You may be ‘working from home’ for the first time during this crisis, or it may be your usual base for working, but is there anything ‘normal’ about this current situation?
I was going to write a long post about finding your purpose, following on from last week’s article. But then this tweet caught my attention.
Working from home? Or at home, trying to work?
It is an important distinction. A point many of the replies make. Even many of those accustomed to working from home make the distinction. There’s a few who don’t get it, as always, and some pleas from people asking for help getting their boss to see it. But mainly agreement.
It also led me to this article.
It’s written to an audience in higher education, but it’s relevant for us all I think. And again, really caught my attention. I’ve spent many years working on my own productivity, and now encouraging others to improve theirs, and I definitely went into that mode.
'How can we make use of this gift of time we’ve been given to find our purpose and be more productive? Let’s all look on the positive side and do what we can to make this awful situation better.'
What I hadn’t recognised in myself, let alone others, is that we are going through a grieving process. I guess I’ve moved from denial to – I don’t know, sadness? Shock maybe? Personally, for me, there have been jokes about how I’m going to cope without getting my roots dyed, and yes, I was initially horrified at the prospect. Now however, the main thing that’s upsetting me on a personal level is that I haven’t seen my granddaughter for weeks, and she will be one next week. It’s breaking my heart that I can’t share these precious moments, she’s learning to walk, learning to talk, and we’ll never have these moments back again. I miss giving her a hug (having her climb all over me), and I miss giving her older brother a hug too.
I’m also adjusting to a new situation at home. I may be used to managing my own time, but now I have a newly retired husband at home, and a furloughed adult son at home. The plans we had for my husband’s retirement are all on hold. We can’t escape to our holiday home in Wales for a few days by the sea let alone any further afield travels. No part time job hunting for him either – he doesn’t want to put his health at risk doing delivery driving or similar.
This article answers so many questions about why I can’t concentrate, why I haven’t got on with a home exercise regime, why I haven’t yet edited all those YouTube videos I have recorded and posted them.
Productivity isn't the top priority
This is my message this week. Realise that we’re grieving, and productivity isn’t our top priority. If you are at home during a crisis trying to work, whatever you manage to get done is an achievement. Apart from your own responses, you may also be dealing with other people. Children who you’re meant to be ‘home schooling’, despite having never had aspirations to teach. Partners who you’re not accustomed to being with 24/7. Other grown ups in your household who want to do their own thing. Who all have their emotional responses to this situation, which won’t be the same as yours.
And if you live alone, well that’s equally challenging in a different way. You might like your solitude, your own space. But surely on your own terms? I have a niece who lives abroad, alone. She is currently confined to her apartment. She can’t go for a walk, go for a coffee, go to work. There’s a shop on the ground floor of the apartment block. That is the only place she is allowed to go. So she hasn’t been outside even. So yeah, she’s definitely at home, during a crisis, trying to work. Not ‘working from home’.
We’ve seen a lot of messages on social media about being kind. We need to be kind to ourselves first, and realise that everyone has different challenges, and we’re all a bit short on the reserves to help others right now, because everyone has some kind of challenge to face in this.
Puropse - does it even matter right now?
I will come back and talk about purpose as I’d planned, but right now I’m going to focus on doing what I can and putting self care first. I’m off to do some gardening – what’s your priority?
One of the key indicators of a good workplace is whether you have friendships at work. And one thing that can foster friendships is shared activities. The simplest and most obvious one in the workplace, especially if you work a roughly 9-5 work day, is lunch. What happens at lunchtime? Do you work through and eat a sandwich at your desk? I hope not, because there are so many benefits to taking a break.
If you have a dedicated space in your workplace to get away from your desk and eat lunch, make a point of doing that for the rest of this week. If you don’t have a dedicated space, suggest to a co worker or three that you get out of the office and go somewhere for lunch. Use it as an opportunity to get to know someone a little better.
Let me know what you’re doing for lunch for the rest of this week.
