Join the RFS Newsletter

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Small Biz Thoughts, 5716 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA, 95819, http://www.smallbizthoughts.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Advice to Employees – and What It Means to Managers

Advice to Employees - and What It Means to Managers
Advice to Employees - and What It Means to Managers

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

As I go through my days and weeks, I talk to a lot of people. Most, I admit, are self-employed or the owners and managers of small companies.

But, of course, I also talk to a lot of “normal” people who have jobs and work for someone else. They work for those owners and managers I just mentioned. In fact, way back when I was young and could carry a small child around all day without complaining, I used to be a “normal” person and have a real job.

Along my journey I have received a lot of advice about work, and given a bit of it in return.

More and more, I find people who are completely overwhelmed with their jobs. They are stressed out by bosses who are, in turn, stressed out. Everyone is being asked to work more, work harder, and never be unavailable to the boss. Here are a few pieces of advice I have given to employees over the years (my employees as well as friends who are employees). I have also included some notes about what this advice means to their bosses/managers.

Complaint: Massive pressure to work more and never take time off.

Advice: You are entitled to work a limited number of hours, and know what that is. It might be forty hours a week. It might even be fifty. If the boss expects you to work sixty or seventy, that is completely unreasonable.

Related advice: If your boss treats you like a machine, they don’t really care about you. As a result, you can’t care more about the company than the company cares about you.

Related advice: No one is irreplaceable. Irreplaceable people retire, quit, or die every single day. You really don’t have to stick with this job out of fear that the work “won’t get done.”

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You were looking for work when you found this job. You can look for work again.

What this means for the boss:
If you over-work people and treat them as objects instead of humans, you will lose them. You will lose all the money you’ve put into training them. You will lose the productivity that comes with experience.

In addition, over-worked workers are less productive and sick more often. There’s all kinds of research to back this up. The fact that you treat people like tools reflects a belief that they need you more than you need them. Over time, that will never be the case.

The only thing that keeps over-worked and abused workers on the job is their lack of self-confidence that they will get another job. But there’s a limit to that. With enough pain for enough time, everyone reaches the point where they cannot continue in a job they hate.

When someone quits, you are very likely to spend money finding a replacement. You are also likely to offer more money than you were paying before. Consider how you can spend your resources on the employees you’ve already trained.

Complaint: There’s literally more work than can ever be done. We are under-funded and under-staffed.

Advice: The company will always fund based on priorities. So, if you don’t have enough time or people to accomplish the task at hand, that’s not your problem. No matter how much pressure you get from the boss, remember that under-funded projects are simply not high priority.

Related advice: If your company cannot afford to do the job they are being paid to do, they probably have a bad business model and the situation will only get worse, not better.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You can’t care more about the job than the company does.

What this means for the boss:
You really do finance your priorities. Notice how the wallet opens when something important breaks? If you’re a manager and not the owner, you may be under the same pressures. No matter what, if you are over-promising and under-delivering, you have a broken system.

Employees tend, as a rule, to care a great deal about their jobs. We have seen this in all jobs, at all levels. It’s actually quite amazing how much people care about their jobs and want to do a good job.

As a result, employees can feel a huge amount of pressure when they are asked to do more work that is humanly possible. Again, this is in all jobs, from overworked restaurant employees, to middle managers in Fortune 500 companies, to super-well-paid programmers in Silicon Valley.

Granted, you should always have more work than you can do. Backlog is just another name for work coming in the door. When you have no backlog, you are headed for bankruptcy. But you can manage people without making them feel that they are responsible for ALL of the backlog.

One great way to do this is to set some reasonable expectations, including some “stretch” goals. That way, each employee feels responsible for (for example) ten-somethings per day instead of all 10,000 somethings in the pipeline.

This also requires some faith from management that people are good, qualified to do the job, and motivated to do a good job. All of these factors are controllable by management. You hire good people, or not. You train people well, or not. You help employees to fee worthwhile, or not.

Complaint: It’s a toxic work environment. People call in sick all the time. The managers yell at people and treat them like dirt. Everyone is stressed out all the time.

Advice: Quit. Seriously. Honestly. You deserve better, and you WILL find another job.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • The single greatest cause of entrepreneurship is horrible bosses.

What this means for the boss:
Whether you’re the owner or a manager, a bad work environment is always bad for business.

