by Joyce Weiss
I travel around the country and works with organizations in the most diverse of industries. Many businesses have defective managers and a common complaint I hear is, "My boss can't manage."
Typically, these managers have worked hard, done an effective job and do deserve to move up the corporate ladder. Many are technically skilled, or have been promoted for excellent individual work, but have never learned the people skills required to be a good leader. And they now find themselves in positions of managing others.
People are being placed in management positions with little or no management training. I am challenging all CEO's to present their managers and leaders with a few difficult workplace scenarios and put them to the test: Are they DEFECTIVE managers or EFFECTIVE leaders?
The first scenario is when managers have to tell employees that there won't be bonuses this year. How would your managers do it? The defective manager avoids all human contact and puts the information in a newsletter or says nothing and waits for the gossip to start. On the other hand, the effective leader would handle things much differently.
I recommend sharing as much information with the employees as possible. Have your manager explain why there will be no bonuses - perhaps due to lack of sales, reduced margins or a seasonal downturn. "Employees really need to understand why." She also suggests that leaders let employees know how much their work is appreciated and offer a day off, tickets to a concert or some other perk. I recall one employee's reaction, "Although I am disappointed with the bonus situation, my manager knows how to handle a tough situation. I know I am treated well."
Another situation a manager must confront is how to react when an employee makes a mistake with an important customer. How would your manager deal with this particular employee? The defective manager would publicly ridicule the employee in front of others or would talk to the entire team as if they were children. The individual is never personally approached.
I recommend that the effective leader accept responsibility for the mistake. "Discuss the situation with the employee privately and ask, "What did we learn from this situation?" and "How can I help you in the future?"
A third scenario involves dealing with a lazy employee or one that is not doing his or her fair share of the work. A defective manager doesn't say or do anything and is convinced that there is no hope for this employee. The rest of the team continues to resent this employee and morale takes a serious nosedive.
An effective leader knows how to give positive and negative reinforcement. The leader confronts the lazy employee, while continuing to offer positive reinforcement to the other team members, recognizing them for their good work.
Another common situation that can reduce morale very quickly within an organizational team is that dirty word - gossip. And gossip is never more prevalent than when job loss rumors are circulating.
The defective manager ignores the situation or becomes aggravated with employees, telling them that the situation is none of their business and must stop immediately. The effective leader handles it very differently. To be effective, the leader needs to keep the lines of communication open and explain as much as possible, even if the rumors may be true. A good response is, 'I have information that I will share with you, just not at this time.'
A final scenario, especially with growing companies that are hiring at a rapid pace, is the department has created cliques and is excluding new employees. The defective manager ignores the situation because he or she actually believes in favoritism and may even be part of the clique. He or she believes that new employees have to "get tough" and earn the right to be "in" with the other team members.
The effective leader will include all employees in periodic team building exercises and needs to reward veterans who take on a mentoring role with new employees. The mentoring process is a productive way for new employees to feel a sense of where they are and where they are going. It also gives the mentors a leadership role and a positive sense of purpose in the organization. It's a simple way to create a real WIN-WIN for all involved.
The most important part of effective management is effective communication, "Learning these vital communication skills can increase morale and the bottom line in any organization."