|You must acculturate new employees|
Last week I explained how to lead your customers. This week we’ll explore how to lead your new employees and fold them quickly into your company culture.
What is some of the scuttlebutt that employees grumble about their managers around the water cooler? They’re overbearing, indecisive, lazy, oblivious, etc. If you sift through all the criticisms, you’ll likely discover the complaints fall into two piles: micromanagement and failure of leadership. Both of these traits stem from fear: fear of losing control, or fear of appearing too militant. A tool that discusses cultural fit more is “Strengths Finder” by Gallup.
Very few employees realize the difficulty involved in being a manager until they become one. Management if often considered a thankless, arduous, and vilifying role within a company. But approached the right way, it can be a motivating, energizing, satisfying responsibility. With a few tools, any manager can become expert at unobtrusive supervision and grow their place into a highly respected billet within the company.
Recognizing the challenge of leadership, many companies have tried to banish the concept, flattening their organizations, or in a supreme pacifying effort, chosen to label everyone a manager… even if they manage equipment, resources, or just their own workload. In this article we’re concerned with people management. Whether you manage a department or other managers, this article is for you.
You can usually see a manager’s satisfaction by gauging how they view their job. Do they perceive the role as mainly keeping people in line, ensuring they do their darn job so they don’t have the chance to slack off? If so, their corporate life will be bleak.
The best managers empower their subordinates – consisting primarily of getting out of the way – and ensuring they have the support necessary to do their job.
Do you want to be a great manager? Then flip the hierarchical organization chart upside down and view the true essence of leadership: that you as a boss support your people; your boss supports you; his boss supports him; and so on. You each empower your subordinates, not preside over them.
Surprising to most managers, your job is not to make sure that your employees do their job. A boss is not a kindergarten teacher. Your two tasks are making sure your employees have the tools and support (including training) necessary to do their job; and ensuring each employee is a good fit for the company culture.
It’s more important for an employee to be a good fit culturally than be skilled at their job. As a manager, your first priority is ascertaining whether your new hire will fit in with and keep the company culture. We’re assuming you hire people with the best ability, especially in today’s job employer-skewed market. So assuming you did a decent job of hiring, if an individual is a good cultural fit for your organization, she can always be taught or, if necessary, be transferred to a more suitable billet within the organization.
Let’s take the example of a customer service rep. He’s dynamite on the phones and gets results. However, it turns out your new hire is a maverick, not a team player, and your organization embraces team culture. You’ve just discovered the disconnect after hiring him. What should you do?
If he doesn’t fit in with your culture and you’re sure you can’t indoctrinate him, terminate. Conversely, a customer service rep who is struggling with the skills of the job but has the right attitude you must continue to train and support until he progresses enough to do the job.
Will he become a star? Maybe not, but the question is will he become better than your least competent employee? If the answer is yes, then keep him and terminate the least competent or find another place for them. If the answer remains no after a suitable ramp up time, then consider a related place within the company where he will be a better fit. Do your best to keep an employee who is a cultural fit with your company.
A manager is like the captain of a ship. It’s easier and less chaotic when everyone’s rowing the same direction. You can individually upgrade each person’s rowing skills over time. But it would be bedlam to make a dramatic course correction because one guy’s rowing the wrong way, no matter how strongly he rows.
Netflix has a hiring slogan: “No brilliant jerks!” It’s more important to have the right attitudes in your people than the right skill sets.
Next week I’ll discuss how to correct an employee’s behavior so neither the manager nor the employee wind up with hurt feelings. And we’ll continue exploring the market plan. Until then,
profitable business All!