Here’s a newsflash: Management is responsible to employees, but not for employees. The whole notion that we’re somehow responsible for employees came out of the control and domination era of the manufacturing age. ” Just do what we tell you to do, don’t think yourself, follow our agenda until you’re 65, and we’ll take care of your health and finances until you pass away actuarially at 67.”. Here are some examples of when you know you’ve been stuck in the position of being responsible for employees rather than responsible to them:
- You find yourself doing too much for them. When people can’t get their jobs done, do you step in and save them? Or do you let go of control and allow them to take responsibility for their results?
- You think that you have to bribe them to perform well. Frustrated parents will try to buy their children’s behavior. It’s a mistake when managers try to do the same thing.
- You’re overprotective. You won’t share an employee’s true shortcomings with them because to do so would put them at risk. As a result, you’ll start engaging in a codependency with this person, thus enabling continued poor performance.
- You micromanage.. Do really want to spend your time trying to control a bunch of adults, anyway? Smart managers are clear about their objectives then empower employees to reach them.
- Your meetings are one-way communications. You spend time lecturing employees as if they were schoolchildren, rather than empowering them to share problems, ideas, and solutions.
- You fail to draw a line in the sand. Many managers will never draw this line because they’re playing “savior games.” You know you should fire an employee, but you’re also aware that if you do so this person might go into a financial tailspin. As a result, you keep the employee, which harms both them and the company.
When you’re responsible to employees, you put them in a position where they become capable of success. It then becomes their responsibility to succeed. You can identify your expectations, express your limits, and provide feedback and judgment without trying to fix things yourself, and encourage but not enable them.
Finally, realize that you and anyone that you manage will make some mistakes. Don’t freak out when this happens; just ask yourself what can be done so it never happens again. In this situation, explore your responsibility and allow the employee to explore theirs.