The number one reason managers do not hold people accountable is fear of harming the relationship. Ironically, the relationship is damaged by not bringing issues out in the open.
Successful managers must believe in the people they manage. People cannot hide their true emotions. Being authentic is a requirement of good management, because words comprise less than 10% of our communication. People constantly communicate through body language, sounds and tone. Research shows how well people perceive non-verbal communication.
Recent ostracism research of Kipling Williams, Ph.D. Professor at Purdue University-Lafayette demonstrated the subject’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex became fully activated as a reaction to eye rolling. That same area of the brain will fire up if the subject’s finger is banged with a hammer. Moreover, when physical pain is recalled, the brain doesn’t relive the pain. But when social or emotional pain is recalled, it is felt again.
The impact of eye rolling is a painful feeling of social isolation. Consider the negative impact an insincere manager can have on a workforce. Managers need to recognize their role in the organization is the overall outcome, not individual performance.
Taking the leap from individual contributor to manager is often more of a step to supervision. Managers who look at their people for the solution are supervising. In today’s complex, knowledge-based, work world, the need to watch people perform their tasks correctly and efficiently is disappearing. Today’s world is outcome-driven.
People have a tendency to attribute errors to someone’s personality characteristics. Managers need to be aware of this piece of social psychology called the fundamental attribution error. It is the tendency to over estimate the internal and underestimate the external factors when explaining the behaviors of others. For instance, you might consider the person who consistently late for work to be lazy or unorganized rather than discover that he wants to see his daughter get on the bus.
Using the fundamental attribution error is not meant to excuse the behavior, but to put it in a broader context. Rather than jump to a conclusion or blame; the manager can ask about the possible causes for tardiness.
The opposite of the fundamental attribution error is the actor-observer error. When someone does something wrong, the person believes it was caused by something outside of his control. In the example, the employee might say he is late only when the bus is running late. Another example is when one trips when walking; the person will look to see what caused the trip.
Understanding these two social psychology principles helps people communicate. When a supervisor blames an individual for making a mistake, that individual will blame external factors, including the supervisor. Rather than working together to solve a problem, the individuals are arguing about who is correct.
People in business spend too much time trying to fix people who are not broken while ignoring systems that are broken. According to Exemplary Performance, at least 75% of the output is due to organizational factors leaving 25% to people.
The manager’s task is to ensure the work gets done. It behooves managers to look first at systems that are external to the organization such as regulatory compliance or other required standards. Next, consider the myriad of systems within the organization such as role clarity, incentives and expectations.
The need to explore barriers jointly and create shared solutions is what is needed from managers. Managers need to demonstrate respect of others and accept responsibility for outcomes. This focus on outcome and request for insight from the people doing the work will reinforce a positive working relationship.
Successful managers are skilled problem solvers who explore how the systems can prevent the error from recurring. When something goes wrong, managers are responsible. Managers who blame their subordinates will not acquire followers and will not become leaders.
Employers are not required to post the National Labor Relations Board’s Employee Rights Notice Posting by April 30, 2012. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has delayed the implementation of the posting rule for the foreseeable future.
However, the final rule of union election procedures, also known as the “quick election” has the April 30, 2012 effective date. This rule will shorten the period of time before the union representation elections by limiting the issues considered at the pre-election hearing stage.
Indiana is the 38th state to enact a statewide smoking ban. The law will take effect on July 1, 2012. All enclosed public places and places of employment, as well as eight feet from the entrance of public places and places of employment will prohibit smoking.
Managers, owners or other officials must ask individuals to refrain from smoking, when found smoking illegally. If the official does not object, the official along with the smoker will have committed a Class B infraction. Likewise, the smoker and/or official will have committed a Class A infraction should either fail to comply three times.
There are businesses that are exempt. Those businesses must post a warning sign in a conspicuous place stating “Smoking is allowed in this establishment.”
Employers are required to inform employees and prospective employees of the applicable smoking laws.
Download this newsletter – May 2012 Newsletter