|Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey
Last month's Newsletter talked about coping with the stress of personal/professional overload, and the challenge of creating a balanced life. I am delighted at the e-mails I received regarding that Newsletter; it is comforting to know I am not alone in the challenges I face in life!
A number of the e-mails concerned the stress at work created by trying to "do right" by employees without being taken advantage of. As we discussed in one of my first Newsletters, there is a new breed of employee in the workplace today. This new breed believes he/she has many rights in an organization, and is not afraid to demand them. Just what rights they are entitled to becomes a key issue. This Newsletter will discuss Employee/Management Rights in an attempt to understand the underlying expectations of both groups in the workplace.
Employees have the right to know what your plan is for your organization in the future. Do you plan on outsourcing some of the job functions to other companies or even to other countries? Will there be budget cuts with corresponding diminishing resources? Or, on the other hand, will you be adding new clients or new projects? Will the job descriptions change? Your staff has the right to know the future plans of your company so they can figure out where they fit in. Frankly, it is to your benefit as well to tell them because it makes it easier for them to continue to buy in and stay committed to the bigger vision if they feel they are an integral part of what is going on.
Employees have the right to know how their efforts contribute to the success of your organization. They work hard and they want to know that their efforts have an impact on your organization's success. One of the biggest reasons employees leave organizations is that they feel no connection between the work they do and the organization's success. It is your job to draw the roadmap for them so they can see that direct correlation. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team and feel that their contributions matter.
If you are making changes in your organization that affect your staff, they have the right to question these decisions. If you are outsourcing, why? If you hire new people from the outside rather than filling an opening with someone from within, they have a right to know why. If you are changing hours or benefits, they have a right to question. Your willingness and ability to explain these changes to your staff even before they have to ask, will be to your credit. They do not have the right to question every management decision; and they certainly do not have to be informed about everything management does. However, if the decision affects them directly, they have the right to question it.
Employees have a right to expect management to care about their well-being, health and safety. Of course employees have the right to expect that their workplaces are safe and healthy places to work in. However, they also have the right to expect that management will look after their well-being and not ask them to do anything that is illegal or against company policy. Just look at today's headlines in the newspapers and television, and you can see that this is being done in a number of companies across the country. Don't let it happen in yours.
Both employees and management have the right to make mistakes. Not foolish, risky, reckless mistakes. However, we are all human, and we all make mistakes. "To err is human, to forgive is devine." For those of you who have attended my presentations at your Conferences, you know I have stressed over and over that grudge-holding is toxic, particularly in the workplace. Even if we have every reason in the world to hold a grudge, it would serve us much better to forgive and get on with the task at hand (I say this to myself as I say this to you).
Management has the right to expect honesty and trustworthy behavior from employees. Needless to say, nothing less should be accepted. It has been my experience in working with employees and management, if an employee has a good relationship with his/her supervisor and feels accepted and respected for the job he/she does, honesty is not an issue. It is the employee who feels disrespected, unappreciated and unacknowledged who "acts out." If you notice a change in behavior from an employee who has always been honest and above-board, sit that person down and calmly and caringly confront it. Something may be going on in their personal life, or that employee may be upset with you. If your relationship is an honest one, your employee will most probably let you in and, in fact, appreciate your interest and support.
Management has the right to expect employees to express creative ideas for improving your organization. You have the right, however, you must create the climate to make this happen. If your organization allows freedom to express creative ideas without people being ridiculed, rejected or punished for these ideas, creativity will flourish. As the Visionary of your team, you can articulate the Vision to your staff, ask their help in achieving it, and give them the space and freedom to help you. You will be amazed at what they will come up with.
Management has the right to expect employees to care about the success of your organization. You have every right to expect this and I believe most employees DO care about the success of the company they work for. They want their company to succeed, and they want to be a part of that success. In the 21 years I have been consulting with companies, I have found that employees care. Some may not know how to show it; some cannot articulate it; some may not be realistic in differentiating their wants from their rights, but most care. The two roadblocks that get in the way are trust and communication, and I will be addressing them in future Newsletters.
I have given you a lot to think about, and I would love to hear from you. What rights do you believe employees and/or management have that have not been discussed in this Newsletter? What has your experience been with the rights I have discussed? Any comments you have would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to pass this Newsletter along to a colleague who may find this of value, feel free to do so. If he/she would like to receive this Newsletter each month, please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put the name on our database. Have a wonderful month.
About the Author
Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables at the same meeting...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.