All is not well in the corporate world. Contrary to some opinions, people do not just job-hop for the fun of it or because they are irresponsible. Stress is up and morale is down.
If you follow the trail backwards, it often leads right to Management's door. Here are some common mistakes made by management and alternative courses of action they could be taking.
1. Management base solutions to problems on educated guesses or assumptions that can make matters worse rather than better. They share a mistaken belief that because they are in a position of management, they know 'better'.
Action: Management should have proper information systems in place that will tell them exactly where the problems are. The staff involved should be included in brainstorming sessions when searching for solutions. The frontline troops know more about what is going on, what works and what doesn't work at this level than management does, sitting as they often are in relative isolation.
2. Managers dump unrealistic workloads on their workers and hand over tasks that people are not equipped to handle. They hand over the work without empowering the employee to "handle" it, and then blame the employee when it doesn't work out.
Action: Managers need to learn to delegate properly. The reason for delegating work is to lighten the Manager's workload and also to educate/train those under him to help them grow. Work delegated should always be appropriate to the ability of the employee to whom it is given. If the manager has authority to do X with a project, if that project is delegated, the person receiving it must also have the authority to do X in order to accomplish the task. The employee must be given the training and tools in order to do any job properly.
3. Management is not clear with instructions. People are doing work for which they have no idea of its importance or relevance and even where it fits into the larger picture. As a result, tasks are tackled blindly with hit and miss results, delays, and extra stress.
Action: Managers need to ensure employees understand not only what they are doing but why they are doing it. This enables employees to also find better and more efficient ways of achieving goals. Managers need to work with their people, helping them to set realistic goals and measure the progress made towards accomplishment.
4. Managers can be highly critical, quick to spot flaws and point them out, and seem to focus on what is not working. This makes people feel worthless, that nothing they do is right, that they can never please their Boss, and hence, their morale suffers as does their productivity.
Action: Managers should focus on what is working and build from there. As for what is not working, they should not assume that only they hold the answers. Brainstorming with all involved in a task or project shows respect to employees, who very often have a better grip on the situation than the Manager and can produce innovative ideas and solutions. Managers also need to support their staff, with praise and words of encouragement. Accomplishment should be rewarded.
5. Bad Managers do not trust their employees, they may show no respect, and may seem to thrive in their perceived power role. They can be rude to employees, showing disregard for their feelings and the only feedback given is negative. They are intimidating and arrogant. They have never heard of work/life balance. They give too many difficult tasks to people either not suited to or not trained for it and set unrealistic deadlines.
Action: Bad Managers can be trained out of their bad habits and it is up to senior management to train their managers accordingly. Management meetings should be held to address these issues - with no blame apportioned - just encouragement to adopt healthier methods of interacting with staff and achieving departmental goals. In fact, managers need to be trained not to manage people, but rather, to coach them to be their best.
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