Getting The Best Of Your Staff


There’s things we are good at, things we are great at, and there are things that we get excited and enthused about. If we’re lucky, the things we’re enthusiastic about are also things we’re great at. In the workplace, if we’re fortunate, we land in a job where our boss recognizes and appreciates the importance of these things we are great at and love doing, and finds a way to put us in a position to use these talents.

This isn’t always the case though is it? I mean there are some Supervisors who fail to appreciate the talents their employees have. You may have actually experienced someone who in their wisdom, wanted those of their team to be interchangeable, and therefore rotated their staff around, making sure everyone did a little of everything. As a consequence of this thinking, many employees on a given team tend to grumble; frustrated that what they’d like to be doing most isn’t what they do, and the people doing whatever that is are a little jealous that you’re doing what they’d love to do too.

Now I get the interchangeable dream. When you know more than one job, this cross-training makes it far easier to shore up needs as they arise. Be it short or long-term absences or an increased demand for people performing a certain function, this keeps things running at a high degree of efficiency. The Supervisor who uses this thinking puts more emphasis on having a team of equally skilled employees to draw on than they do on assessing the individual preferences of their staff.

However, consider that an employee who performs work they love doing and does a great job as a result, can transform a job into a passionate career. Now multiply that single person who loves what they do right across your team, and suddenly you’ve got a force to be reckoned with! When people love what they do and they perform great works, they come to work happier, they invest more in their time while there, attendance improves dramatically, and the culture of the workplace becomes dynamic.

I believe therefore, that this way of going about managing human capital in the workplace is a better model. It becomes critical for a Supervisor to get to know their employees; to learn what they are good at, what they excel at, and where their passions are. I feel there are too many Supervisors who make assumptions about those on their teams solely through work performance statistics and casual observations. Investing in people by having regular conversations to learn where their interests and passions are is a great way to learn about the people you are responsible for. And it follows that if those under a Supervisor’s watch collectively perform at a high level of efficiency because they are doing work they love and doing it well, that Supervisor in turn is going to be recognized by their own Supervisor for achieving results. We now have the win-win; the employees win, the Supervisor wins, the company wins and most importantly, the customer or consumer wins.

In reality, it doesn’t always follow that the above is what we experience though. There are those in Management positions who abuse their power. They may be disgruntled themselves and go out of their way to break the spirit of the great worker they see emerging, by removing them from doing what they obviously enjoy doing and relocating them to some other task they perceive will be less enjoyable. This abuse of power is exactly that; while they explain their move by saying things like it will help the individual grow, become more valuable or learn a new skill.

This isn’t the case of someone being in a rut and plateauing in the workplace who could benefit from a shot of stimulation. No, this could be the case of an unhappy boss, jealous of the worker who arrives happy, works happy and leaves happy. It’s also putting their own needs above the organization they both work with. Sure it’s petty, but many a Supervisor is gainfully employed doing exactly this. Maybe you’re working for one now.

Ah but the best Supervisors are the ones who invest in the people they supervise. You know, they listen, they observe, they go out of their way to get to know the people on their teams; what makes them happiest, where they can be put in positions to excel and succeed. This takes some effort on the part of the person to do these things on top of their other tasks. The investment in this process however creates a better culture. People feel they are being listened to, accommodated where possible and they appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Supervisor. And because we evolve, our needs and wants change, this should be an ongoing, living practice rather than a one-time conversation.

When you do work you love, and that work is something you do really well, you show more pride in your accomplishments, you’re a better ambassador for your organization and you also pull harder for the person who’s given you this opportunity.

As an employee, it’s important to communicate your preferences to your boss and do work that motivates and stimulates so you become a highly valued employee.

If you can’t find work you love and you’re good at? Move on. Your good mental health is at stake.

 

3 thoughts on “Getting The Best Of Your Staff

  1. Hi Kelly,
    You hit the bullseye again. I feel as I read this on the bus to work (been there 2 years) that you’ve read my personal diary. Yes it could apply to anyone, this toxic environment you speak of and equally demeaning supervisor, yet somehow in these well written words, you’ve fully detailed my own work experience right now. What’s worse, is that management fosters this sense of back biting, gossip and scowling employees who drag their feet into work 5 days a week. In all of this, I’ve managed to keep a smile, laugh and joke with the “residents” at work and do my best to keep the company morale going. Some days, its tiring, but there’s kitchen staff who says “you always have a smile and you leave your problems at home.” Wow, if they only knew the things I’m carrying on my shoulders everyday!!! The unseen things. The burden of debt, the worry of paying rent, the loud neighbors above me, keeping myself afloat amid life’s losses…hoping my daughter won’t resent me one day because i’m “not rich yet.”
    At any rate, this blog post really resonates with me today. I work to pay the bills because frankly i don’t have another option right now and I certainly do not want to go back to the unemployment pool!!!!

    Thank you Kelly for always hitting the nail on the head with your daily insight — and thank you for inspiring me all these years!!!

    Faithfully,

    Rhiannon

    Like

    1. Hi Rhiannon,
      So kind of you to comment and openly share your own experience. I wish the situation you have was an exception and further that it would quickly resolve itself. It may yet.

      However, I am so glad to read of the way you are conducting yourself and shining like a beacon for others; you’re obviously being noticed. In your way, you inspire those around you who need it most.

      Your daughter will come to see the mom who took on debt by investing in herself to make a better life. Rich in time together doesn’t always translate into rich in money. Stay true, stay good and know it’s the right way to be. Eventually, you’ll attract the eyes of a great Supervisor who values you!

      Like

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