A post about reclaiming ‘managing’…
Imagine sitting at your desk and the phone rings.
“How are you?” The perennial ice-breaker question. How do you answer? Do you think about it for a moment then be truthful (on the off chance that the other person really wants to know and can afford to listen) or do you throw out a ‘Fine’ or a ‘Well, thank you’ just to move the conversation on?
What about answering with: “I’m managing, thank you”? To some people, this would sound like an admission of struggle. In another context, you could have:
“I’ve managed to get this done” (subtext: it half killed me but I knew it was important to you, so I pulled an all nighter, didn’t see my kids, eat a proper meal or get enough sleep, but here it is – are you grateful?)
“I think I can manage that” (subtext: have you seen how much work I’ve got? If I don’t achieve it, don’t be surprised.)
However, look at it from the other side so that “I’m managing” is a positive statement. It’s an admission that, yes, workload is high and demands ever growing, but you’re keeping on top of it all. If you’ve got a team working for you, you’re ensuring that they are on target and that you are available to ensure that they’ve got everything they need in front of them to do their jobs effectively.
“I’m managing” is a way of telling that other person that you’re good at what you do, that you’re getting the work done and you’re in control. It’s not arrogant, or over-filled with self-confidence, but it’s not self-deprecating either. It also suggests that the work you do is valued because you’ve got plenty of it coming it. Too much (unmanageable) and you’re probably too cheap. Too little and you’ll be over eager to gather more in your direction. But if you can ‘manage’ you’re in that magical middle spot with slightly too much for comfort but not so much that you collapse.
So let’s claim “I’m managing” and turn it into the positive statement it deserves to be. Let’s all be “managers”.