Talk to people about their jobs, and you will normally hear comments around three topics: if the work is a good match for their skills, how the pay is and if they like the people they work with, specifically, their boss. That last subject can be the most important element of any and yet is under appreciated by those in management. In a climate of high unemployment, some companies can feel that paying attention providing good management is less necessary. “Don’t like it? Leave” may be the under-current in some places.
In any workplace, factory or office, the people are the key ingredient. The most effective way to care for them doesn’t cost a dime. Consider Scott.
Scott has worked for a small company for about 8 years just north of Baltimore but inside the beltway. Earlier this year, he was promoted to supervisor. While he still run some projects, he now is also responsible to guide and direct the daily and weekly activities of 5 employees. Like most who get promoted to management, Scott was picked because he’s really good at his skill (software development), and upper management assumed he was mature enough to supervise.
That prescription can be a recipe for disaster.
As a new boss, Scott needs to build trust with his employees. So, how can he or you do that?
First, he must recognize that one of his top priorities is to develop the talents of his people and to capture that talent – current and future – and harness it for the company. One of the greatest motivators today is for someone to discover their solution to a problem. The sense of ownership is profound and empowering. This means Scott needs to be open to potentially alternative ways to get things done. He should draw upon his experience to assess if new ways can work – effectively and safely.
Second, Scott needs to not talk to them. Instead, he should listen. This approach stresses open communication. Good management appreciates that bad news doesn’t get better with time and the sooner the company’s leadership knows about it, the sooner resources or decisions can be made to adjust.
Third, Scott needs to fight for his people – for the resources they need, pay and other factors of being in the company.
Fourth, Scott must provide feedback. Someone who spends 40 or more hours a week on the job is giving a significant portion of their life to you and the company. Honest feedback is often talked about but rarely done right, if at all. It doesn’t cost a thing but is critical to creating the right climate where people feel cared for.
Collectively, these actions will demonstrate his commitment to his people and go a long way to building a foundation of trust as the new boss. He should set as a goal that he wants each person to be excited about the prospect of coming to work each day – because they are valued as persons.
Sounds like a stretch too far? A top leader in a Baltimore area company recently departed for a new position. She had a couple of hundred people working for her. At her farewell, she commented that there were over 300 people in the organization – and she got up every day to the reality that she worked for every one of them.
Management at your workplace may not have control over the turbulent economic conditions that drive the business cycle; but, they have 100% control over how they treat people and the trust they wish to foster inside their business.
Share this, anonymously if necessary, with your management at work. Send along the note: You know this…let’s do it!