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5 Things Employees Need to Learn—from You

5 Things Employees Need to Learn—from You

Aloha Readers of Lifehack.org! Leon has graciously invited me to be a guest author here, and I am most appreciative of this wonderful opportunity to share the ideas which add richness yet more simplicity to our lives. As a management coach, and the author Managing with Aloha, you’ll find that what I’ll most often offer you will deal with management, leadership and the reinvention of the workplace at the hands of managers who “get it.” That said, there are nineteen universal business values in the MWA philosophy I am best known for, and they give us the opportunity for a whole-life/best-life approach to the lifehacks we can share. Ultimately, everything is personal, and that includes work.

Reminiscent of my own schooldays, the month of September has long meant one thing for me: Engage the brain in something new and LEARN it. You must be a lifelong learner if you are going to do well in today’s world. Why just survive it, when instead you can make it your own, capturing every fabulous moment of it?

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If you are a manager you must both learn and teach, and you can expect me to speak to you often about how you can be a great coach and mentor. From day one, there are 5 things an employee needs to learn from you, setting the stage for all the higher-level learning you want them to reach for as your coaching relationship with them deepens:

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  1. Why you hired them. Not as a qualified candidate for a job vacancy, but because of the values you share, in your eyes making them perfectly suited to a great working partnership with you. Elevate both their self-esteem and their sense of belonging. Shared values are your common ground, and a business-partner mentality can be your base camp. When employees clearly understand what they were hired to do, all future job objectives become much more meaningful.
  2. How to work with you. Employees can’t read your mind any better than you can read theirs: Tell them straight up what your working style is so they needn’t go through the trial-and-error of figuring it out. Tell them which freedoms they have—and do not have—in pushing the envelope of change and newness with you. There should be no eggshells to tiptoe through: Landmines should be in plain sight.
  3. How to talk to you. Don’t expect they will communicate effectively or completely with you when they haven’t learned enough about you to feel they know you yet, nor have their own “water wings” in the company to feel safe about it. Too many employees feel “put up and shut up” is the wisest strategy, or worse, is expected of them when that’s just not true. (Hot tip: The Daily 5 Minutes is the single best communication tool I can offer you.)
  4. How you expect the customer to be treated, both external customers and internal ones. As far as you’re concerned, exactly what is great customer service? Is the customer always right? —really? Not only must they learn how to work with you (go back to number 2…) they must learn how to work with —and for—the guest and customer, their peers and associates, your suppliers and professional network of relationships. There are ground-rules in all civilized societies: What are yours?
  5. Your vision for the company. Not the canned speech and company line, but what it personally means to YOU, and how you strive to put your personal signature on it. Model the behavior you want to see; set the expectation that you’ll soon ask them what their personal signature will be. Bring the vision into sharper focus. Yes, it’s the future picture, but the future needs to get closer every day, and they’ve got to know it’s in their hands.

More on September Learning right here on Lifehack.org with me, every coming Thursday of this month. On every other day, you can visit me on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha!
Rosa Say

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Related posts / references:
The Daily 5 Minutes
The Customer is NOT Always Right
Managing with Aloha

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More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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