Yes, I know that some people have good luck with bad behavior. But it’s always short-lived. I will never forget the last real job I had, before I quit and became a consultant. My boss was a horrible boss – and a horrible human being. She treated employees like garbage. And, it turns out, all the managers up the corporate chain were the same way. They created a toxic environment form the top down.

Unfortunately, this is a true epidemic in America, and has been for a long time.

That company lost money and market share year after year. They are still in business, but literally one percent of the size they were twenty years ago. They will soon cease to exist. Some of that’s due to responding incorrectly to an evolving marketplace.

But – and this is important – their toxic management style made it impossible to properly respond to the marketplace. They created an environment in which people were overworked, overwhelmed, and afraid to question decisions from the top down. As a result, ideas that might have saved the company were never expressed. Or, in some cases, those ideas were taken outside the company to create competition for the company.

There’s great truth in the saying, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” If your company has mean-spirited, nasty people as managers, that will echo all through your company. If you do not respect employees, that will affect your success. If you treat employees like garbage, they will treat your company like garbage.

One of my Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery is that we only work with people we like. That includes employees, managers, clients, vendors, distributors, and outsourced personnel. Everyone. And why do we “like” all those people? For the same reason anyone likes another: They treat people with respect. They’re enjoyable to be around. They behave the way we would like to be treated.

As a result, we all (employees, managers, suppliers, etc.) treat each other well. We’re all just a little bit happier. We are free to bring up ideas, even though they might not be adopted. We’re also all (us, our clients, our outsourced resources, etc.) allowed to make mistakes. We are understanding and forgiving.

— — —

Many years ago – like twenty years ago – I was in a class where people were talking about their jobs. One person started out with normal chatter about her job, but gradually broke down and started crying because she felt totally trapped in a job that she hated. She was yelled at every day, there was too much work, and no end in site.

It was truly, truly sad. But immediately, other people started encouraging her to quit. We were all pretty much total strangers to one another. But within fifteen minutes, everyone else in that room was encouraging her. Someone offered to help her write a resume. Several others offered to give feedback or sit in on practice interviews. A group of strangers became an impromptu support group.

If you’re an employee in a horrible job: Have faith. No matter what the economy is doing, you WILL find a job you don’t hate. No one should go to work and feel stressed out every single day. And there are many, many places to find support. You just need to start asking.

If you’re an owner or manager: Remember that your employees are human. And you need the faith to believe that great employees are the greatest asset your company will ever have. A few of those “great” employees will be found. All the rest can be made with good management. People want to love their jobs. It’s natural. They want good, solid jobs that they enjoy going to. And when they find that, they’ll never want to quit.

On a personal note, I am sad to say that this is still an issue in the world today and shows no sign of letting up. Hang in there. Do YOUR part to make the work world a better place!

Feedback welcome.

馃檪

As I go through my days and weeks, I talk to a lot of people. Most, I admit, are self-employed or the owners and managers of small companies.

But, of course, I also talk to a lot of “normal” people who have jobs and work for someone else. They work for those owners and managers I just mentioned. In fact, way back when I was young and could carry a small child through the State Fairgrounds all day without complaining, I used to be a “normal” person and have a real job.

Along my journal I have received a lot of advice, and given a bit of it in return.

More and more, I find people who are completely overwhelmed with their jobs. They are stressed out by bosses who are, in turn, stressed out. Everyone is being asked to work more, work harder, and never be unavailable to the boss.

Here are a few pieces of advice I have give to employees over the years (my employees as well as friends who are employees). I have also included some notes about what this advice means to their bosses/managers.

Complaint: Massive pressure to work more and never take time off.

Advice: You are entitled to work a limited number of hours, and know what that is. It might be forty hours a week. It might even be fifty. If the boss expects you to work sixty or seventy, that is completely unreasonable.

Related advice: If you boss treats you like a machine, they don’t really care about you. As a result, you can’t care more about the company than the company cares about you.

Related advice: No one is irreplaceable. Irreplaceable people retire, quit, or die every single day. You really don’t have to stick with this job out of fear that the work “won’t get done.”

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You were looking for work when you found this job. You can look for work again.

What this means for the boss:
If you over-work people and treat them as objects instead of humans, you will lose them. You will lose all the money you’ve put into training them. You will lose the productivity that comes with experience.

