Okay, so it you are reading this and you’ve found it printed and placed on your desk anonymously, somebody wants to send you a message. I suggest strongly you read the entire piece first and then after having read it, be honest with yourself and ask why it was put on your desk, not who put it on your desk.
You’re to be congratulated first of all on obtaining your role as a Manager of people. This is a position of immense responsibility. What you have done to obtain this differs from person to person, from business to business – but you are here now. Well done.
As you look to move higher on the organizational chart, I hope you are aware of the need to advance your career by taking care of those BELOW you in the chart with care, compassion, supportive guidance and leadership. It is your responsibility alone to determine how you can best provide your subordinates with the tools necessary to succeed in their various positions, and likewise, to discuss with your staff their hopes, their dreams, their ambitions and do what you can to mentor them, guide them and help them along.
Small Supervisors and Managers tend to belittle their employees, hold them back, micromanage them, make sure they never miss an opportunity to embarrass or correct them in public, and refrain from publicly or privately giving praise and thanks for jobs well done. Some companies rely on commissions, bonuses, rewards etc. to motivate their employees to excel, with the idea that people are motivated to do better with money. While that is nice, when recessionary times hit, and financial incentives are clawed back or eliminated, how then do you motivate your staff when you need them at their best to get through tough times?
Good Managers know that people are their companies most valuable resource. It stands to reason then that Good Managers recognize and reward their employees with praise, acknowledgement, words of thanks – and all done in ways that motivate people individually. If your employee thrives in the limelight, recognize her in front of her peers. If your employee is truly modest, do so in private.
Good Managers know that the best way to advance their own career is to advance the careers of others. To influence for good those over whom they have a measure of responsibility. They sit down and LISTEN to their employees talk about where they want to go in the company, what strengths they feel they have, and areas they would like to work on. Good Managers take this valuable information and put their staff in situations where they are most likely to succeed. Good Managers ensure that staff have skilled, motivated and creative co-workers around them in order to get the most out of their team.
Unfortunately, the poorest Managers are those who feel the way to advance their own careers is to step on and over those around them. Poor Managers are some times embittered; recognizing their own shortcomings and when they see bright, hopeful, inspired people in their teams, seek to humiliate, depress and hold back these employees in some perverted way of making themselves feel elevated and superior. These are small managers (no capital intended). The best Managers can only shake their heads and wonder how on earth so-and-so got to the same position they did!
I challenge you then Manager of people, be you a Good Manager or a poor manager, to after having read this blog, sit back and digest it for a few moments – longer if you need it, and then take some positive action with those on your teams. Do something that recognizes their strengths, that shows some compassion for your fellow employees.
Sit down with your employees one by one and talk about their future with genuine interest. What can YOU DO to help advance their career? What projects, what responsibilities, what programs would they most like to work on that would fuel their creative juicies, motivate them to succeed, and really make them genuinely appreciative of YOU as their Manager.
The best Managers recognize this as the principle of SERVANT LEADERSHIP. There is nothing demeaning in the term servant. What it implies is that the Manager is acknowledged by all to be highe up on the organizational chart by the employees down below, BUT the actions of the Manager are to support those beneath them, and put them in places to succeed with all the necessary skills they need to do the job at hand. That Manager in turn, is supported and helped by their Superior District Manager, Program Director etc. and so on.
Helping out your subordinate employees to be the best they can be by creating an atmosphere that is positive to work in is not only going to improve your bottom line, it’s the right thing to do ethically. Why? Because we are all people. There is a great Italian proverb that reads, “At the end of the game, the King and the Pawn return to the same box”. There is value in everyone, and the BEST MANAGERS recognize that and live it.