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Redeeming Managerial Respect 12/2/2010

By: Ricardo Torres

We are proud to introduce the first online issue of The Human Capital Advocate as part of Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants’ launch of our Human Resources consulting division. As we launch this service, we are happy to announce that Nick Dayan, PhD will serve as our Vice President of HR and Education. Dr. Dayan will also be presenting each of you with this monthly publication designed to help promote a positive working relationship between you and your human capital that is so essential for your business to thrive.

Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants’ programs have been endorsed by Dr. Robert L. Mathis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska. In addition, Dr. Mathis is serving as our senior advisor for all PSLC HR training programs. Dr. Mathis is the author of over 20 books which are used as an industry standard in over 400 Universities throughout the world and is widely recognized as a top authority in human resource services.

Noted business author, Peter Druker, once wrote: “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” Druker’s quote is especially true when a manager is considered to be more of a hindrance to the success of a company than a asset. Given today’s economic conditions, individuals who are in charge of an employee’s corporate well being need to reprogram their thinking.

After years of improper management training, a manager’s inability to relate to the changing environment of their workers has caused a social downfall in the workplace.

As the baby boomer generation heads towards their long awaited retirement, one can only hope that their supervisory style and breed of management heads into the sunset with them. A majority of managers and supervisors, over the past 45 years, have had no formal managerial training, often treating employees like cattle who must be prodded. The proverbial “cattle prod” was passed down from generations of management. In this case the “cattle prod” was, and in many instances today remains, screaming, threatening, and termination.

So, how did we get to this point? Why do we, as a society, accept the so-called “Bully Boss”?

First, it must be noted that our parents (and their parents) were brought up in an era of militant viewpoints on how to handle, not only their personal lives, but their professional lives as well.

Second, our society has been eroded by that mindless box that invaded our homes and took away our much needed family interaction time. Television has affected the way management interacts with their employees. Believe it or not, situational comedy’s directly affected the thought process of how to manage people in our “perfect world”. Case in point – In the mid to late 1970’s, an informal study was conducted on various managers (in various industries) around the country. The study was designed to understand how and where people in positions of authority learned to motivate their employees. Researches wanted to know how to get them to perform in a company directed manner.

One of the questions asked them was to identify what popular individual influenced them the most when it came to learning how to manage employees. Researchers expected that, given the generational time period, a majority of the answers would reflect an authoritative figure from the military or someone of political prominence. Researchers were surprised that a majority of the answers were neither of the two. Those that were surveyed identified two individuals who were of television prominence. Both portrayed characters in the position of “the boss”. In fact one of these so called bosses was not even a human being, but a cartoon character.

This cartoon character was from the first successful primetime cartoon, the Flintstones. Fred’s boss at the quarry was a mean, vicious and dominant man by the name of Mr. Slate. He would run around all day screaming at the top of his lungs, barking various orders that always seemed to end with, “YOUR FIRED!!!” By the end of the show everyone had their jobs back and “The Boss” was happy again.

The second influential television boss was a white haired man by the name of Larry Tate. Tate was the arrogant boss of Darrin Stevens on the show Bewitched. Tate would also bark orders like a possessed drill sergeant with a mission to fire everyone. Like the FIintstones, all was forgiven and the employees were happily re-employed by the end of the show.

The above fictitious characters were playing to a dictated script, yet influencing and shaping the minds of many managers looking for that “edge” in controlling their employees. Today’s employees don’t need to be controlled, screamed at, or threatened. Yet it is still happening. They need to be developed, encouraged, and coached, in other words….managed.

Thanks to the instant communication age we live in, today’s employees are better informed, are better educated, and possess knowledge that can far supersede the skills, knowledge, and abilities of their supervisor. Society dictates that we must respect those put in a position of authority. Society also dictates most not to question authority. Yet we see more of the younger generations changing this face of society.

In a corporate environment, respect is an emotionally charged topic. In instances involving supervisors and subordinates, an overwhelming amount of respect is built upon negativity and fear. Given that thought, it depends on the perspective of the individual that could cause negativity and fear to be subjective.

Thus, respect could be part of fear, but there is also respect without any fear. Industrial psychologists state that as we are all trying to be “good corporate citizens”, respect is important, instinctual, and mandatory for any successful operation.

Why should any company be concerned about their managers redeeming respect? The answer is simple. Trust is a huge part of respect. Trust is a core competency of our everyday desire to function harmoniously in order to sustain life. Simply put, employees who trust you will work harder and more efficient for you. It is in all highly effective leaders’ best interest to gain employee trust and ultimately earn their respect.

There is no real “knockout punch” for redeeming managerial respect. But there are four simple practices that any manager can embrace in order to build the basic foundation for mutual respect.

Be honest in your dealings with your employees.
Be straight forward and honest in all of your dealings with employees - even if the news is not the best. Don’t try and pull the wool over their eyes in any situation. Eventually the truth about the situation will come out and any trust that was developed is instantly gone!


Ask Employees for their input.
Employees will feel trusted when you ask them for their thoughts and/or ideas. Workers feel appreciated and valued when you weave their ideas into the core DNA of the organization. You do not have to use all of their ideas, but when you ask for input for the future, they will respect you.


Show Sincere and Genuine Appreciation for them and the work they do.
There is NOTHING easier in the corporate world that will improve production, assist in cutting costs and increasing revenue, then two simple words -Thank you.
When said with sincerity and genuine appreciation, a “thank you’” will yield volumes of tangible and intangible benefits to any organization. Simple recognition of a job well done will envelop a level of respect that would be very hard to erode in any environment.

Treat your employees like you would want to be treated!

If you are a manager who is quick to make the statement that show disrespect towards your employees they will certainly disrespect you. Statements like, “these employees are just lucky to have a job”, or “they get their appreciation every payday.” will destroy any chance of redeeming managerial respect. If you catch yourself using these phrases - STOP IT NOW! These are the words of a “bully boss” who cannot come to grips with their own self confidence issues. As stated at the beginning of this article, it is time to reprogram your thought process.

Managers and supervisors had better be at the top of their game and not rely on oppressive tactics to “guide” employees. For if they do treat their employees like cattle and use the wrong motivational cattle prod that valuable asset may just move on to greener pastures.

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