“Familiarity breeds contempt!” This is an old adage that has driven fear into many a manager who’ll take great pains to maintain the wall of partition between manager and subordinate. This of course is necessary for many obvious reasons - not excluding the effective execution of the job through clearly defined roles. But can it be taken beyond its necessary limits until it proves to be counterproductive? Does civility compromise authority?
It is no secret that too many workers would in a heartbeat slack off on the job if they knew there was no way that they would face any penalty – even if this were found out. Thankfully though, there are those who have a healthy work ethic, and will always take the high road of decency and honesty. Some managers are not interested to unduly expose themselves to this unconscionable abuse and leave no room for a worker to guess whether or not consequences will be forthcoming if they perform below par. This is sometimes taken to the point where they are callous, curt, and crass. Is this an effective method of management; might there be another way?
This may work like a charm to achieve set targets. Of course though, high worker morale is clearly not one of those targets. If it were, this approach would make for a dismal failure. A harsh manager is more often than not feared as opposed to being favoured (liked). Of course, the smug and egocentric manager thrives on being a terror.
Treat Workers as Individuals not Machines
Another approach is to see workers as more than mere machines that turn out products; they are rather seen and treated as individuals who have legitimate claims for respect, sensitivity, and affirmation. This leader shares the vision, sets goals and facilitates each subordinate in establishing individual objectives. Points of evaluation are clearly articulated; the worker knows exactly what is at stake and what he/she must do, and also knows the consequences if targets are not met. The leader is always at hand – either to affirm or guide a worker through a difficult patch. All in all, the good leader will do his/her best to facilitate an environment that is conducive to work and adequately resourced. The aim is to firstly make the worker happy, satisfied and motivated. At length the worker should become a self-motivated leader who takes ownership of the job.
The leader outlined above is not proof to having workers who’ll want to slack off, but the transparency of this leadership style makes it difficult for that to occur. It also lightens the burden of telling a worker: “You’re not meeting your target.” The worker already knows and will also know that the organization cannot suffer for his or her failings; something has to change.
Did you know that a worker who likes his/her boss is more likely to go beyond the call of duty than a worker who fears his/her boss? One way to achieve is to be civil with your subordinates.