If you want more ideas for how to be happy at work, start here.
Today marks the beginning of the International Week of Happiness at Work. Hmm, if you need this, I guess you’re in trouble. My view is that every week should be happy at work. But too many people don’t feel like that about it.
To mark the week, I’m going to post a new article every day looking at the issues. If you want to join the conversation, you can find me on twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, You Tube and my website.
What are your initial thoughts about a week of happiness at work? Post in the comments below, or on any of the social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook and Linked In links are below in About the Author.
Instagram is new ish, but I can be found here
If you want to make a start, get my seven things you can do today to be happier at work
Are you stuck in a job you don’t like, and you’d really like to make some changes, but somehow you never seem to get around to doing anything about it other than complain? I just want to say, it’s not your fault. It’s really hard to make that change, and sometimes we don’t even know where to start. To compound the problem, our brains conspire to keep us where we are. This post I wrote some time ago tells you more about how it does this.
I told you in the last post how I’d finally got the diet and exercise habit. What I didn’t say was that this was after more than forty years of failing to adopt healthy diet and fitness habits on a sustainable basis. So yay for me! And that got me thinking about transferring the lessons learned into other areas, and I showed you how you could start small to make some changes in your work situation.
I realised that the reason I’ve now adopted the new habits is because there are consequences to not sticking with it. At first, the consequence was that I’d have to pay a fine and show on a public website that I’d not achieved my goal. But now, several months later, the consequences of not getting in my activity for the day mean that I don’t get to eat so much. To continue losing weight, I must maintain a calorie deficit. If I’m active, I get more calories to eat and can still maintain a deficit on the day. If I don’t maintain a deficit, I won’t continue losing weight, and I now know that the progress motivates me. I don’t like to see a weight gain. I’ve associated the behaviour with the consequences.
There are other things I’d like to achieve though, and I realised that the consequences are not sufficiently associated with the results, so I need to find a way to link them – to ingrain the new habit to work towards other goals.
Which brings me to urgency. I’ve also always been a last minute kind of woman. As a mature student, I was often up until 3.30 am to finish an assignment. Once, I handed something in at one minute to the deadline, and my dissertation involved two consecutive all nighters in order to get it in on time. I did well to do two consecutive all nighters – that involved me planning ahead and doing some work two days before it was due in.
Now that I work alone, I have to create my own urgency, I have no tutor or manager expecting work to be done to a specific time, so you might have noticed that I don’t post an article every week. At the moment, I don’t have readers who expect a weekly post, so there are no immediate or obvious consequences if I miss a week.
You may be in a job you don’t like, you may come home and complain to your family or friends about how awful it is, and you may even look at the job ads online to see if there’s anything else out there. But you’re not really taking action, you feel stuck in your current situation. There’s no urgency to make the change. You need the income your job provides, you’re tired out when you get back with domestic responsibilities, you don’t have time to fill out job applications online. The consequences, remaining fed up, dreading Sunday evenings and Monday mornings – well, that’s how it is, you’ll just continue to whinge about it.
Urgency can be a double edged sword. You may eventually get to the point where you’re desperate, things are so bad that you’ll start to take action. But then your options may be limited, and you could end up in just as bad a position or worse. Like Brenda (not her real name) who left a public sector job because she wasn’t happy there, and took a job with a charity working for a cause she believed in. However, she soon found that the organisation had a toxic work environment. Her new manager was someone who had been promoted but wasn’t capable of her new job, there were no support structures in place to provide the training and coaching that the manager needed, a colleague was being bullied, bitching and gossip were rife. Speaking up got her nowhere.
You don’t want to act out of real urgency and not be able to take a considered action. So how can you create some urgency for yourself - enough to motivate you to take consistent action and start a new habit but not so much that you have to act at all costs?
As I’ve already said, I’m finding the public accountability very helpful, combined with making a commitment to myself. Owain Service and Rory Gallagher in their book, Think Small, support the idea that making yourself publicly accountable is one of the foundations of creating good habits successfully.
