far more than a highly skilled jerk.

And so, after my first five years or so years as a manager, I began to suspect that I should fire nasty people, even if they seemed to be high performers.
The first time I tried it was with a sales director I'd inherited, who accounted 90% of her department's revenues. It was a highly controversial move. But when the dust settled, something amazing happened: Sales shot up. As it turned out, she wasn’t really great at selling, she was great at getting sales attributed to her.

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