Human Resources Insights
Employees Need Guidance, Direction and Good Examples
What individuals need for success are good role models. They need managers that take the time to instruct, train and communicate expectations. What they don’t need is unfair treatment, poor role models and being “thrown to the wolves” to test if they will sink or swim. It amazes me to hear what unethical and unprofessional tactics that many managers use to “manage” people. This occurs most often because these “leaders” are either ignorant of the role and responsibility of management or they choose to mis-use their position in an effort to control their staff. In reality, it actually comes down to a bit of both of these with bad management.
Let’s evaluate a little bit of the philosophy around managing people. There is a tendency among poor leaders to be insecure when an employee shows ability, intelligence and effort. In reality, managers should be proud and supportive because those individuals who show promise typically do so because of proper training, instruction and ability to learn and apply that learning to the work. This is a feather in your cap when someone excels and does well. It means that they have done well due to good management and training.
So why do managers get worried or insecure when someone under them does well and accomplishes goals and completes their work? Because they fear that the person may outshine them or excel at a faster rate and overtake them. The biggest reason for this fear is because many managers do not themselves do their jobs well. They order people around instead of instruct. They rule through intimidation so that they can maintain the illusion of superiority. In essence, they turn into an insecure and fearful individual and may become angry and spiteful.
Insecure managers will do the following...
• Pit one person against another with the goal to undermine team work.
• Set employees up to fail by giving no or poor instructions for the work.
• Build a network of spies and give out false information to trip up workers.
However, good managers will provide guidance, instruct and train and set the right example. Here are some examples of what good managers do...
• Introduce the employee to the workplace and the team.
• Provide job descriptions, procedures and job instructions and training.
• Meet with the team member immediately and begin their training process.
• Pair the new person with a solid performer—someone who gives effective, motivational feedback.
• Pitch in and help when needed or requested without concern for appearances or loss of authority.
• Check on the individual regularly and make time to discuss the work and their progress.
None of these efforts need to take an inordinate amount of time, but they do need to be clear and structured. It is best to determine your training and development plan in advance and be prepared to make adjustments as needed. In reality, it takes less time to do the right thing the first time rather than focusing your energy on how to maintain control or power over others. No one thrives in that type of controlling environment. It is my opinion that the best managers will encourage and grow their team so that the work is done more accurately and in a cost effective manner. With sound leadership values and a solid team, you will accomplish much more, and will be seen as a competent and successful boss and role model.
HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.