And then we come to procrastination. The result of consequences not having a direct link in your mind to your current behaviour, and of not having urgency to act, is procrastination. You know you want to do something – most likely look for another job – but you put it off. There are reasons we do this – it can be too hard to take the action we want to take, it can take up too much time, we don’t give it priority over more immediate things. This article in the New York Times puts a different light on it, and it makes perfect sense to me. It’s not a time management problem, it’s an emotional problem. We don’t procrastinate because we’re lazy or because we don’t have time management skills. It’s a response to a negative mood – the urgency of managing that negative mood takes priority over the longer term consequences. It may just be that the task itself is unpleasant, but it may also relate to deeper feelings of self doubt, low self esteem, anxiety or insecurity.
The article gives some useful tips on dealing with procrastination. I’d like to add one more. Start small. Think about your habits, and what you’d like to do differently in your working life. You may think that finding a new job is what you want – and you may be right in the long term that’s the right course of action – but starting small means exactly that. What else could you do? The last post had a few suggestions. Here’s a few more – they are massive goals, but small actions to make a start.
Be more confident at work
Repeat affirmations to yourself every morning
Be more motivated
Pick a task that you must do daily or weekly at work, where you usually struggle to get it done. Set yourself a target – must have it done by 11.30 am every day, or by Tuesday lunchtime each week, whatever is appropriate for the task. Make a pledge in stickk.com and ask a friend at work to be your referee
Be more creative
Walk to work, or during your lunchbreak. Exercise has so many more benefits than just for your body. The time walking gives your mind the opportunity to wander, enhancing your creativity. Start with three times a week, or even once a week if you’re not active. Walk for 20 – 30 minutes.
Be nicer at work
Smile at people. Set a target – I must smile at five people today You’ll probably find you’ll soon smile at more than five.
Learn a new skill
Block out the time to devote to it. You can’t learn a new skill without practice. So either go to a class, or ensure you block out the time – at work if appropriate, at home if it’s not.
Improve working relationships
Resolve to ask one person each day how they are. And really listen to the response – give them your time and attention. Or even resolve to do this once a week to begin with
Be more organised
Pick one task and work on that. As for motivation, set a target, make a pledge in stickk.com
As well as on stickk.com, make your pledge here in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to support your efforts. Look forward to seeing how you get on.
I’m going to hazard a guess that you’ve seen managers who don't know how to manager, can’t motivate their staff. Maybe even worked for one. Hopefully haven’t been one, but sometimes, you know, that happens too - we can all learn to be better. Often, this is because of poor workplace culture – not always, there are cases of one off ineffective managers in good organisations, but in the main, the poor managers are a result of poor organisations in my opinion.
What if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself working in one of the places with some of these managers? How do you deal with that? Can you change the culture by yourself, or does the culture come from the top? As a comment in a previous post asked, ‘Is this really the responsibility of the individual if they are a lone voice? … Is it the responsibility of the management, organisation or team to change the culture?’
As I’ve argued before, if you are a lone voice with no power or authority within a toxic work environment, then no, realistically, you’re not going to make a significant difference. Does this mean you shouldn’t try? If you’re stuck with the job, even for the time being, surely you want to make some effort to improve things?
I recently re-read Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and one concept that was a bit of lightbulb moment for me was reading about circle of concern vs circle of influence. I realised I’d been getting all bent out of shape over things I couldn’t impact. Brexit, Donald Trump, austerity…my circles of concern. When it would be much more beneficial and impactful if I focussed on my circles of influence – where I could make a difference.
Let’s apply this to the toxic workplace. Can you change government policy and get them to make the right investment in your public sector service, so that it can properly serve the people it claims to serve? No. (Ok, my politics might be showing a bit here)
Can you change the strategic plan your managers and leaders are working towards? Mmm, maybe, a little, but unlikely. Depends what stage it’s at.
