When you think about being a leader or a manger, what comes to mind? Are you thinking about a large corner office? Maybe the fact that you are the “boss” and in charge of everyone else at work? Or, do you think about the opportunity that you have to help the people in your company grow as people? I got the chance to read “There’s More to Management Than a Big Desk” by Steven Sisler and the book is full of ways to make sure that you are leading your employees in the way that you should. There were many amazing points in the book, but I am going to touch on just four bits of wisdom on how to successfully lead an employee from their first day of training to nurturing them as a long-time employee.
1.) The Power of Training: Remind yourself that you should not expect an employee to just know what to do. Even if they have done the job before, they will need time to get their feet wet. Most of the time, they are coming from a different company as well, so they will be to be acclimated to your company’s culture. Steve also touches on the idea of investing into your employees. “Great people are crafted. Great people have to be trained to be great. The training period is the place of investment on the part of the organization. Paying someone a salary to learn something new creates a dynamic that is absent in most people’s lives. You are giving them knowledge, training, and financial security.” I know that I was given some time to learn the tricks of the trade in almost all of my jobs and I think that it is definitely something that employers should do.
2.) The Power of Deployment: Steve writes about the idea that employees need to be deployed; Meaning that employees need to have a purpose and a mission within the company. He puts it well when he writes, “Many employees are just wandering around organizations because they have never been sent. Their mission is never quite defined. They show up every day without a mandate, without a mission… Deployment is necessary for involvement. People are not devoted, committed or purposefully employed for the simple reason that no one gives them purpose or helps them define it.” There needs to be direction from leaders on a mission that is bigger than that employee and possibly even bigger than the company itself. People want to invest in companies that are looking for ways to change their market or even change the world.
3.) The Power of Monitoring: Disciplining in the workplace is different that punishment. I could try to explain this one myself, but Steve just says it best. “Managers punish subordinates based upon how the subordinate makes the manager look. In these situations, every move the manager makes in relationship to the employee is actually designed to elevate himself or herself at the employee’s expense. And when employees figure this out, they instinctively start looking out for themselves at other’s expense.” On the contrary, discipline is for the employee’s welfare at the management’s expense. You have to take the time as a manager to discuss the behavior and why it is better for them if they do it another way. You have to explain to them why the behavior is harmful to them as opposed to why it is harmful for you. “True monitoring is done in full trust. It causes an employee to feel important enough to be invested in and watched for performance.”
4.) The Art of Nurturing: “Managing is growing with a person and learning what makes him or her enjoy life and work. It’s creating synergy through proper and healthy interaction.” Steve goes on to write about the idea that managers should spend as much time as needed with new employees until they are fully integrated into the company. He says, “People respond to care and oversight almost everytime. This isn’t forever; it’s until they understand the culture, what’s expected, and that you care.”
I know that I just quoted a lot from the book, but there is really so much to share and I encourage you to read it yourself. If every organization used even just those four principals, I think that people would be much, much happier. It all seems to stem from the idea servant leadership. Leaders need to realize that they are there to serve their subordinates, not the other way around. I know this is always a touchy topic, but I’m going to ask anyway: What do you think?