People Problems or Management Problems?

Originally Published May 2018


Feel like you’ve either got to nag people to do their jobs or pick up the slack when they don’t?

Does it seem like you care more than they do?

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Can’t understand why some things take so damn long? 

And some never get done at all?

Good solid management training is rare.  As a result, a lot of managers are making it up as they go along.  They don't consciously create a management strategy that works so they end up unconsciously default into one of the two most common, least effective, management “styles.”

The "people problems" they're dealing with are often actually management problems, caused by the people paid to solve them.


Micro management is pretty universally hated but not especially well understood or easy to avoid.  While there are some people who are genuinely unwilling to relinquish control over even minor details, it’s a lot more common to find good people accidentally micromanaging. 

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When managers don’t explain their standards, or assume something is common sense that isn’t they make it hard for people to succeed.  It looks like people aren't smart or don't care and that it's easier and smarter for the managers to just do it themselves, taking work back or redoing it entirely. 

Some managers just run people over without realizing it.  They talk over people, never pausing to get their insights or opinions, jump in to do projects themselves instead of working through the other person and then can’t believe people don’t seem to care or step up. 

There are also managers who lead by staying on top of everyone, but don’t actually confront or resolve issues.  Things (kind of) work when they’re in the room but bad behavior happens when they’re not.  It fosters a what-you-can-get-away-with culture.  They complain about how hard it is to find good people.

However it shows up, the core problem with micromanagers is that they manage literally on top of people, weighing them down and slowly killing their confidence, initiative, and will to live.  When your managers are micromanagers you are basically paying two people to do the same job poorly.  It’s a miserable, frustrating, expensive style based on control, not leadership.


More common, although less well-known, Good Luck Management is every bit as destructive as micromanagement.  Good Luck Managers may actually be consciously trying to avoid micromanaging.  In an effort to be respectful, or encourage initiative, they basically leave people on their own unless there is a problem.  “Good luck!  Call me if you need anything” often quickly turns into “What the hell?” as problems or mistakes are discovered.

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Managers don’t want to be too bossy so they don’t hold people accountable to work standards.  People do it their own way and leave managers frustrated and complaining about inconsistent quality.

When managers don't provide real training team members make mistakes.  Managers have to work longer and harder to clean up issues.  Lack of training is a problem that is easy to mistake for sloppiness or incompetence.

Some managers believe their job is to help team members.  It's easy to get caught up just fighting fires and feel like people aren't pulling their weight.  The real problem is that the manager isn't doing enough to prevent or catch them early. 

Good Luck Management is based on hoping people will figure it out.  Results are inconsistent.  Frustration is constant.  Like micromanaging, Good Luck Management is also ineffective, inefficient, frustrating and expensive. 

People tend to default to Micro- or Good Luck Management because it's what they've seen and what they know NOT because it works.  Which brings us to...


Active Management is actual management.  Its being clear about what needs to get done and making sure people have the training and resources they need.  It’s working with people on their plans, to make sure they’ve got a solid strategy for getting the work done and monitoring progress to make sure they get there. 

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This kind of management isn’t about telling people what to do. It's about proactively engaging people, providing clarity, guidance, support, and accountability to help them get the job done.

Effective management doesn't mean doing the work for them.  It means supporting them to get the work done. 

It's support not control.  It's freedom with accountability.  It's knowing, not guessing.  In this model, you catch problems earlier when they’re easier to solve which means you end up with fewer problems and more time. 

Active management means letting team members take the lead without leaving them alone.

Want to up your management game? 

Make sure you know:

  1. What RESULTS they need to produce. (Make sure they know too.)

  2. HOW they plan to produce them? What’s their plan/approach? (Help them make it better.)

  3. Are they ON TRACK? Get the updates you need so you aren’t guessing and so you can help or intervene if they’re not on track.

If you want better results from your front-line people, check in on how your managers are managing.  

Confused about the difference between managing and micromanaging? 

Learn how to use agreements, dates & deadlines to give your people more freedom and end up with better results HERE.

Want some help thinking about your management infrastructure? 

Most companies have a pretty good handle on the structures needed to deliver products or services to their customers.   But many don't have, and don't have a good understanding of the management skills, systems, processes, and culture they need to manage within their business.  

Good management infrastructure helps you be profitable now and gives you a way to grow and scale.  Learn more HERE.

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About the Author:  Alecia Huck is a hard person to find and a good person to know.  She specializes in working with fast-growing companies, helping them build the management teams and infrastructure they need without "going corporate."   Find out more HERE.

Contact Alecia directly at