Charley Morrow, assessment guru, opens his new blog with a brilliant analysis of one of the biggest issues in today's workplace: Employment Handcuffs (my term–don't blame Charley).
More than at almost any other time, today's workers feel stuck where they are. Figuratively, they are handcuffed to their current companies, positions, and bosses.
Charley's got hard data on this, but I've seen this too. I've seen people who hate their bosses who just can't find a job when they are competing with five other applicants (there are six applicants for every job available in the United States).
Employment Handcuffs leads to depression, anger, sabotage, lack of effort, productivity decline, etc.
These handcuffs also puts managers further into the dark then they already are.
Management Blindness Worse Than Ever
Managers are always in the dark about their own leadership performance. The only people that can tell them how well they are doing as leaders are the people they're leading, their direct reports—and their direct reports are scared/inhibited/hesitant to tell the truth about their boss's leadership performance.
But now it's worse than ever. Workers are scared to death of losing their jobs. They've seen their friends and colleagues out of work for months or years. They've seen friends, family, or neighbors' houses go into foreclosure. They've heard stories about how people lose their health care insurance after the Cobra has unwound itself.
These smart workers won't do anything to upset their bosses—the people who are most likely to fire them.
How this Hurts Organizational Performance
This hurts manager performance and hurts the productivity and performance of all the employees who have bosses. It's a spiraling down effect.
From a CLO's perspective, you better be doing something to improve your managers' performance in this time of employment handcuffing!! Contact me here for consulting advice.
How Managers Can See the Light
- Managers have to ask for feedback from a place of authenticity. They have to want to improve their own performance. Ya just can't fake it.
- Managers have to listen to any feedback they get.
- Managers have to make changes/improvements in what they do.
- Managers have to avoid being defensive—even when the feedback is harsh, cutting, or wrong.
- Managers have to thank those who give them feedback.
- Managers have to be patient. Your folks don't trust that you're not going to retaliate. It will take time to build that trust.
- Managers have to ask for feedback routinely, not just at performance-review time.
- Managers have to be available. So many managers are just too busy to be available. Stop going to all those meetings with folks senior to you!! Your job is to get work done through your direct reports—you need to be there for them.
- Managers may benefit from multi-rater 360-degree assessments or other assessment-like interactions. Ask Charley about this stuff.
And again, Charley's great blog post is worth the read.
Thanks Charley!! And welcome to the Blogosphere!! Glad you're here.