When meeting with Managers and business owners, I am quite often faced with feedback regarding their employees that a manager can’t stand it when they don’t do certain things in certain ways, or they can’t bear it when for example an email goes out without a signature on it…
Sometimes really small and petty things that can appear to drive managers insane!
However, my question to you is….. Does your employee know?
You need to make it clear what you want to employees – they aren’t mind readers!
Do they know that you want them to let you know if they are popping out for lunch, that they’ve placed that order you asked, that they’ve stocked the copier with paper, that the spreadsheet they keep changing shouldn’t be changed because you need it your way for a reason, that ‘can’t you see I’m up to my eyes in it, so if you could stay for 15 minutes to help me this evening, that would be great’???
All the examples can seem quite petty, but my point is this…. If you do not tell your employees what you want, when you want it or why you want it, then you can’t expect them to be mind readers can you?
We all have different priorities in life and work is a different priority for everyone
One of my biggest challenges when I was first a manager was that my perception was that my 2 members of staff didn’t care a jot, didn’t see the bigger picture, didn’t see my priorities or my urgencies and to be honest they probably had the desire to run in the other direction, especially at 5pm because they wanted to beat the traffic, go out etc.
The thing is, we all have different priorities in life and work is a different priority for everyone. For you the manager, the business owner, the profit hoper – this is your life, your passion, your future pension. For your employees, it’s a paycheck at the end of the month so they can live, get by, go shopping, get drunk and so on (without meaning to generalise!) and generally live paycheck to paycheck.
If you want your employees to work the way you do, then give up now!!!
My other point is this… if you want your employees to work the way you do, then give up now, because they won’t, unless you are intending on handing them the company at some point in the future. If you really think about it, it’s the same with kids, wives, husbands – they hardly do things in the way you want them to do they? And employees are no different. Just because you want something done in a certain way, doesn’t mean they automatically see that too.
If there is work they do or ways they do things that annoy you, then tell you must tell them. Communication is so lost in the workplace now, we write emails as we speak so therefore the tonality and language is easily mis-interpreted and you end up with even more of a mis-understanding and possible resentment. Employees end up feeling picked on.
Have a look at some ‘quick-quip’ emails you have sent to employees, the ones that can come across curt, abrupt, blunt and possibly even rude, because you have written them on the fly without thinking about the tonality?
This is why you must find time to sit down with your employees and forge that relationship with them. Not the blind one where you assume that they assume they know what you want and when you want it and in what way! They will never work to your way of thinking so please give up thinking that they will.
You need clear guidelines, clear boundaries, clear instruction and clear communication about what you want.
In the long run this will save a lot of complaining on your part to your friends, partners, co-managers etc.
If you take one message from this, then let it be this – Don’t moan to your friends and family about your employee(s), tell the people you should be telling – your employees !
They are not mind-readers. They never have been and they never will be.
This blog was written by Karen Young, founder of HR Innovate. Karen is a straight talking no-nonsense HR and organisational design expert who prior to starting her own business worked for major UK retailers includin Dixons Stores Group.