War On Talent

A few months back, we shared some of the scariest tasks managers face in the workplace. This month and next, we’re going to add to the list here on the blog, with six more management responsibilities that people tend to avoid. To start, let’s recap the first batch:

  • Terminating an Employee
  • Laying Off an Employee
  • Conflict
  • Performance Reviews
  • Reporting Poor Performance to Another Manager
  • Direct Conflicts Between Two Employees

Today, we have 3 more we believe warrant a look:

  1. Withholding Confidential Information

At times, managers will receive information from their employer they cannot share with direct reports. This can include a pending layoff or the introduction of a new product or service that may directly affect jobs or work flow. And while it may be tempting to spill the beans, confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of management.

What makes this task so important? When a manager shares confidential information, they risk the following:

  • Loss of trust: If an employee doesn’t feel they can safely confide in their superior, they won’t. A breakdown in communication between a manager and their employees can negatively affect the overall organization.
  • Loss of productivity: Prematurely sharing information of a certain nature can have an impact on the workflow and performance of the department the manager oversees.
  • A lasting impact: Sharing confidential information is unprofessional, and can have lasting effects on a manager’s reputation.
  1. Disagreeing with a Superior

The very idea of standing up to your boss may send you into a fright. But a manager is likely to find themselves in this situation, either to uphold the integrity of their work, or to support their team.

If a manager disagrees with their superior, they should start by asking themselves this question:

Do you work for someone who likes “yes people” or one who doesn’t?

If the superior likes “yes people” try the following:

  • Help them save face: This type of boss doesn’t enjoy looking bad, so it’s best to use constructive and thoughtful language when addressing the concern.
  • Look elsewhere: Consider other reasons that may be causing the situation and redirect some of the criticism. This may temper their reaction and move things in a positive direction.

If the superior does not like “yes people” this may be effective:

  • Advocate for others: This type of boss will most likely be more open to criticism, so a manager may feel their voice is already heard. However, they should continue to advocate for their team members, even if they side with their superior on a matter.
  • Consider management reputation: If a legitimate disagreement from within the organization is dismissed, it can hurt the reputation of management on various levels.
  1. Disciplining an Employee

When an employee isn’t meeting expectations, a manager has a responsibility to take action. The matter at hand can vary from poor work performance, to misconduct in the workplace. Regardless, it’s important to establish the fact that there are consequences.

Disciplining an employee is certainly not a manager’s favorite activity, but just like with conflict resolution, it can have positive benefits on the organization. These include:

  • A healthy culture: When employees know what to expect from a manager, including where they draw the line, the organization will function better as a whole.
  • Respect for others: If a manager avoids a disciplinary issue, other employees affected by the issue may feel they don’t matter. On the other hand, if a team member’s actions are handled with swift and clear consequences, it sends a message to the entire team. This can lead to mutual respect.
  • Clear expectations: Whether they want to admit it or not, people thrive on structure and discipline. By handling misconduct according to set parameters, it sends a message to the whole team that can boost both morale and performance.

Just like the first list, the tasks above may not be a manager’s favorite, but knowing how to approach them when they arise can make all the difference. Stay tuned next month for the final three scariest tasks managers face in the workplace.

Here at Mulling Corporation, we offer custom executive coaching programs that help people and organizations develop strong leadership skills to succeed. For more details, visit our website at mulli.wpengine.com.

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