*Maintaining relationships is the hardest thing to do*
The distinction of humans is that we are social beings. We have relationships. But every day we learn and learn again why this is a unique achievement in nature. Holy cow are relationships are hard to do well. As a manager, my job is to maintain the relationships among my reports and within the organization. You know how in action movies every time someone fires a rocket launcher it looks like it’s spiralling kind of out of control (how do they hit anything with those things?). That’s communication and that’s relatinships. It goes wrong sometimes. Managing relationships is preventing and cleaning up those messes.
That means I get outsourced the uncomfortable conversations to bring people back onto the same page. Repairing damage, understanding perspective, bringing diverging priorities together. I have to have a good enough relationship with all parties to reconcile the priorities with common ground to the blunt the tough message.
*Management is Managing Relationships*
A deeper fact is that leaders exist to solve the hardest problems organizations face. The different between a manager and a direct report is that the manager’s job is to take reponsibility for the communication within the team and then within the organization. Think of all the stakeholder priorities a company needs to reconcile using strong relationships: customers, suppliers, capital providers, mother nature, even!
We only get the benefits of modern organizations with a class of worker to ease the social burdens of large scale cooperation. Management.