Can you change the targets your manager wants you to work towards? Again, maybe. Put together a good argument for why the targets are unrealistic, and a proposal for revised targets. If your manager has a little wiggle room, then you may be able to get them agreed. If the culture is very poor, maybe even that wouldn’t be successful. But give it a go – you won’t know unless you try.
Can you change your manager’s behaviour towards you? Not directly, you can’t make them change.
Can you change your behaviour towards your manager? Ah, there we have it. You can change your behaviour. You can change your response to your manager’s behaviour, and that in itself might result in a change of your manager’s behaviour.
Ditto your colleagues. You can’t make them change, but you can change your behaviour towards them, and their behaviour back might just change too.
Again, none of this is simple. If it was just as simple as deciding to change, and then doing it, we all would. But we’re creatures of habit, and changing habits is really hard. I mean, really, really hard. So let’s start with some simple things, and here’s an idea you can try out.
Give a cheerful greeting. Say a cheery good morning to everyone you meet as you arrive at work. If no-one does this at your workplace, people will be surprised at first. But persist. They’ll start to reply, and slowly it will alter the atmosphere slightly. When someone asks how are you (or that Brummie greeting of ‘alright?’, where you’re just meant to say ‘alright’ back) answer ‘Fantastic thanks!’ This is really fun to do, especially if your customary answer is ‘not too bad thanks’. People will want to know why you’re feeling fantastic, you’ll develop new connections with people you’ve not really spoken to before, and it will alter your own mood – it’s tricky to feel miserable or say ‘Fantastic!’ in a glum voice. Starting in these small ways will develop into a changed way you greet people generally, and you will make a difference.
The more you change your behaviour and responses to others, the more you will find your circle of influence grows.
Try this for a week, and let me know in the comments section how you get on. What difference has it made?
Want more tips like these? Download 7 things you can do to make work better today
World Mental Health day today then. It’s trending on Twitter under three different hashtags, several more on Instagram, Linked In has articles on it, people are posting memes on Facebook. I’ve also had emails on it, telling me what organisations are doing to raise awareness of mental health issues.
This is all very well, and I’m not saying it won’t help for people to be more aware and more sensitive to the issues surrounding mental illness.
But what really winds me up is organisations talking about what they’re doing to ‘raise awareness’, and what they’re not talking about is stress at work. How much is the workplace the cause of the mental health issues their people are experiencing? Are they working in poor conditions? Too much work leading to long hours? A culture that frowns upon anyone who leaves on time or doesn’t get in extra early? Having to take work home? A micromanager? A bully for a manager? Or management by absence?
I listened to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce podcast today, with interviewees from two large organisations in Birmingham talking about what they’re doing about mental health. Apart from a mention that work addiction is an addiction too, there was nothing about the role the workplace plays in causing mental health issues. There was a lot of talk about raising awareness.
Now these two businesses might be great places to work, but equally, they may be creating stress for their employees. If they’re not talking about it, chances are, nothing is being done about it. If their people have any of the issues I mentioned causing them stress at work, what are these organisations doing to address that problem? Are there genuine solutions available to them, and are they encouraged to take them up?
Birmingham Chamber also says that poor mental health and wellbeing is costing the West Midlands region more than £12 billion a year. The CIPD’s annual survey into health and wellbeing at work shows that stress is one of the top three causes of long term absences across all sectors, and the top cause of long term absence in the public and non-profit sectors. So it really doesn’t pay to ignore this issue.
One exception I did find on Twitter is Prof Sir Cary Cooper, speaking at the Mad World conference. He says that employers need to identify what could be damaging workers’ wellbeing, instead of looking for quick fixes like mindfulness at lunch. Prof Cooper is a professor of organisational psychology and health at MBS Manchester University, so has some authority to make these observations. Although it’s so obvious that if people are overworked for long periods of time, they’ll get stressed, and that will eventually result in sickness absence, I don’t understand why more employers don’t see this.
