How are you being Managed?
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
The way companies manage their employees hasn't changed in over 30 years! 30 fucking years!
With the high rise of young innovators; that being millennials and generation Z, and the ever changing culture and technology you would think "managers" would evolve with the work trends and higher education of today. How are we changing the culture of the workplace if no one is listening?
What is culture anyway? culture starts with a purpose, why the business is in business. It pumps or flatlines day to day through your manager. This is very important because it's what makes the way your employees and customers view the company. The bottom line is, if your best employees don't know your company's purpose, they will leave. The biggest sign of a culture that is not functioning is its lack of agility to meet customer needs.
This is not good for the employee who is not equipped nor trained and most importantly not paid enough to stitch up your broken culture. The second absolute worst thing you can do is manage a blind team. I never understood why everything is "managers need to know" only. I understand if someone is let go or there is a disagreement between employees but as far as building a reputable company why are your biggest assets left in the dark about your companys' future?
Thirty years ago employees cared more for a paycheck and didn't necessarily seek meaning in their jobs. But today we are seeing that employees are seeking purpose rather than money (of course money is also a factor). According to Jim Clifton and Jim Harter authors of It's the Manager, in the Gallup study they recognize that annual reviews no longer work. Millennials are radically changing the work force and seek continued coaching rather than annual reviews, "old management practices - forms, gaps, low individualization and annual reviews- grind the life out of them", and it couldn't have been said any better. Not only does it grind the life out of them but so does their spirit, their enthusiasm and the hunger to innovate, and it promotes an underlying danger to the Mental Health and overall well being for a generation full of potential and promise yet so clueless as to what they're about to embark after graduation.
We are taught that companies want diversity, they want "Yes" people, people who can be the problem solver, the clerk, and the janitor all in one. It's not rainbows and unicorns after graduation my friends. They prepare us to be the best that we can be and paint a picture full of growth, stability and contentment. But companies don't seek diversity, infact having a disability still plagues the disabled from getting jobs. They interview and get turned down because "they didn't have the qualifications" when what they really mean is they got turned down because "they had a wheelchair". What does that mean for a company? Liability. Cost. Accommodations. They don't want to lose money, they want to gain money. They want the employees to resolve complaints or solve issues that are way beyond their pay and employees take it because they think they are being acknowledged and valued by being asked to take over a task but they're really being taken advantage of. and you my friend are being squeezed to keep making money for the company as long as you allow them to pay you less for more work. Beware, because they will pile as much work for you as long as you keep saying "Yes" because you don't know any better and you want to impress your boss by showing him you can do all that's asked of you. We need people that are not afraid to say "No". After all
Clifton and Harter describe The Six changes as follows:
Changing demands of the workforce:
My Paycheck. My Purpose
My Satisfaction My Development
My Boss My Coach
My annual review My Ongoing Conversations
My Weaknesses My Strengths
My Job My Life
These six changes are broken down in detail in the book. Leaders or managers change policies or cut benefits but never explain to the employee why. Most leaders or managers will often blame higher management. Presenting employees with annual reviews and often wondering why the political douchebag got the promotion and not the underpaid employee who worked their ass off through a breakdown. and they don't even give you the courtesy of understanding why or why their review was so low.
As a millennial myself, I can tell you I see this at work all the time. I can't even tell you how many ideas I've brought to my managers attention and ALWAYS got shot down, making me feel less than an asset. Your 50-something or 60-something year old leader/manager/director will never let you set forth a great idea nor ever ask each employee to write down what they feel the team needs in order to work effectively thus having a happy job and a happy life, and the happy life comes from knowing they have a purpose. I recently came across an experience where I handed over some recognition cards some customers had left for me. She turned down the idea of having "Patient Experience" cards/surveys because not only will they seek recognizing someone for their amazing work but they will also want to turn in complaints. She said, and I quote "that will bring me more problems and more work to my already full plate." What I heard was, "I'm lazy to handle complaints to fix problems and I will not acknowledge customer needs." THAT'S HER JOB! I am now a dead corpse walking around like a robotic 50-something year old. How can it be that everyone has iPhones and tablets, keeping up with technology while ignoring the new culture of the ever evolving generations?