In addition, over-worked workers are less productive and sick more often. There’s all kinds of research to back this up. The fact that you treat people like tools reflects a belief that they need you more than you need them. Over time, that will never be the case.

The only thing that keeps over-worked and abused workers on the job is their lack of self-confidence that they will get another job. But there’s a limit to that. With enough pain for enough time, everyone reaches the point where they cannot continue in a job they hate.

When someone quits, you are very likely to spend money finding a replacement. You are also likely to offer more money than you were paying before. Consider how you can spend your resources on the employees you’ve already trained.

Complaint: There’s literally more work than can ever be done. We are under-funded and under-staffed.

Advice: The company will always fund based on priorities. So, if you don’t have enough time or people to accomplish the task at hand, that’s not your problem. No matter how much pressure you get from the boss, remember that under-funded projects are simply not high priority.

Related advice: If your company cannot afford to do the job they are being paid to do, they probably have a bad business model and the situation will only get worse, not better.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You can’t care more about the job than the company does.

What this means for the boss:
You really do finance your priorities. Notice how the wallet opens when something important breaks? If you’re a manager and not the owner, you may be under the same pressures. No matter what, if you are over-promising and under-delivering, you have a broken system.

Employees tend, as a rule, to care a great deal about their jobs. We have seen this in all jobs, at all levels. It’s actually quite amazing how much people care about their jobs and want to do a good job.

As a result, employees can feel a huge amount of pressure when they are asked to do more work that is humanly possible. Again, this is in all jobs, from overworked restaurant employees to middle managers in Fortume 500 companies, to super-well-paid programmers in Silicon Valley.

Granted, you should always have more work than you can do. Backlog is just another name for work coming in the door. When you have no backlog, you are headed for bankruptcy. But you can manage people without making them feel that they are responsible for ALL of the backlog.

One great way to do this is to set some reasonable expectations, including some “stretch” goals. That way, each employee feels responsible for (for example) ten-somethings per day instead of all 10,000 somethings in the pipeline.

This also requires some faith from management that people are good, qualified to do the job, and motivated to do a good job. All of these factors are controllable by management. You hire good people, or not. You train people well, or not. You help employees to fee worthwhile, or not.

Complaint: It’s a toxic work environment. People call in sick all the time. The managers yell at people and treat them like dirt. Everyone is stressed out all the time.

Advice: Quit. Seriously. Honestly. You deserve better, and you WILL find another job.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • The single greatest cause of entrepreneurship is horrible bosses.

What this means for the boss:
Whether you’re the owner or a manager, a bad work environment is always bad for business.

Yes, I know that some people have good luck with bad behavior. But it’s always short-lived. I will never forget the last real job I had, before I quite and became a consultant. My boss was a horrible boss – and a horrible human being. She treated employees like garbage. And, it turns out, all the managers up the corporate chain were the same way. They created a toxic environment form the top down.

Unfortunately, this is a true epidemic in America, and has been for a long time.

That company lost money and market share year after year. They are still in business, but literally one percent of the size they were twenty years ago. They will soon cease to exist. Some of that’s due to responding in correctly to an evolving marketplace.

But – and this is important – their toxic management style made it impossible to properly respond to the marketplace. They created an environment in which people were overworked, overwhelmed, and afraid to question decisions from the top down. As a result, ideas that might have saved the company were never expressed. Or, in some cases, those ideas were taken outside the company to create competition for the company.

There’s great truth in the saying, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” If your company has mean-spirited, nasty people as managers, that will echo all through your company. If you do not respect employees, that will affect your success. If you treat employees like garbage, they will treat your company like garbage.

One of my Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery is that we only work with people we like. That includes employees, managers, clients, vendors, distributors, and outsourced personnel. Everyone. And why do we “like” all those people? For the same reason anyone likes another: They treat people with respect. They’re nice people. They behave the way we would like to be treated.

As a result, we all (employees, managers, suppliers, etc.) treat each other well. We’re all just a little bit happier. We are free to bring up ideas, even though they might not be adopted. We’re also all (us, our clients, our outsourced resources, etc.) allowed to make mistakes. We are understanding and forgiving.

