One of the difficulties anyone who’s any kind of manager faces is that your job depends on others to make you look good or bad. Your employees can make you look like a genius, even if the best thing that happened was that you inherited them. At the same time, just because someone is good at what they do doesn’t mean they’re a good employee, or even a happy employee.

Does an employee need to be happy? There’s a couple of thoughts on that one. There are those managers who are tyrannical in their approach, who demand the utmost respect at all times, unquestioning loyalty and dedication to the job. Those whose employees are afraid to go to the bathroom because the person they report to will think they’re slacking off.

There are those managers who are best buddies with their employees, god-parent to most of their kids, empathetic to the point where every day is anticipated with the same fever as teenage lovers who can only see each other at school because each of them lives at home with their parents.

Then there’s the different types of employees: the one who whines that nobody cares about what they do; the one who instigates and whips other employees into a frenzy, yet would never say anything themselves; the quiet one, of whom you’re never sure what they’re thinking or how they feel; the efficient one, who at times questions how come he or she finds the work easy and begins to feel as though they’re doing all the work; the slow one, who’s usually trying the best they can and doesn’t make many errors, or really may not have a clue as to what’s going on but hasn’t been found out yet; the friendly one, who knows when everyone’s child’s christening was throughout the entire company and has to share it with everyone else; the mad one, for which there’s not a darn thing you’ll ever be able to do to make things right for; the timid one, who you can’t talk to because every time you say their name water gushes out of every pore of their body, then they shake, their voices quiver, and you start feeling guilty even if you’re giving them good news… on and on.

Though we sometimes forget, employees are human. They have marital problems, sick children, trouble paying their bills, trouble getting along with others, etc. Some are able to put away their troubles and work well; some are not. Some have no problems at all, but just can’t keep their minds on their work; some are almost perfect. But no two are ever alike.

I was in management for many years in different capacities, and though I felt I changed a little here and there I always tried to adhere to one main theme; treat everyone like an adult and with respect. Usually I find that you get what you give, no matter what position someone has. There’s so many factors that can impact the chemistry you try to achieve with your employees, or all employees, that if you don’t have one consistent factor to get behind you’re going to have trouble with everyone, so you might as well make sure the philosophy you pick is consistent.

What do you feel is the most preferable to your employees; a manager who treats them as the guilty party all the time, a manager who believes them all the time, or a manager who tells them the truth? Breaking it down further, which of these philosophies do you think works best with people in general?

I’m not perfect, and I’m not universally liked, but I was well liked. I don’t believe many hated me, but if I were everyone’s cup of tea I’d probably be rich, have lots of influence, and not be working anymore. But I’m not an every day manager these days.

For those who are, managers are there to get results, and supposedly are believed to have some kind of knowledge that others don’t have. Most of the time it’s just common sense. Sometimes the simplest thing to you may not be the simplest thing to someone else, and vice versa. How you deal with this knowledge usually impacts how you deal with others on whatever level they’re on.

For instance, do you give the complainers a chance to make some decisions for the group? Do you actively solicit the participation of the quiet ones in group discussions? Do you communicate the with efficient ones to let them know how much you appreciate what they can do for your organization? Do you set goals for your individual employees, as well as the group, and do you have rewards when those goals are met? Do you try to be consistent in your relationship with your employees?

The last one can be hard because we’re all human, and invariably you’ll usually find at least one person who you feel you can talk to more easily than the others; you just want to watch how much you share with them. Do you know how to efficiently and fairly dole out work so that no one has more than anyone else, or do you try to do more than you can because it’s easier than trying to train someone else?

There are no perfect answers because there will never be perfect people, and that includes directors and managers. The problem is that we’re like football coaches; you can’t fire the team, so you know who is going to take the blame. You have to be on top of your game when you address the concerns of your employees, whether they know they have any concerns or not.
 

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