“Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You.”

(OK, I know this is small print; but if you persist, you might find it causes you to think a little deeper as you go about your day.)

Question: Is the admonition above:

1. The Golden Rule (and found in the Talmud, Koran, or the Analects of Confucius)

2. The wish of the people who report to you, or

3. Your wish as you think of your relationship with your boss.

Answer: 1,2 and 3

In no order, when it comes to mistakes managers and supervisors make, consider these:

· Failing to Define Goals and Confirm Understanding – There are few things as unnecessary as not knowing what is expected of you. It only takes boss and subordinate(s) talking with each other. It means making sure each other’s vocabulary lists match up…and, more importantly, making sure the definition lists match.

· Failure to Provide On-Going Feedback – Feedback can be looked at as a form of reinforcement. Supervisors can positively or negatively influence the likelihood of behaviors being repeated. Supervisors can punish unacceptable behaviors (but only if the receiver considers the response to be a punishment). They can even ignore behaviors and that is actually a form of reinforcement. Some bosses think feedback is a formality prompted by those wonderful folks in Human Resources. (Note: The Ken Blanchard Companies polled over 1,400 executives and failure to provide feedback was considered the most common mistake that bosses make.)

· Not Being Accessible – Frederick Taylor, the Father of Process Improvement, said problems in business are of two types: people and processes. Since people implement the processes it’s all about people, isn’t it? If you buy into Taylor’s perspective at all, how can bosses not pay attention, be available to the people who need access to them. And, by access I mean not just the proverbial token open-door policy; but eye contact and full attention and managing by walking around.

· “Hands-off” Empowerment – Some bosses misunderstand those two terms. Too often bosses are too removed from day-to-day events and in the process make themselves potentially victim to stilted information. Not uncommon is the empowerment of their supervisors to “work out their own problems”. Sometimes that works. What about when all parties choose not to agree on a resolution path. If it causes a problem to fester and grow, hands-off is not what you would choose “to have done unto you”.

· Uneven Treatment – The need for boundaries - Whoa, as a supervisor you’re encouraged to be approachable, accessible. Hands-on instead of hands-off, and frequently communicating feedback. And now I’m interjecting caution. Supervisors and Managers are asking for problems if they have “favorites” because tha t suggests there are un-favorites. Tough decisions call for evenness of decision making. One of the challenges of supervision is establishing boundaries and sticking to them.

This might be one of those “Looking at yourself in the mirror.” discussions. Try it.


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