Monday, January 08, 2007

Creating An Environment Of Hatred In The Workplace

It is a very disheartening experience to listen to a demotivated employee complaining how his/her boss's management style is having a negative frustrating impact on his performance. my job as a consultant and university teaching staff has given me an opportunity to experience some of my clients and/or students organizational woos. Their complaints fit the bill for management book with the title of this article on its cover page. In some cases, I could believe the extreme negative attitudes of some managers towards their team members. It cannot be lack of skills alone that results in these negative attitudes, it has got to do with personality factors that requires professional help to rectify. Here are few examples:
  • One of my students once told me with a distorted face (he was still feeling the anguish of the moment after several months) that he had prepared a report on how to enhance the marketing of a new brand. He then went to see his manager and presented the report to him and waited for him to read it. He expected to be commended on a several days hard work to do his research and put his ideas together into what he thought to be a balanced report. After reading the first two paragraphs of the report, the manager, without saying a single word, turned to a shredder he had near him and fed it with the report.
  • While I was instructing a workshop on 'strategic HR' to a group of managers, few of them were very bitter commenting on the positive examples I gave on people oriented managers who respect and try to satisfy their people's needs. They said they have never heard a word of recognition from their managers for the last year. All they heard was criticism and expressions of disappointment without enough explanation or giving them a chance to discuss.
  • In some companies I visited to conduct a 'gap analysis' I was surprised to find out that employees performance evaluation was not discussed with them. In some cases the employees' were invited to only sign their performance evaluation reports which became a routine meaningless action.
  • In other cases the performance evaluation form does not include a developmental part where employees' areas of improvement are noted, discussed, and a plan is drawn and agreed upon between the employee and his/her manager.
  • Some managers, instead of expressing their concern about their employees' performance, cut themselves off them as an expression of their disappointment.
  • Managers, in some cases that came to my attention, 'throw their employees to the wolves' when a deficiency occurs, even if they were a direct outcome of carrying out the manager's instruction.
  • Organizational politics are sometimes so high to the extent that employees find themselves obliged to join a band wagon in order to survive. Some managers feel more strong having more people acting as their mouthpiece.
  • One of the extreme examples is when the manager compete with his team members, and try to belittle their value when they express their wish to pursue their studies getting higher degrees. They overload them with work to the extend that they do not find time to study or prepare for their examinations. Even when they try to apply some of their learned skills on the job, they were not allowed to do so.
  • Playing members of their teams against each other is a game some managers play as a way of knowing what is going on. They foster a culture of individuality and selfishness and become a referee who exercises more control over his employees.

the above example emphasize the importance of selection and hiring of employees as well as the danger of promoting unqualified personnel to managerial levels where they acquire more power and influence over people's behaviors and attitudes. It also emphasizes the strategic role of HR as a business partner in the organization, and not just a service function that provides the other functions with the services they need.

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