7 Things You CAN'T Take Personally as a Manager

Woman Sharing Idea


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
April 19, 2024 at 11:7AM UTC

It can be difficult to not take certain things personally as a manager. If you're an effective leader who takes responsibility for the actions of your team, every issue can feel as though it is entirely your fault. But no matter how hard you try, you can't control everything. And not every action around your work — or your team — has to do with you. 

If you get caught up in the guilt game or bruise your ego too badly, you'll lose efficiency as a leader. That's not good for anyone. Here are seven situations you cannot take personally as a manager. Your professional reputation — and your team — depend on it. 

1. When your employees are questioning your methods.

As a manager, you have a wider scope than your employees. You have a greater understanding of what is best for the company, not just what is best for your team and the individuals on it. It is your job to make decisions that best benefit everyone, and your employees may not be able to understand this. Explain your reasoning to them as best you can and remind yourself that you are simply doing your job.

2. When your employees don't care about your idea like you care about your idea. 

While your employees are kind of forced to focus on whatever task you assign them, they may not be as excited about said task as you are. And that’s OK. Having to do the gritty work to initiate a task may lessen its appeal. But they will see the benefits upon the end result.

3. When your employees don't do something you thought was common sense. 

If an employee doesn’t do something that you actually never asked her to do, you can't take it personally. While you may believe some tasks should be assumed, that is not always the case. Communication is key in work environments, and regardless of how in-sync you think you are with a specific employee, you cannot expect her to complete a task she may not even even know exists. 

4. When your employees don't understand your directions. 

While you may believe you’re explaining something in a perfectly clear way, if your employees are not understanding, you must alter your approach. And don’t take it personally. You aren't an ineffective communicator and they aren't ignoring you. Sometimes everyone needs to meet in the middle.  People teach and learn in different ways. 

5. When there is a failure inside the company. 

A failure within your company does not indicate a failure within you. If someone in the department failed to complete a task to the expectations of your boss or if your team's timeline is messed up because someone else didn't deliver, it is not necessarily something you should beat yourself up about. And failures shouldn’t always be viewed as negative. They are a chance to learn and grow and re-visit the task to see where you could have improved your involvement and for others to do the same. Do not carry the burden of an entire department (or company!) on your back. Do you due diligence, then cut yourself some slack. 

6. When everyone is mad about a decision you made.

You really can't make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. Harking back to situation number one, remember that you have a better understanding of the decisions that benefit the company. For example, let’s say you decided to make everyone stay late in order to finish an assignment. While your employees are furious because they have lives and families to get home to, you may have a better understanding of how serious the progress of this assignment is to your department and your company.

7. When everyone is mad about a decision the company made.

And they're taking it out on you. You’re their direct contact. While it is your responsibility to deal with your employees’ unhappiness, you must remind yourself they are not upset with you. They are upset with decisions made by others and have nowhere else to turn, they aren't trying to drag you through the mud.

More on successful leadership:

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always