I was consulting with a manager, Jerry, who was having problems engaging and retaining staff. Because of his missteps, his department was suffering. Although his intentions were honorable and his desire to become a more effective leader sincere, Jerry had difficulty turning those intentions into results.
Our survey results and feedback from his team were quite clear– they were not happy with how they were being managed by Jerry and were about ready to launch into their rendition of The Caine Mutiny. As I was reviewing the results with Jerry I stopped, took a deep breath, and said: “Jerry, it looks to me like your staff has fired you as their manager”.
Jerry considered the remark calmly and replied: “Mark, I hate to say this, but I think you’re right. What should I do?”
“Jerry, you reapply!”
He laughed, taking the medicine in a pill he could swallow.
In our work we’ve run across a gaggle of managers who, like Jerry, have been fired by their employees as their leader and desperately need to reapply for the job. They’ve turned their staff into a group that:
- thinks more about punching a clock than punching out work,
- feels indifference and scorn, instead of a genuine desire to offer great customer service, and
- plans mutiny versus loyalty to the firm.
Want to hear how an employee sounds when they’ve fired their manager? Let’s listen in to one exceptionally disengaged employee we interviewed with another client talk about her manager:
“I haven’t been here quite a year yet, but after a few months in my department, it became very clear to me that most people in my position or a similar position were very unhappy with how they felt they were being treated. Most employees feel unappreciated and overworked. New management has exacerbated this issue, and now people are so unhappy that they just do not care. So now no one feels the need to help anyone else with anything–go that extra mile. There’s no team, because there’s no team leadership. There have been several situations that were extremely mishandled due to bad management. Our manager has actually told people that she would rather turn a blind eye and ‘hope things get better’ on their own so that she wouldn’t ‘have to deal with it.’ Too bad, I thought that was her job. I have gone to her on a particular issue more than twice, and every time she assures me that she will take care of it and nothing is done. It’s very sad here.”
Whether she realizes it or not, this poor manager has been given the proverbial pink slip by her employees. They’ve concluded that her “blind eye” philosophy is demeaning and unacceptable.
Contrast that comment with these from employees who feel very different about their manager:
“My manager trusts me as an employee to do the right thing, which gives me more time to focus on my goals at work. I have a very flexible schedule that helps me assist customers on a daily basis. I have control over the hours that I work to be more productive at work.”
“I feel extremely valued at my workplace; my manager goes over the profit and loss statement with us so we can all see how we can contribute to the success of the branch. My manager answers and explains everything in detail no matter what question is being asked. I feel my manager values each and every team member and shows everyone respect for the jobs that we do. He always has time for us and helps out with anything no matter what it is. He cares about the development of each crewmember and wants each of us to succeed.”
To his credit, Jerry did reapply to be the manager of his employees, and with a new attitude and hard work he is a better leader. He averted The Caine Mutiny, and his employees are now pleased they re-hired him.
Has one or more of your employees fired you as their manager? Maybe it’s time to reapply. Let our “New Rules of Engagement” be your guide.