Many years ago – like twenty years ago – I was in a class where people were talking about their jobs. One person started out with normal chatter about her job, but gradually broke down and started crying because she felt totally trapped in a job that she hated. She was yelled at every day, there was too much work, and no end in site.

It was truly, truly sad. But immediately, other people started encouraging her to quit. We were all pretty much total strangers to one another. But within fifteen minutes, everyone else in that room was encouraging her. Someone offered to help her write a resume. Several others offered to give feedback or sit in on practice interviews. A group of strangers became an impromptu support group.

If you’re an employee in a horrible job: Have faith. No matter what the economy is doing, you WILL find a job you don’t hate. No one should go to work and feel stressed out every single day. And there are many, many places to find support. You just need to start asking.

If you’re an owner or manager: Remember that your employees are human. And you need the faith to believe that great employees are the greatest asset your company will ever have. A few of those “great” employees will be found. All the rest can be made with good management. People want to love their jobs. It’s natural. They want good, solid jobs that they enjoy going to. And when they find that, they’ll never want to quit.

On a personal note, I am sad to say that this is still an issue in the world today and shows no sign of letting up. Hang in there. Do YOUR part to make the work world a better place!

Feedback welcome.

馃檪

As I go through my days and weeks, I talk to a lot of people. Most, I admit, are self-employed or the owners and managers of small companies.

But, of course, I also talk to a lot of “normal” people who have jobs and work for someone else. They work for those owners and managers I just mentioned. In fact, way back when I was young and could carry a small child through the State Fairgrounds all day without complaining, I used to be a “normal” person and have a real job.

Along my journal I have received a lot of advice, and given a bit of it in return.

More and more, I find people who are completely overwhelmed with their jobs. They are stressed out by bosses who are, in turn, stressed out. Everyone is being asked to work more, work harder, and never be unavailable to the boss.

Here are a few pieces of advice I have give to employees over the years (my employees as well as friends who are employees). I have also included some notes about what this advice means to their bosses/managers.

Complaint: Massive pressure to work more and never take time off.

Advice: You are entitled to work a limited number of hours, and know what that is. It might be forty hours a week. It might even be fifty. If the boss expects you to work sixty or seventy, that is completely unreasonable.

Related advice: If you boss treats you like a machine, they don’t really care about you. As a result, you can’t care more about the company than the company cares about you.

Related advice: No one is irreplaceable. Irreplaceable people retire, quit, or die every single day. You really don’t have to stick with this job out of fear that the work “won’t get done.”

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You were looking for work when you found this job. You can look for work again.

What this means for the boss:
If you over-work people and treat them as objects instead of humans, you will lose them. You will lose all the money you’ve put into training them. You will lose the productivity that comes with experience.

In addition, over-worked workers are less productive and sick more often. There’s all kinds of research to back this up. The fact that you treat people like tools reflects a belief that they need you more than you need them. Over time, that will never be the case.

The only thing that keeps over-worked and abused workers on the job is their lack of self-confidence that they will get another job. But there’s a limit to that. With enough pain for enough time, everyone reaches the point where they cannot continue in a job they hate.

When someone quits, you are very likely to spend money finding a replacement. You are also likely to offer more money than you were paying before. Consider how you can spend your resources on the employees you’ve already trained.

Complaint: There’s literally more work than can ever be done. We are under-funded and under-staffed.

Advice: The company will always fund based on priorities. So, if you don’t have enough time or people to accomplish the task at hand, that’s not your problem. No matter how much pressure you get from the boss, remember that under-funded projects are simply not high priority.

Related advice: If your company cannot afford to do the job they are being paid to do, they probably have a bad business model and the situation will only get worse, not better.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • You can’t care more about the job than the company does.

What this means for the boss:
You really do finance your priorities. Notice how the wallet opens when something important breaks? If you’re a manager and not the owner, you may be under the same pressures. No matter what, if you are over-promising and under-delivering, you have a broken system.

Employees tend, as a rule, to care a great deal about their jobs. We have seen this in all jobs, at all levels. It’s actually quite amazing how much people care about their jobs and want to do a good job.

As a result, employees can feel a huge amount of pressure when they are asked to do more work that is humanly possible. Again, this is in all jobs, from overworked restaurant employees to middle managers in Fortume 500 companies, to super-well-paid programmers in Silicon Valley.

