Categories: Commentary

Managing people well can achieve goals

I have spent a lifetime observing the human condition, especially as it relates to people working in businesses. In the last ten years, my observations have concluded that senior management in most companies has been so focused on technology and communication that they have completely lost sight of their main purpose, which is managing.

On a daily basis, I end up dealing with countless poor souls who entered their present job with absolutely no training, and no exposure to the values and cultures of the company they work for. As if this isn’t bad enough, the managers responsible for managing these people also have no training, or skills on how to manage.

Employees do not know the goals of the company, or whether the company is achieving these goals. These employees have no personal goals to achieve within the company, there are no standards for their performance, and no measurements of this performance are ever done.

Without question, the managing of human beings is the most difficult task any manager is ever faced with – people are incredibly complex. In most cases, what they learn is wrong. Asking for guidance from any of the company’s other managers is pointless, as none of these managers have any training either. Instead, most individuals end up mimicking their favourite actors. For every John Wayne barking out orders, there are equal numbers of Robin Williams trying to make everyone happy. For every Vivien Leigh scheming in the background, there is a Doris Day hoping that constant smiling will soothe the most savage situation. Of course this doesn’t work. I do admire those employees who at least attempt to figure out how to manage people.

I find so many employees, in so many companies, who hate the company they work for, hate their jobs, hate their managers, and, in a certain way, also hate themselves. This is an incredible tragedy. Employees starting a new job are usually excited, motivated and anxious to learn. In all my years, I cannot remember meeting a new employee who really wanted to do a bad job. Rather, they wanted to do well, but years of incompetent management has killed their motivation, ruined their desire to learn, destroyed their spirit, and turned them into mindless robots.

Take this example: I had a review with a customer care centre, and during my research, I discovered that management had no idea how employees were performing. After operating some data collection, the managers were stunned to realize that some customer care operators were handling more than 800 cases a month, while others were handling fewer than 100. What dumbfounded me was the fact that not one single manager had ever thought about whether they should be evaluating how their employees were doing. A manager this incompetent should be fired, however every other manager in this company appeared just as incompetent. This suggests to me that senior management should be fired instead.

Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.

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