“You should stay in your office and not socialize with the staff!” “You shouldn’t make friends with your staff!” I couldn’t believe my ears when this was passed on to me. I guess being surprised was an emotion that I need not have in this case. They do have a rather negative culture – managers are encourage to catch employees doing things wrong so they can be disciplined rather than catching them doing things right and providing positive feedback.
Every time that I hear a story like this I think “if only they would” think about providing mentoring to new and existing managers. Managers fail because they are not provided the tools to be effective. Managers fail because they have been set up to fail as they more than likely did not have the skills to do the job. In a Gallup study that was done it was reported that only 18% of managers in the United States have the high talent required of their role.
With the professional mentoring that I do with senior managers/leaders in organizations I stress the need to develop relationships with employees. It can be as simple as walking the floor in the morning to greet everyone and perhaps to ask the odd question about how a family member did in the sporting event they were involved in the night before. This shows that you have some level of caring for the people that work with you. When some of the folks that I have spent time with take my advice and spend the time to build relationships they have found that productivity has increased as the employees feel more a part of the team. Your presence on the floor needs to be a positive experience for the employees and need not be one where they run and hide when they see you coming. It is not a pleasant feeling!
Training of new and existing managers is extremely important. They need the tools to be successful. They need the tools in order to be better able at developing the people that they work with. Studies have shown that approximately 40% of managers fail in the first 18 months and it is largely due to not receiving the training that they need to be successful. The training that is required is not purely the academic portion of the learning but it is also the practical application. I am a strong advocate for mentoring as part of any leadership development program in an organization. A trained mentor can spend an hour a week with a new or existing manager and can create a continuous learning and development environment. The mentor can work with the new or existing leader to enhance their critical thinking skills and decision making capabilities. Once again we hear that familiar statement, “if only they would” implement mentoring as part of their leadership development program.
It is tough to wrestle the leadership issues to the ground. It is a global issue – ranked #2 in the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report for 2015. Culture and engagement are tied for #1. If you look at all three of these challenges they are very closely linked together. Culture and engagement can suffer when there is a lack of leadership in the organization.
I came from an awesome leadership group this morning. They are an inspirational group of people. The topic today was on self-leadership. When I look back at the situation I described earlier I wonder what those new managers feel when they are told not to be friends or to develop any relationships with their employees. I wonder what thoughts would be racing through their minds – does this mean that my boss doesn’t think I have the capability to develop relationships. Perhaps it is the culture and if so then why was I hired as I don’t believe in this style. When we fail to lead ourselves we fail to lead others. “If they only would!”