Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some Managers Never Learn

In the news today, a manager of an IT/Telephony company in Australia pretending to be a 'Gordon Gecko' with harassment emails to an employee saying 'lunches are for wimps'. The case is now headed for the Federal employment court. Should the employment court find the situation to be as reported in the news then I hope they jump on this manager from the greatest height of the law. Had that employee sent a similar email he could have been lawfully dismissed and the dismissal upheld by the employment court. What's more I hope the media continue to highlight these poor management practices so that good people will not waste their time and talent propping up inadequate managers.

The manager of this company just doesn't get it. He may have a successful business; but not for long if he continues to lose good people. It is possible there is more to this story. It is possible the employee involved is a liability. Even if that were the case, a manager does not have a right to mistreat someone in the workplace - even those managers that manage their own business.The sooner people stop working for managers without a clue the sooner these managers are forced out and replaced by people able to treat others with dignity and respect.

No organisation, whether it be a top 500 corporation, a private company, a not for profit or a government organisation is successful due to the efforts of only its managers. They are successful due to the combined efforts of effective managers and good people working together in a collaborative (not compliant) manner. A truly effective organisation would continue to function without its management team!

This is not suggest that managers are useless, though some have shown themselves to be of little usefulness. Effective managers are very important. They are an asset. They are the ones that understand their own strengths and weaknesses, that understand they cannot possibly know all the answers, that foster collaboration and cooperation not only within their team but between teams, functions and organisations. They are the ones that provide clear, unambiguous and non-conflicting direction as to expected outcomes and provide constructive feedback supported by data and evidence. They are they ones that coach and nurture potential of their people and guide them through their mistakes and back towards productivity. These managers do this with dignity and with respect. In turn they are treated with dignity and respect. The result is high productivity.

Of course if you manage a business and your focus is on short term financial gain then you can afford to employ short term management strategies. From my perspective, the sooner these managers make their fortunes and retire to a Queensland beach house the better - for the rest of the world, we have to live together and work together in a more sustainable manner and that requires vastly different management strategies and skills. As a management consultant I know which of the two managers I want to work with. As for those people employed by our friend on the news tonight - I know what advice I would give them.

Let The Journey Continue

John Coxon
Taking You From Frontline Manager to CEO
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