- Talent Management
You may have noticed that I’ve written two different articles that start with “Now Trending” in their titles – Now Trending: Honesty, and Now Trending: Generosity. I hope to write many more of these articles because I firmly believe that there are some key values that need to be embraced for businesses, organizations, and even governments to be successful in the 21st century. The opposites of those values are the behaviors that need to be avoided, especially among managers. This article is about the mistakes that managers too often make when it comes to values and behaviors.
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The temptation for managers to lie to employees is huge. Whether it’s holding back on constructive criticism or other forms of feedback, or spreading rumors, or not telling the full story about the company’s poor state of business, managers often find themselves in the position of lying to employees. I’ve written about how society in the 21st century is becoming increasingly open, and that means being truthful in the workplace, because dishonesty undermines both your credibility and your trustworthiness, which is what your long-terms success hinges on. The way of the future, is open, honest, and transparent.
No one likes a forced march when it comes to change, which is why you want to get your people involved in decision-making as much as is reasonably possible. When people have a chance to participate in a meaningful way around decisions and changes, they won’t have that visceral, negative reaction as if something is being shoved down their throats. Managers who seem to relish in taking a more coercive approach tend to also run the risk of displaying bullying behaviors, which can run the gamut from negative talk behind people’s backs to very public dress-downs that humiliate and belittle. Once again, however, this undermines both credibility and trustworthiness, but goes even further in creating a culture of fear that most employees in their right minds would try to get away from at the first opportunity to do so.
Sometimes your employees come up with great ideas that you wish were your own, and sometimes the opportunity presents itself to make yourself look good to the higher-ups by taking credit for the ideas that weren’t yours. Nothing will create more resentment among people than doing that. They’re your people, so recognize, celebrate, and reward their contributions. After all, it’s the company that needs to be supported, not your own ego.
This is another one that makes for very unhappy employees, especially when the “favorites” don’t seem to be all the spectacular relative to everyone else. In part, that’s the point – the favoritism rarely has to do with superior performance. Instead, it’s typically based on some other aspect of a personal connection or relationship. Once again, this takes its biggest toll on the trust factor, which leads to an overall atmosphere of disloyalty in the ranks that helps nothing. And make no mistake, people always notice favoritism.
Lack of Communication
The failure to communicate results in people not knowing where things stand, where things are heading, and what role they should be playing in all of that. This is where the notion of generosity needs to come in full force. Be generous with your communication.
Almost as bad as showing favorites is when you manage inconsistently. This shows up as a failure to follow up or as constantly shifting priorities that leave people confused about what their focus should be. The last think you want is for people to feel like you’re so fickle in your management that they question your integrity.
Lack of Support
This is another one where generosity is the antidote, whether it’s feedback, coaching, mentoring, or development opportunities, you have to provide support to your people to see them succeed and reach peak performance. If you’re stingy with support, people will leave.
I believe that the management missteps listed above are among the primary barriers to managers being successful in the 21st century. Stay tuned for more “Now Trending” articles that show what are the more virtuous characteristics for managers in the new millennium.