Does My Bum Look Big In This?
If we were able to show Managers the real effect of what they do to the workforce then their perception of their role and their behaviour could change dramatically.
There is a huge disconnect between how people see themselves and the treatment they have to put up with at work.
There are 6 Billion people on this planet and It is safe to suggest that very few of them, when asked, Are you an individual? Would answer, No!
And yet this is how they are treated at work.
Nobody listens to their ideas, nobody values their opinions, and nobody gives them any recognition.
The manager may not perceive his behaviour in this way, because he thinks he is a good manager, but this is the same behaviour that we exhibit towards anything that we do not value, worthless things.
It makes the workforce feel worthless to be treated this way.
It is impossible for the workforce to tolerate this behaviour from management because it conflicts with their own view of themselves.
The workforce know that they are all valuable individuals.
The only way that the workforce can deal with managers who treat them in this way is to disengage and ignore their behaviour.
In the workplace this is seen as being Sullen, Uncommunicative, having a Poor Attitude,
Low Morale or Apathy.
Knowing why the workforce feels this way allows us to understand that the “Low Morale” is not a function of the workforce, it is instead a function of the way that the workforce is treated by their manager.
To change the way that the workforce feels about what they do we have to change the environment that they work in.
Their working environment is created by the way their managers behave towards them.
To change the working environment we have to change the way that the managers behave towards the workforce.
To do that the managers have to be able to see the consequences of what they do.
But how can they do that?
If a good manager asks his workforce for their opinion of him he will receive their expressions of approval and be satisfied that he is doing a good job.
If a bad manager asks his workforce for their opinion then he too will receive their expressions of approval because as we all know, the best way to get a bad manager off your back is to agree with him.
The problem for the manager is how to find out if he is adding value to the organisation, or if he is bad, interfering and preventing the workforce from performing tasks that they are perfectly capable of doing well on their own.
To get honest feedback we have to be able to look in the mirror.
The problem the Manager faces is that his own behaviour distorts the reflection from the true one towards the one that the workforce think he wants to see.
If a Manager asks his workforce what they think of him the answer will be coloured by the fact that the Manager is the person who decides wage increases, promotions and allocation of work.
The employee is going to find it very difficult to tell the boss something that the boss does not want to hear.
The responsibility therefore lies with the Manager to create the environment in which the employees can provide a true reflection
This requires an understanding of what behaviour the Manager exhibits that stops the employee providing a true reflection and the discipline to, once having identified this behaviour, stop doing it.
What is required is the answer to the question, “Does my bum look big in this?”
And what is the real answer.
The behaviour of the person asking the question determines the answer they get, not whether it is the true answer or not.
The behaviour of the Manager towards his workforce determines whether the workforce tell him the truth or not.
The Soft Skills that enable the Manager to behave in a way that allows him to hear the truth are the key skills for a Manager.
While the Manager remains unaware of these Soft Skills there is only a remote possibility of his discovering how to manage people effectively.
When the Manager understands how to create that environment it is possible to add real value where it is needed.
Peter A Hunter