If you’re overworked and it’s having an effect on your mental health, I recommend you read How to do a great job and go home on time by Fergus O’Connell. It has some great strategies to deal with this problem. This book review tells you a little more about it.
O’Connell, Fergus 2005 How to do a great job and go home on time Pearson Education Limited, Harlow
Who’s in control? Whose dream are you living?
Work hard, get a good job and you’ll be a success. But now you feel you’ve bought into a lie. You work hard, but aren’t getting the rewards you deserve.
Entrepreneurship is a pretty big thing now, more and more people getting into it. I know a few people who got into freelancing or became sole traders and entrepreneurs who went into it because they wanted more control over their lives, or at least working life.
But what if you do work for someone else? Entrepreneurship is not your thing, for whatever reason. And let’s face it, we can’t all be entrepreneurs – business owners need someone to join the payroll.
I spent two days at an event last week, for entrepreneurs. Headline speaker was Gary Vaynerchuk, and there were several other speakers, most of whom were selling from the stage. But there were some lessons in there that are just as valuable to employees as those running a business. I’ve talked before about how autonomy at work is a key driver of motivation, and these seven lessons can help you take back control.
A few speakers talked about the education system, how kids are not taught how to be entrepreneurial. They’re taught how to get a job. Get good grades and work hard, and you’ll be successful. A few discovered for themselves that’s not how it works.
I’m on board with the sentiment, though it did remind me a little of Hyde in That 70s Show, who was always complaining about ‘the man’.
You may be in a role where you're working hard, but feel you’re not getting any reward for all that effort. You're working hard for someone else's rewards. It’s unfortunately happening a great deal at present.
The solution? Get your own education. Learn on your own terms. Several speakers said you’ve got to learn before you earn. Essentially the same message as the establishment. But what resonates for me is that we should take responsibility for our own education, career, business, life. You may not be taught critical thinking at school, but get out there and learn to do it, it’s an important life skill. And speaking of which….
This is one of my favourites. Take responsibility for your own actions. One woman got the opportunity to ask Gary Vee a question. She admitted she hadn’t taken any action (brave of her!) but then said she was worried about what could go wrong, what should she do then? Gary Vee’s response ‘Don’t worry about the future when you’re doing shit in the present.’ As someone who has difficulty with productivity at times, I can empathise with her question, but he’s absolutely right. The responsibility to take action lies with ourselves.
If you’re in a horrible job, or have a bad manager, take responsibility for changing that. But take a good hard look at your role here. Is it really that bad, or are you causing at least part of the problem by your attitude to work? How engaged are you at work? Only 11% of employees in the UK are fully engaged. If you increase your engagement, you can increase your success. If you increase your happiness, you can increase your success. (Yes, that is the right way round. You increase your happiness first, the success follows.) Let me know if you want to know how to do that, I can help you.
This is one reason we often get caught up in not taking action. Actually, fix your mindset is probably the wrong way to say it, what we want is to have the right mindset; there’s a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset. Growth is the one we want.
We lack the confidence to go out and succeed in the way we’d like to. This is a part of the education you need to get for yourself. If you don’t know how to do it, find out. A great place to start is by reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. Or watch her TED talk if you don’t like reading. (It’s an excellent book though, I’d recommend giving it a try.)
Execute. Stop consuming, start producing. Knowledge isn’t power, knowledge plus action is power. Be knowledgeable about your job, but ultimately, you have to produce the goods.
As a long suffering procrastinator, knowledge plus action makes so much sense. Never forget there has to be action. It’s only action that moves us forward, inaction leads to atrophy. (That might not be literally correct, I’m not a scientist. But Prof Brian Cox said something similar I’m sure.)
If, like me, you’ve been afflicted with procrastination, take responsibility. There are solutions that can help – I’ve been using them myself and am recovering.
