Unless you have been living under a rock, we all recall the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ fiasco during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII. In the days, weeks and months afterwards, representatives for the music artists involved spent a great deal of time on damage control with the FCC and the general public to salvage what they could of their clients’ professional image. In the same sense, organizational managers (no matter how great you are) sometimes have what I call a ‘management malfunction’ that has the potential of sending your managerial image spiraling out-of-control and losing credibility with your employees. Therefore, it’s critical that you be aware of those potential malfunctions that could expose you to a high degree of risk in damaging the manager-employee relationship that you strive so hard to strengthen. You do not want to be a manager who is described by these detrimental traits:
- Incompetent – Do you provide adequate leadership to your employees? Do you know what you’re talking about? Your employees will monitor your work and form their own opinion about how competent or incompetent you are in your position. In this case, perception plays a big part in leading your team. So make sure you’re sending the correct signal to others about what you know.
- Disrespectful – Whenever you disrespect someone, you are damaging their self-confidence and self-esteem…which triggers changes in their productivity. By ignoring their suggestions, belittling their ideas, calling last-minute meetings with disregard to their prior commitments, you are displaying disrespectful behavior. You must be certain to deal with all issues in a professional and respectful manner. Your employees know when they are not respected…and if you don’t give respect, you will not receive respect.
- Self-Centered – Do you have an expectation of your employees based on how they make you look? Does every meeting, every side conversation, every project have to begin with you and end with you? If you’re one of those managers that has to be at the center of attention, your employees will know it and react accordingly in a negative way.
- Impersonal – To keep from being considered impersonal doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone over to your house for a barbecue. Just being mindful that your employees have lives outside of the work environment will speak volumes to your employees. Assigning more work than can be done, asking them to work late or making them feel guilty about it will only add stress to your workers. You must be mindful of all the varied responsibilities your employees have with home, friends, family, and other community activities. By being understanding and more flexible, you will earn their respect and not come across as being too impersonal.
- Un-supportive – This one is closely aligned with being self-centered. It’s so important for your employees to know that you are there to support them and equip them in doing their jobs. If you begin to blame an employee in front of others or you call them out just to make yourself look good to the higher managers, then you will probably never recover or regain the support of your employees. If an employee is lacking in a certain area or doing something completely wrong, take time to ‘manage’ him or her and provide supportive advice that will help them accomplish the task at hand.
Of course, we have to remember that managers are human (well, most of them) and we are bound to have a malfunction in our managerial style at some point along the way. How quickly you correct the malfunction and how you implement your damage control plan with your employees will determine if you survive as an effective manager or not. So, be more aware of the signals you are sending to your employees and strive to implement personal checkpoints to keep your management skills from malfunctioning and possibly destroying your integrity and credibility. Take time to leave a comment and start following me on Twitter today at @craigholloman.