Training New Managers

Most managers get that role because they’re the hardest worker; the best salesperson; or the smartest person in the office.

But those traits don’t translate into being an effective manager.  That’s where screening, development, and – most importantly – training – comes into play.

A new article in HR Executive Online discusses how and why to get managers properly trained as well as establishing metrics for success.

And yes, I’m quoted in the article.

Thanks to Scott Westcott and HR Exec Online

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EFCA: What Employers Can Do

The Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in Congress, with plenty of vocal proponents and opponents.

The bill has two main elements:

  1. It would give workers the option of forming unions by getting a majority of workers to sign cards to join without having to hold a secret ballot election. (Current law leaves it up to employers to decide whether workers must hold an election or can organize via “card check.”)
  2. If employers and workers cannot reach a contract within 120 days, a government arbitrator intervenes and sets terms.

The possibility of many non-union businesses becoming unionized is real. So what can employer do? The best advice I’ve seen yet comes from Mark Mathison and Abigail Crouse of Gray Plant Moody in this article here. I’ve summarized their excellent suggestions:

  1. Adopt an Internal Position Statement on Unions and Labor Relations
  2. Conduct An Employee Issue and Satisfaction Audit
  3. Ensure that Communication Lines are Open and that Managers are Responsive to Employee Issues
  4. Review Employment Policies and Practices

Further, say Mathison & Crouse, it is important to audit for actual employment practice and policy enforcement within the organization because disparate enforcement adversely affecting unions or employees’ labor law rights can also be unfair labor practices with substantial negative impact in critical situations.

Communicating in a Recession

The most important thing an employer can do in this economic downtown/recession/potential depression is communicate with employees. It’s one of the cornerstones of my trends for business leaders in 2009.

Because your employees have a vested (albeit self) interest in your success, they deserve to know what’s happening and what you’re doing about it.

In fact, one of the best things you can do is survey your employees and find out what they’d do to cut costs and improve performance in the short- and long-term.

Note – I said communicate ‘with’ employees, and not just ‘to’ employees.

This article in cnnmoney.com offers more advice.

You Know You’re A Bad Boss When…

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy created a cottage industry when he started saying, “You know you’re a redneck when…”

This post talks about a similar awareness: “You Know You’re A Bad Boss When…”

And awareness is the key component. Employees will always tell you what they think you want to hear. If you aren’t completely aware of what’s going on in your workplace, then you’re failing as a manager.

The other key component in awareness is to be completely honest with yourself when assessing your strengths and weaknesses. It takes a courageous manager to ask employees what is good and bad about his or her management style. (A 180-degree survey is also helpful, and most managers are rightfully scared to death of them).

Steve Wyrostek, the Chicago Small Business Strategies Examiner (www.examiner.com), wrote a recent article that inspired my post. Among his excellent thoughts:

You just might be a poor boss if ….

  • You claim an open door policy and wonder why no one comes through that door.
  • Your employee has to ask you why her check increased instead of you telling her prior to payday that you gave her a raise.
  • You feel sorry for the Dabney Coleman character in the movie “9 to 5”
  • The turnover percentage in your area is the same as the winning percentage of the White Sox.
  • Your leadership role models are Machiavelli, General Patton and Atilla the Hun.
  • You find a copy of A Survival Guide for Working With Bad Bosses: Dealing With Bullies, Idiots, Back-stabbers, And Other Managers from Hell by Gini Graham Scotton an employee’s desk.
  • You have a budget of 30k to spend on employee bonuses and never use it.
  • You think it’s good management to come in under the paltry 3.5% budget available for salary increases.
  • You think that losing your temper is an indication of management strength.

Remember, being honest with yourself is the first, most important step in improving both your skills and performance – and those who work for you.

Are You A Bully (or just a demanding) Boss?

Nearly half of all workers feel their boss is a bully.

There’s a fine line between being a demanding boss, and crossing that line as a bully. The best practice is to clearly lay out your expectations to each employee, and inspect what you expect.

One of the most important management practices is to constantly self-evaluate your performance as a manager (and those of your supervisors). A 180 degree survey is an excellent first step.

Bad Bosses Drive Away Employees

The vast majority of employees want to make good money, have good benefits, and a positive work environment. Don’t think that – just because you have good pay and benefits – that everyone will be happy. This survey out of Florida State University shows just how many employees despise their boss (and for good reasons!)

  • 39% of employees said their supervisor failed to keep promises;
  • 37% said their supervisor failed to give credit when due;
  • 31% said their supervisor gave them the silent treatment’
  • 27% said their supervisor made negative comments about them to others;
  • 23% said their supervisors blamed others to cover up their mistakes.

Yikes. Have you conducted a 180 degree survey lately? It may be time!