Kind of like the last one, take action, sometimes you have to seize the day. I’m so thankful I booked onto this event. It was two days away from my business, travel expenses as well as the ticket expense, and two 4 am starts. But it was totally worth it.
Apart from the awesomeness of having seen Gary Vaynerchuk speak live on stage, I got so much more from this experience that I wasn’t expecting. Sometimes, it’s worth just going with your gut and doing something, even if it doesn’t seem logical.
So if you just know you need to do something, just do it.
What, you haven’t got one already? Just, get a coach. Or a mentor. Or both.
Many thanks to Daniel Priestley, who was one of the speakers, for helping me to think more about the experience overall, and for the hidden lessons. I learned some things about myself I wasn’t expecting to, and his comments made me learn some more.
I don’t want to come over all inspirational quote here, but those memes on Facebook that tell you people come into your life for a reason? And sometimes there’re there to bring you a lesson? That’s how I feel about going to this event. I know we can’t go through life analysing every little thing that happens, but it can be worthwhile to reflect on experiences from time to time. The lessons may not be the ones you expected.
So if you’re having a tough time at work, if you’d like to
then take the first step and get my free download 'Seven things you can do today to change how you feel about work'.
Some studies have been reported in the HR press this week, I share my thoughts about a couple of statistics.
Links here to the reports mentioned
Last week's post told Jeanette's story, and showed how untrustworthy managers can cause problems.
Firstly, it does fall to this manager to be willing to look at his behaviour and determine to develop his skills and alter his approach. Or it falls to his managers to encourage him, or get rid of him. But let’s suppose he is willing to change. How can he develop the trust of his team?
Stephen Covey, in The Speed of Trust, says that it can be done, even though it is tougher to regain trust once lost.
There are four elements – two relate to character, two relate to competence, and all four rely on each other.
The four elements are
Let’s look at what each of these mean.
Doing the right thing – even if no-one is watching. Integrity is more than honesty, it’s also congruence, humility and courage. After Gandhi spoke for two hours without notes to the House of Commons, his secretary said ‘What Gandhi thinks, what he says, what he feels, are all the same.’ And it’s important to have the courage to do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.
We all make mistakes. But what’s important is our intent. If we believe that someone’s intent is to help, do good, then we will feel we can trust them. But if we don’t trust their intent, how can we trust them? Using the example above, if we think the manager’s intent in yelling at his junior staff member was to help them learn (alright, that’s a stretch, but if he was normally helpful, and this was out of character, then we might accept that the telling off was meant to help her not to do it again) and we would still have trust for the manager. But if we know the other stuff about him, we’ll believe the roasting will be to protect his own behind, and that he has no interest in actually helping his team member to develop and grow. And the mistrust is what will develop and grow.
Moving on to competence, we will not trust someone who we don’t think can do what we expect them to do. You might trust your GP for example. But if she then says you need open heart surgery, and she will do it for you, you’re unlikely to trust such a specialised procedure to a general practitioner with no experience in surgery.
What results have been delivered? Moving back to the manager (I should give him a name – maybe I’ll call him Ron – Ron Manager?) what results has he delivered? The job of a manager is to get the best out of his people. Probably to help retain expertise for his organisation, reduce stress and sickness absence. Ron is losing people left right and centre, there’s above average sickness absence, and those that stay don’t perform very well, motivation is at an all time low.
On the other hand, a manager who has a happy and productive team obviously has their trust, and equally important, trusts his team to carry out the organisation’s purpose without looking over their shoulder, and knows they will go above and beyond when it’s needed.
If you would like to improve trust within your organisation, I’d recommend reading ‘The Speed of Trust' by Stephen Covey with Rebecca Merrill, see below for more details.You can also give me a call to talk about how Silvern Training can help you achieve a positive, dynamic workplace using our seven guiding principles of Pam Cast.
Call Lindsay on 0121 624 1957
Covey, Stephen M R and Merrill, Rebecca R 2006. The Speed of Trust. Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc New York
The last – and most important - of our seven principles is trust. Although it is the most important, it is last for a reason.
