· Are you someone who is parenting or managing your employees?
· The reasons why you may be parenting
· Clear definitions
· Good management guidelines
Experience shows me that people are parenting rather than managing their staff more times than I’d like to report to you. Am I talking to you?
Why do you think that is so? Is it because they have moved up through the ranks and are now the ‘boss’ or ‘manager’ of someone they sat alongside of—a former peer—and they’re uncomfortable in that position? Is it because they feel awkward or uneasy ‘pulling rank’? Is it because they had no management training but were promoted into the job where assumptions were made that they could do it, that it would be no problem? Or is their modus operandi parental from the get go?
Regardless of where it comes from, it’s my opinion, parenting is not appropriate, nor does it belong in the business world only in the personal domain with family.
So let’s have some working definitions here:
Manage - To handle or direct with a degree of skill; to exercise, executive, administrative and supervisory direction of; to direct the professional career of
Parenting - the raising of a child by its parents - raising, rearing, motherhood
By these definitions I believe the distinctions are apparent (no pun intended).
On site at a training recently, the (newly appointed) supervisor/manager sat in on the interactive session. I was delighted she was there to support the participants and be able to speak the same language they were learning in the classroom. However, when anyone responded or interacted, she would add her two cents worth which was of a critical nature, as if she were a parent pointing a finger at each individual.
It was sad as I know she means well, but has had no guidance, training, or how to’s for managing people. She used to sit alongside many of the people and now is their boss and the transition wasn’t an easy one for her. It also negatively impacted the participants as they were less willing to interact and share knowing that they would be ‘voted on.’
In a perfect world, I would like to see a manager:
1) Give me constructive feedback when/if there is an issue with my performance or if asked.
2) Be specific in what I do best (so I can take ownership and continue), and where I need improvement
3) Give me boundaries and guidelines for expectations
4) Create a relationship of trust so I can count on her/his support when I need it
5) Generate a career path with and for me
6) Give me reassurance of confidentiality in all our communications
7) Treat me with dignity and respect
8) And please, don’t treat me like a child!
If we are all in the service industry—which I believe we are—then come from service first.
The better employees are treated, the better they treat customers—both internal and external.
We love to hear from you. Please post your comments, feedback, questions, your own experiences, or topics you’d like to see covered in future columns.
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