As a management trainer, consultant and coach for a number of years, I have made several observations on corporate America and its approach to employees, customers and suppliers:
1. The average manager needs improved skills on how to coach, motivate and train employees.
2. Few managers today have had adequate training on management 101 issues.
3. There generally is more negative feedback and criticism given to employees than encouragement and appreciation.
4. Technology is creating a barrier in corporate communications rather than improving it.
5. Morale in many organizations is worse than managers think it is.
6. There is a serious disconnect between people at the 500-foot level (employees) and the 40,000-foot level (senior management) in the organization.
7. There often are two sets of standards or rules - one for the employees and another for management.
There are more, but these illustrate my point that it is important to manage by example rather than with a heavy handed top-down “do it or else,” “do it my way,” “that's just the way it is,” “it's not going to change or get any better.” Oh, and “As long as I am the boss, I make the rules - but I can break the rules.”
Managing by example means:
1. One set of rules and standards for everyone.
2. Everyone is held accountable by these rules and/or standards.
3. No one should be immune to the consequences of poor results and poor behaviors - from the executive offices to the custodian's storeroom.
4. Everyone has the right to coach everyone else - whether up or down the chain of command.
5. As a manager, if you are not willing to do it and whatever task is necessary or required for organization success (this doesn't mean you have to do these tasks or roles all the time or every day), then don't ask your employees to do it. Yes, I know it's their job. I once saw the president of a $600 million organization help load the trade show booth onto a truck. Did he lose their respect when he took off his suit coat and pitched in? No, quite the contrary - he gained their respect and loyalty. Does he do this stuff all the time? No. Does he make a big deal about doing it once in a while? No. Got the picture?
6. Respect and trust do not just reside in the executive offices; they must permeate the entire organization - both top-down and bottom-up.
7. Share good news, bad news and all news. Don't let people have to find things out through the grapevine.
8. As a manager, exhibit the behavior, attitudes and values that you expect from your employees.
9. Try some bottom-up reviews. Let your employees give you a review from time to time.
10. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
So, how are you doing these days? Are you managing by example or creating a separation between you and your employees?