Managers are not responsible for their employees. They are responsible to their employees. You can't control employees or their level of engagement and you don't want to. In this video, Don Phin shares how to avoid this trap by getting clear about responsibilities. The ultimate responsibility of the manager is to place the employee in a position where they can succeed and be engaged. It is then the employee’s responsibility to do just that.
- Here's a news flash. Absence some legal mandate like EEO or OSHA laws, you are not responsible for employees. I'll say it again. You are not responsible for employees. What you are is responsible to employees, to them, not for them. If you fail to grasp this point, you'll find yourself coming home emotionally drained from work every day, and your engagement is going to be affected because you'll exhaust yourself managing people.
It's important to understand you can't control employees, or their level of engagement, and you don't want to. In the last century, manufacturing was a major industry in the United States, and most jobs included performing repetitive physical tasks. So management took the command and control approach. They told employees the exact way to do things, no deviations, no creativities. Employees were not permitted to think for themselves, and they were graded on how well they followed instruction.
That approach worked for decades, but it doesn't work anymore. Not even in manufacturing. Today, the employee you can control is the one you don't want working for you, because they'll have an expectation that you are somehow responsible for them. As we move further into a knowledge economy, it becomes ever more difficult to control employee behavior, and again, you don't want to. Too much control will feel like micromanagement, which is disengagement.
And what comes along with micromanagement is an endless series of got-a-minute interruptions, because employees will fear thinking for themselves. Today's mantra is management by engagement, not management by control or submission. You'll stay away from emotional traps when you understand your responsibility is to place employees in a system or environment where they are capable of success, and which allows for their engagement.
It is then their responsibility to succeed or be engaged. Controlling an employee is like being their parent. Do what I tell you to do and I'll take care of you. One of the easiest ways to avoid this trap, is by being clear about responsibilities. When people have a clarity about expectations, the skills to deliver on those expectations, and the tools they need, then the burden shifts to the employee to perform, to be engaged.
That's their responsibility. Remember this, control is dead, poof, gone. Today's mantra for success is no longer management by control, but rather management by engagement. You are not responsible for employees, but rather responsible to employees. You are responsible to put them in a system which allows them to be successful and engaged.
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- Exercising discretionary effort
- Attracting engaged employees
- Assessing the fit of employees
- Making onboarding more engaging
- Learning from new employees
- Provide opportunities for career growth
- Clarifying objectives
- Measuring engagement using surveys
- Being present for employees
- Driving engagement with fun