What I know for sure is that I will always be my authentic self and I will never coward to intimidating titles or managerial roles in the workplace. Manager, you are no better than I am. I make that as clear as day. The only difference are the zeros on our checks. I reject the old will. and I believe in a higher purpose. I believe in a logical solution. I believe in listening to employees to understand not to reply. and I definitely believe in meeting customer expectations and listening to their needs.
I read this quote recently....
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." -Colossians 3:23
I can resonate with this quote because the downside of (well the other downside of this issue) is that I also see many people who actually graduate to do certain scopes of practice and are there just for the paycheck. People lack passion and the energy to change things that are not quiet practical anymore. I won't quote the rest of the the book because from my perspective it's a must read and I'm gonna let you buy it and read it. but the term "human masters" hit me like a sword right through the chest. Directors, managers, leaders; are being put up high in a pedastol to the point where it isn't their job to make a simple phone call, It isn't their job to listen to live complaints. So what are you there for your majesty? Are you just a master on your throne giving orders and overseeing only the things that are doe wrong and never giving your employee a high-five for not just doing their job but for doing an exceptional one too.
Over the last few years I have learned to advocate for myself and slowly progressed to advocating for other people. Be it discrimination in the workplace or simply just knowing what your rights are as an employee. Wether you have a Union or not. A lot of my passion is dedicated to Mental Health. Trust me when I say Human Resources, also known as HR are not there for you. The upper team always works with and for management and not with or for YOU. and for those who go to Equity and Diversity find that they are "neutral", meaning they don't have your back nor do they have the other party's back. That doesn't even make sense. Why does Equity and Diversity even exist? What is their real purpose if neutrality means they just wash their hands in the sink and watch you battle it out with statements and He-said-She-said bullshit. It's a waste of corporate money, time and value.
Managers don't care about you, if you're sick, if you just had four surgeries, or even if you die. They'll move on to the next "best" candidate, even if you're not dead you might as well be to them. I am a firm believer in praising and positively coaching your employees. In The One Minute Manager, written by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, before you even get to the contents page it quotes "The one minute manager's symbol- a one minute readout from the face of modern digital watch-is intended to remind each of us to take a minute out of our day to look in the faces of the people we manage. And realize that they are our most important resources," another quotes "Catch them doing something right", because as they also say "people who feel good about themselves produce good results." This is a small but vital point in helping your employees reach their full potential, by helping them strengthen their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses. If the only thing that comes out of you managers mouth us negativity it can potentially affect your business and significantly reduce progress or worse deteriorate your employee's health. Sure, you should not expect praise for doing what you got hired to do, but encouraging and reinforcing positivity leads to better Mental Health thus a happier employee and much more receptive to your coaching.
In the case where your employee did something wrong, follow the Two R's Rule, Reprimand and Reaffirm. Let them know clearly what they have done wrong and then shake their hand or touch them in a (fake) way that makes them feel that you value them. Invest in people and their talents. You'll get more out of them than your antiquated managing system of looking for the wrong's because soon you'll have reluctant employees. Their enthusiasm turns into "I do everything wrong so fuck it". Lucky the manager who gets a dumb employee and not one who actually knows better than you because you feel threatened. It will create more problems for you than solutions.
Managers, making yourself likeable will bring more success to your team than making yourself someone everyone wants to avoid. Be available. Be open to receiving constructive ideas and stop looking at them as criticism or disrespect. No one cares about your plans if it only involves you and not your team. and the most important thing to remember is that wasted talent is wasted time.
Millennials, keep doing what you're doing. Generation Z, gear up because Millennials are upping up the ante and it's in your future to take the torch and solidify what we've been working so hard to do. Breaking barriers between Managers and employees, get rid of work politics altogether, make more human connections and work on lifting each other up rather than competing or tearing each other up. We have enough of that in this world already. and in the end, we are on the same team.
What do you guys think about the way your workplace is managed? How do you feel about the impact of Millennials and Generation Z in the workplace and as a culture? How has your work place affected your team or your mental health? I really want to hear your take on this toxic issue.