You can’t have trust without the other six principles in place. A friend of mine was often complaining about her manager, and one of the things she often said was ‘I just don’t trust him’. So one day I asked her why. She launched into a bit of a tirade, I was almost sorry I asked.
‘I knew that in whatever situation he wouldn’t put my interests first, always the organisation or himself. He wouldn’t have my back, even if I was following his instructions, it would be my head on the chopping block, and he wouldn’t even have blinked.
If demands were made for the team to work in a different way, he’d just agree to it without asking us if it caused any problems, even agreeing to things that went against our employment contract, things that jeopardised our safety, because his bosses wanted it. He’d just buckle under pressure, and never look out for us. When the problems were brought to his attention, he just became patronising, belittling the danger. He would never admit he’d made a mistake.
A new, junior member of staff once did something that breached client confidentiality – it was accidental, it wasn’t malicious. It was serious, and she needed to be called on it, but this manager bawled her out over it in front of everyone. He didn’t take the time to work out if she had missed out on training, he just tore off a strip, I’ll show my managers I’m coming down hard on you.
To meet our tough performance targets, we needed to work extra hours, and we’d often done this out of goodwill. But if he hadn’t got our backs, why should I have his? All goodwill went, our motivation was totally depleted. In another role, I often went over and above if the team needed it, I would do it because I knew they had my back.’
I asked my friend how she felt now about this experience. She said that even now, more than a couple of years later, she felt angry about it, and it took a lot more experience before she realised it wasn’t her fault. It still irritates her that she judges her work surroundings by it. She isn’t fully happy in her current role, but is relieved it’s not as shit as that.
I’m sad for my friend that she had to go through that. I’m sad that she uses that as a benchmark for how good her job is. I’m also sad for the organisation and the people it’s meant to serve.
Let’s dissect some of the things she said about her manager’s behaviour.
He wouldn’t have my back
He’d just agree to it without asking us if it caused any problems
He just became patronising, belittling the danger
He would never admit he’d made a mistake
This manager bawled her out over it in front of everyone
He didn’t take the time to work out if she had missed out on training
Goodwill - if he hadn’t got our backs, why should I have his?
In other words, he wouldn’t support members of his team
Again, showing the lack of support. Also taking away the team members’ autonomy
No appreciation for the team’s opinions, contribution, concerns.
Undermining any trust there might have been
Appalling communication skills
Bawling her out would have no impact on future learning and development. Well, not in a good way.
People who don’t feel valued and appreciated won’t go the extra mile when it’s need.
Motivation was totally depleted. We lose sight of why we’re doing the job we’re doing if we don’t feel appreciated, supported, have no autonomy, suffering from poor communication amongst our team. Being engaged with our purpose makes us more effective and productive, but this engagement cannot thrive under these conditions.
The new member of staff publicly bawled out probably learned to keep her mouth shut, keep out of the way of the manager if possible. Ruling through fear and intimidation is not a good way to develop your team’s skills in becoming effective. Did she need more training in the rules of client confidentiality? Was this an error or omission on her part, or is it something that should be more effectively trained as part of the induction – are the current systems and processes as effective as they could be?
Another result is that my friend left – she looked for other employment, and found it. So that organisation lost someone with many years of experience in the field, someone who was committed to helping this client group, someone talented and with a lot of commitment to working with this client group, a difficult group to work with. They were left with the alternative of advertising, recruiting and training someone else. As I said last time, it can cost six to nine months salary, or £30,000 to replace a member of staff. Or not replacing her, so that they offered a lesser service, clients lost out, society lost out, the remaining staff were even more stretched and stressed.
And that’s just one team member. Multiply that – how many others did they lose? How much did they lose in sickness absence through stress? How much did they lose having a demotivated team, who were not willing to go the extra mile if necessary, because the manager didn’t have their back?
We’ll look next time at what can be done to develop and increase trust.