Sitting at HR Tech this week, I was struck by the quality of conversation. Yes, there’s talk about...
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Managers grumble about the state of their employees from time to time (shocking, I know). And while there might be lots to complain about, consider for a moment that the road you’re on is a two-way street. The grumbling is traveling up and down both sides of the highway. What are your employees saying about you? Some grumbling going on?
Well, of course, if that’s happening, then those employees are idiots. Clearly. I mean, you slave over work, you show up early, stay late, do jobs that no one notices…you’re a good man/woman. Don’t these ungrateful leeches see that?
And therein, is the rub. Maybe they don’t see it anymore, if ever. Maybe it’s what you used to do, but you’ve become as complacent as you accuse your team of being. It’s often subtle. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to be less dedicated. Rather, you might have allowed the tiredness of the path traveled to dictate your next moves. And while it was only to be for a day, it’s now three months or three years later and the effects are being felt by your team. They are now responding to what they’re experiencing.
My long time love, Molly Ringwald, in Pretty in Pink sits on her bed with Duckie (Jon Cryer). She shares with him her hope that she’s not the only one who knows how incredible he is. Duckie’s sad response is “Well, at this point in time, I’m afraid you are, honey.”
It’s easy to blame you, right? I mean, you’re the manager and everything stops with you. Your boss barges into your office and demands results and explanations. Your staff has been barging in demanding resources and complaining about you, the team, the work, etc. You have it tough. But you know what? That comes with the territory. You’re a manager. Manage it.
Strong words, but necessary.
Advancement is desired. The mainstream talent management conversation is about succession planning and doing it quickly. 26-year old employees are looking to be CEO next year, if you believe every article written about it, and you can’t let that time get away from you to make it happen. Removing the tongue from the cheek, an active, vibrant talent culture is one of collaboration, constant improvement and competency assessment and utilization. Bringing less than our “A” game opens a door for staff to look outside of the department, at the very least, if not outside of the company.
And while, this perspective is one for a three-day conference, a realistic first step is to sit down and ask yourself what you’ve done for your team lately. Don’t allow rose-colored glasses of past sacrifices and engagements to color what you’re doing (or not doing) today. I know you were the hero for the team in 2014, but it’s two years later. That’s plenty of time to be forgotten, or at least, to be less impactful.
Every day is a day to crush it. That’s not a pithy slogan. That’s a business imperative. The list is long and depressing of those companies that have closed or are a shell of what they used to be due to poor management and leadership. And for almost all of them, what occurred was not a one-day issue. The choices (or lack thereof) made did not align with the business mandate and were not delivered in a context for staff to understand.
Manage messaging as much as process and output. Think about what you’re doing and act upon it. While thinking is very important, it isn’t always a visible example to the team. You sitting at your desk may not equate to an employee observing to self, “Oh, look at my awesome manager. She is sitting at her desk looking at her computer. I bet she’s considering staff morale and process improvement. She’s so awesome. I’m lucky to have her.” Truth be told, it’s possible that’s what the manager might be doing at that moment, but it’s hard to know it as an observer. Balance obnoxious bragging with informed considerate disclosure in conversation with your team. Fill them in and deliver on what you’ve been contemplating.
The success of the past is just that. It’s in the past. Today, deliver something else. The responsiveness from your staff will become what you desire it to be. You’ll be setting a new tone or recovering a tone that once was. The highway of complaining is replaced by one of vibrant complimenting. Talent will know what can be done, who can do it and how it helps the whole.
Get up, hit the video below, shake your groove thing and think through a plan for yourself. Today is that day. As Janet says, “Soap opera says you’ve got one life to live.”