Good management in large organisations can be difficult to comprehend. There has often been a suggestion that many people in government departments, councils etc. get promoted to get rid of them. As much as this seems like a ridiculous possibility and against all logic I have seen many examples of management over the years that make one wonder.
So what should a good manager be about? I’ve seen news items and comments that our new Prime Minister has a tendency to micro manage. To the uninitiated that’s sort all the finer details out as well as not trusting juniors to take some responsibility.
In fact this is a trend I’ve seen repeatedly in government and council type organisations and it’s worth speculating why. My first thoughts on the matter was that the general staffing of these large organisations seems to attract people who don’t want a career or to take responsibility. How many times have you heard the phrase “it’s more than my jobs worth to make a decision on that,” or “I’ll have to ask my manager”.
It stands to reason that being a small cog in a large organisation requires one to know one’s place and job specification and to not stray too far out of it. But there are other factors at play here too. Large organisations tend to have large HR departments that need to justify their position by making sure all staff have box ticked all the legal frameworks of today’s work related laws, health & safety, discrimination, and political correctness directives. Do all these box ticking exercises really work to motivate staff or do they disincentives?
And how about the micro manager? What causes this method of operation? Is it a form of bullying? Or just a total inability to trust staff? Or perhaps a sign of insecurity in a manager. Is it possible that people get promoted to be got rid of where they aren’t liked? It’s quite possible as the unwritten law in a large organisation is that if your face doesn’t fit life can get difficult.
One thing that many managers forget is that staff will always work better if trusted and given tasks that stretch them. When they succeed praise is the most important next step. This motivates and adds to a better working environment. There is nothing worse than a demotivated work force. The demotivation breeds on itself and causes more unrest in the work place normally resulting in a rush for the door and people leaving for alternative occupations elsewhere.
The bad manager never see’s this as a bad thing. He/she just sees it as the bad pennies leaving not taking any responsibility that that demotivated staff member may well be that way because of the managers bad management style.
It cost far more to recruit and train a new member of staff than it does to keep an experienced one. All companies should remember that in the same way as it’s more cost effective to maintain a client than to find a new one.
So if you are in management and realise that your staff seem to be demotivated don’t clamp down on them to make them work harder, don’t make sweeping changes without consultation. Certainly don’t treat staff like children as they will only repay you by acting like children.
Instead motivate trust and let them show what they are capable of. Inspire trust and thereby gain respect. Micro management is not the way.
By Brian Russell
Copyright February 2017