I spoke with a therapist/friend recently who shared a similar experience I had. She had lost her assistant to budget cuts and cannot possibly handle the administrative duties, the phones, and her normal therapeutic workload. A client did not get her call returned for two days. When it was, she was told that her assistant was laid off due to budget constraints and her workload increased. The client complained to the manager. Most clients understand, some only think of themselves. The response from management was to “lie”! She was told not to tell the truth about the situation, to deflect it with “sorry you’re unhappy, how can I help now,” not answering the question. She was told to handle those demanding immediate attention and leave those already promised completion but no longer on the phone to dangle in the wind. That is breaking one’s word and damages ones integrity. If she went along with it, she would start to not care about what she said, only to politically do the right thing.
She takes pride in her work and is considered a top therapist. Yet, she is so overworked that the joy of working/living is gone, replaced by unrelenting labor. This is More From Less. Other corporate solutions include finding a young, low paid neophyte replacement, but they will not be able to handle the difficult situations. However, the numbers will look decent. In the end, More From Less is leading us headlong into disaster. We will become a race of robots, without say or joy, and the spark of this country – innovation will be forgotten. The corporate answer to this continued decline will probably be fire more, and make the rest work harder. Then, they can set up the “company store,” of the coal miner days. Unions, created out of resentment to this type of treatment were the result in the past. We are using the model in China, for our workforce. But even in China, there are growing demands for fairness and better wages and working conditions. We are forgetting the past, and are therefore doomed to repeat it. At present we are moving backwards. We don’t need tighter control mechanisms, nor do we need to further burden our workforce; we need less myopic greed at the top and an open ear. Listen to your people; they know what the customer needs. Don’t implement new ideas without asking the staff. Management dreams up new ideas and processes that often only make things worse. Why? Because they are not in the trenches and don’t know what leadership really is. — Bullying is not leadership.
LEADERSHIP is the ability to:
- Motivate by supporting, appreciating, encouraging and inspiring! I consider this number one skill. Unfortunately, many managers’ think the way to manage is through intimidation and fear. Fragging is a response to this type of management by bullying, arrogance, and stupidity.
- Plan – Prepare realistic workflows and goals. Work with how they are to accomplish them. Push back if you cannot make it work. A new middle manager told me that he needs 100 in his department to handle the work. He was given 72 and told he had to make that work. The customer will suffer, as will the employees. A downward spiral results.
- Communicate – This includes listening. Discuss goals with employees and whether they have met them or not and ask what needs to be improved. Speak with upper management when unrealistic goals have flowed downhill – Push Back – tell them. Assure there are channels for all levels to communicate upward.
- Guide – By example, model the behaviors that need to be done. Sit with your employees and listening to their feedback. Review results together constructively.
- Congruency – The right fit. Make sure you have the employee with the right abilities for the job. If not, then transfer them to where they would be best suited. The company I worked with had the blockhead mindset of hiring from within. I saw people in trainer positions who barely could speak, a “new” computer system that was ten years outdated, and managers who hid in offices and then took potshots at their employees. Competent outsiders were not considered even though sorely needed. Just because you are with the company doesn’t mean you have the talent and abilities to perform another job.
- Delegate – Provide all the necessary tools to complete the job. Dumping is the norm. Push back to upper management, request the tools if not given. Management is now saying, here’s the task and these are the only resource you get to do the job. Tell them they are inadequate if so. Take a stand for your employees. Dumping creates resentment, is counterproductive and may foster sabotage.
- Immediacy – Handle situations when they arise, don’t wait until a keep or fire discussion point is reached. It’s way too late then.
- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Integrity – Keep your word, do your best and have the courage to speak the truth about the ‘pink elephant,’ in the room. For example: Why does the Emperor have no clothes? These and other unspoken and therefore, accepted lies undermine nothing short of the truth of existence. What happens in relationship when integrity is lost?