by Renae Sanders
I have said time and time again. People do not leave companies. They leave their managers. Employees who feel valued, trusted, and empowered generally have good functional relationships with their managers. Conversely, disgruntled, unhappy employees have poor relationships with their managers.
People have the capacity to handle high volumes of tedious, unrewarding work if they did it with and for people they like and who like them. But why, aren’t their more managers who are able to connect and get what they need done? The answer may just lie in reasons they became managers in the first place.
The catalyst for this article, was a comment made by a college student, who exclaimed, “managers just boss other people around; I can’t wait to become manager so I can tell other people what to do”! It was then that I knew enormous misconceptions exist regarding the role of managers in the workplace.
The manager’s role is to ensure the resources and processes are used and operate efficiently. Their focus is internal. Their skills lie in making sure the activities of the organizations meet its goals. Indeed, good managers try to find ways to motivate workers to remain engaged and productive.
Indeed, if managers see themselves as owners of the resources or processes, how they behave may be less pleasant for workers than those who realize some resources are people and should be handled differently than non-human resources. According to Buckingham & Coffman (1999), a manager’s job is to help employees become more of who they already are. Indeed, helping workers develop their talents is far more helpful than coaching employees to become more like themselves.
Clearly, overbearing, disrespectful, and defensive styles of management negatively affect performance and productivity. Further, such styles should not be confused with being authoritative; which does not give an individual license to behave inappropriately behind the veil of management. If workers are not performing or are incapable of performing, most organizations have processes in place to assist with improving performance or separating workers.
Positive relationships in organizations are beneficial to teams and organizations. Employees who feel a kinship or a positive connection with managers also feel more loyalty and commitment to the company; and lower internal costs, i.e. we act more quickly for our friends than those with whom we do not have a relationship.
Being manager does not make us better than others; we just have additional and sometimes different responsibilities.
Buckingham, M., Coffman, C. (1999). First, Break All the Rules. Simon & Schuster: New York, NY.
Renae Sanders is the Managing Director at KRS Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational relationships. Believing people are the link between strategy and success, Renae works with organizations, leaders, and managers to strengthen internal relationships. You can reach her at email@example.com.