Granted, you should always have more work than you can do. Backlog is just another name for work coming in the door. When you have no backlog, you are headed for bankruptcy. But you can manage people without making them feel that they are responsible for ALL of the backlog.

One great way to do this is to set some reasonable expectations, including some “stretch” goals. That way, each employee feels responsible for (for example) ten-somethings per day instead of all 10,000 somethings in the pipeline.

This also requires some faith from management that people are good, qualified to do the job, and motivated to do a good job. All of these factors are controllable by management. You hire good people, or not. You train people well, or not. You help employees to fee worthwhile, or not.

Complaint: It’s a toxic work environment. People call in sick all the time. The managers yell at people and treat them like dirt. Everyone is stressed out all the time.

Advice: Quit. Seriously. Honestly. You deserve better, and you WILL find another job.

Bonus advice that you might put on a button or bumper sticker:

  • The single greatest cause of entrepreneurship is horrible bosses.

What this means for the boss:
Whether you’re the owner or a manager, a bad work environment is always bad for business.

Yes, I know that some people have good luck with bad behavior. But it’s always short-lived. I will never forget the last real job I had, before I quite and became a consultant. My boss was a horrible boss – and a horrible human being. She treated employees like garbage. And, it turns out, all the managers up the corporate chain were the same way. They created a toxic environment form the top down.

Unfortunately, this is a true epidemic in America, and has been for a long time.

That company lost money and market share year after year. They are still in business, but literally one percent of the size they were twenty years ago. They will soon cease to exist. Some of that’s due to responding in correctly to an evolving marketplace.

But – and this is important – their toxic management style made it impossible to properly respond to the marketplace. They created an environment in which people were overworked, overwhelmed, and afraid to question decisions from the top down. As a result, ideas that might have saved the company were never expressed. Or, in some cases, those ideas were taken outside the company to create competition for the company.

There’s great truth in the saying, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” If your company has mean-spirited, nasty people as managers, that will echo all through your company. If you do not respect employees, that will affect your success. If you treat employees like garbage, they will treat your company like garbage.

One of my Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery is that we only work with people we like. That includes employees, managers, clients, vendors, distributors, and outsourced personnel. Everyone. And why do we “like” all those people? For the same reason anyone likes another: They treat people with respect. They’re nice people. They behave the way we would like to be treated.

As a result, we all (employees, managers, suppliers, etc.) treat each other well. We’re all just a little bit happier. We are free to bring up ideas, even though they might not be adopted. We’re also all (us, our clients, our outsourced resources, etc.) allowed to make mistakes. We are understanding and forgiving.

Many years ago – like twenty years ago – I was in a class where people were talking about their jobs. One person started out with normal chatter about her job, but gradually broke down and started crying because she felt totally trapped in a job that she hated. She was yelled at every day, there was too much work, and no end in site.

It was truly, truly sad. But immediately, other people started encouraging her to quit. We were all pretty much total strangers to one another. But within fifteen minutes, everyone else in that room was encouraging her. Someone offered to help her write a resume. Several others offered to give feedback or sit in on practice interviews. A group of strangers became an impromptu support group.

If you’re an employee in a horrible job: Have faith. No matter what the economy is doing, you WILL find a job you don’t hate. No one should go to work and feel stressed out every single day. And there are many, many places to find support. You just need to start asking.

If you’re an owner or manager: Remember that your employees are human. And you need the faith to believe that great employees are the greatest asset your company will ever have. A few of those “great” employees will be found. All the rest can be made with good management. People want to love their jobs. It’s natural. They want good, solid jobs that they enjoy going to. And when they find that, they’ll never want to quit.

On a personal note, I am sad to say that this is still an issue in the world today and shows no sign of letting up. Hang in there. Do YOUR part to make the work world a better place!

Feedback welcome.

馃檪

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Karl W. Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk

Author of Relax Focus Succeed and 19 more books.

Karl W. Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk

Author of Relax Focus Succeed and 19 more books.

Join the Newsletter

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Small Biz Thoughts, 5716 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA, 95819, http://www.smallbizthoughts.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Small Biz Thoughts, 5716 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA, 95819, http://www.smallbizthoughts.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

RFS on YouTube

Most Recent

All articles loaded
No more articles to load
Relax Focus Succeed Book

Get your copy of
Relax Focus Succeed

for just $19.95