Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Managers and emotions: How they add up

We've all worked for the manager from hell. The type that can't perform under pressure, resorts to humiliation and bullying to get the job done, can't communicate a single thought unless she's yelling. It makes for an awful presentation, both as a manager and a human being. Worse, it raises the risk of poor engagement and makes employees lose respect for you.

There's more to it than that though. A Gallup report found that managers were the force behind a company's success and branding image. The more a manager had the respect of its employees, the more likely said employees would actually like showing up to work and being a productive member of the workplace.

Only the problem is that managers who resort to bullying and humiliation do have their employees engaged, but not as it should be. Sure, the work will get done, but team members may behave one way in the manager's presence but display another behavior in the manager's absence. Then there's the reputation that is building behind the manager's back - one of a hostile brute who the employees can't wait to leave. Or asked to leave.

The Gallup report found that only 35 percent of managers are engaged - meaning that they led as were expected and should be - costing the economy nearly $400 billion each year. With all that companies are paying for in training and skills development, you would expect that percentage of engagement to be much higher.

Other than the financial burden, there are other reasons why managers should learn to keep their emotions in check:

1. Risk of manipulation. We've seen the sycophants waiting on the sidelines, just waiting for that opportunity to prey on a heated manager to win her over. I had a coworker once confess that he writes his supervisor letters of appreciation when he sees her blowing her top so he can get on her good side. He has. He's been promoted more times than he deserves under her. All he has to do is just pen a letter of gratitude and she's purring like a kitten in the middle of a back rub.

2. Fear does not equal respect. Sure your employees are putting in overtime and missing lunch to meet deadlines, but they're not happy. Just look at your turnover rate as an example. If you're costing HR money to replace your team, then your employees don't respect you. And they're talking about you behind your back. Trust me.

3. It can lead to complaints and lawsuits. Which makes the manager look terrible in the eyes of upper management. If you're impacting someone so negatively that he has to look outside the company for a remedy, you need to re-evaluate your managing style.

The cost of bad management is multifold, both to the company and the individual. And if you ever plan to move on, you'll find it that much harder to find anyone who genuinely respects you enough to hire you. Besides, you may just wind up interviewing with the ex-employee you had mistreated. It has happened.

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