We are all aware of workplace inequity. Why then does it persist? because cultural shifts are difficult. The same is true of poor management. Because there are institutional incentives to keep bad management in place, it can be difficult to eradicate. The majority of managers are certain that they are aware of what is required to produce results. Instead of taking the effort to understand, mentor, and encourage their staff, they think it would be quicker and easier to simply tell them what to do. Additionally, it moves more quickly, at least initially.
Employees find it challenging to pressure their manager to change in the meanwhile. Say your manager is making you sad. You feel overworked and that you aren’t receiving the proper assistance. At the same time, you are aware that your manager will have some influence over who gets the upcoming promotion. Knowing that this isn’t the best time to bring up his poor management skills, you’ll probably remain silent.
Change can’t always be sparked from the bottom up. Therefore, it must originate from the top. In a program led by a dedicated CEO, the author set out as a business consultant to alter the mindset of a 150,000-person worldwide firm. The HR team responded with a noncommittal, “Okay, we will take it into account” when the employee presented his suggestions for how to alter the company’s business culture. New management systems could only be implemented with the CEO’s and senior executives’ active and energised backing.
In other words, you need a CEO or other extremely high-ranking firm employee who understands the advantages of your concept to effect change. Although leadership is crucial, there is still a significant adjustment that must be made before better management can be accomplished.
It can be challenging to know how to adjust when managers are accustomed to being self-centered and directive with their staff members. So, here are a few practical ways managers can learn to put others before themselves.
Start by switching performance assessments to two-way discussions. Despite appearing to be neutral, performance appraisals are frequently quite biased and even harmful. The one-sided, hierarchical character of reviews intimidates employees into keeping quiet about management issues, in addition to recording a single manager’s personal opinion as a true report on your strengths and flaws.
However, a two-way interaction, like the one the author created while working with a significant multinational organization, facilitates a discourse and dispels employees’ worries of speaking up. The four questions that make up the author’s two-way dialogue system are as follows: What have you brought to the business? How has your work mirrored the values and objectives of our company? How have you contributed to the success of others? Based on what you’ve learnt, how have you modified your behavior?
Adding two-way responsibility is the second strategy to minimize managers’ tendency to focus on themselves. Two-way accountability takes the idea of two-way dialogues a step further by requiring both the management and the employee to respond to these four questions. To determine who speaks first, a coin is flipped. Then, as the other person listens and takes notes, that person responds to the four questions. Following that, they switch roles so that both the manager and the employee can provide comments on their own performance.
The two-way approach immediately dismantles hierarchies and allows both parties to be a little more open-minded. Both sides receive input, as opposed to the usual, one-way performance assessment, enabling them to come to an open-minded decision about how to improve.
Two-way responsibility represents a significant departure from the status quo. However, the benefits of being honest in interpersonal interactions and professional productivity make it entirely worthwhile.
Leaders should adopt a new mindset in place of the ingrained cultural assumptions that underpin poor management in order to properly manage their workforce. A few of the problematic cultural expectations at work are our need for quick results, our expectations of perfection, and our connection between punishment and responsibility.
Despite the fact that people are not naturally excellent, we demand excellence. Employees are supposed to respond, for instance, “I don’t know; I need some help with this.” But far too frequently, the working atmosphere prevents people from acknowledging their flaws or weaknesses. We need to aggressively encourage people to admit, “I don’t know,” when that is the case in order to allow for progress.
Managers should also ask for input. Let’s use the American business Home Depot as an example. Each quarter, the company allocated board members to stroll along a number of retail aisles where they could speak with employees, who were then encouraged to offer their honest impressions. Managers were able to learn that there was significant discontent over compensation and the lack of opportunities for female employees because the conversations were clearly confidential. The effort to gather helpful feedback was fruitful because the business anticipated a gender discrimination lawsuit and had already taken efforts to remedy the matter before it materialized.
Honesty is another quality that should be valued in a boss. By insisting that they use the first-person pronoun, the author teaches managers and leaders the value of honesty. So, for instance, in a meeting, consider saying, “Let me tell you how I see it,” as opposed to, “We need to do this.” The other individual is allowed to respond, “I see that a different way,” as a result. Do you view it differently? is a question you might always try asking if they don’t react. The first-person pronoun promotes openness and has the power to improve interactions.
When managers actually hear and comprehend the opinions of their staff, they improve as leaders. A stronger focus on integrity and authenticity will enable managers to identify any issues right away and, as a result, foster a happier workplace.
Most managers are well-intentioned, but the pressures of success and their need to achieve frequently divert them. As a result, they fall short in providing for the individuals they oversee. The key to effective management is to put others’ needs before your own. To do this, you must try to understand and support their needs rather than just your own. Putting in place an other-focus management style will make staff happier and more productive, which is the surest way to grow a company.
When you observe poor management practices, call it out. Increasing knowledge of the shortcomings and constraints of present managerial practice is the first step toward transformation. Now that you’re aware of them, self-focus, lack of sincerity, and management that is more directive than helpful and other-focused are all red flags. With your peers, discuss your observations. Your grasp of the issue will be enriched by their experiences, which will also make it easier for you to make your case. By continuing this discussion, you can start to create the excitement that might persuade your leaders to start implementing change.
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