This personal experience is shared by a fellow HR colleague to show the impact a poor manager can have on their people:
“I remember when I left my first HR job.
I’d started a role with much enthusiasm and a couple of months later started my professional HR qualification. The manager who recruited me brought in a new manager underneath them and this new person was my direct boss when I arrived.
I’d never met them, they started the same day as me. Over the next 6 months, I experienced some valuable lessons about management, both the art of people management and the art of managing yourself. Those lessons have stuck with me over my career and I wanted to share them in this post.
1. Poor managers show favouritism
I joined this company on the same day as a female colleague. We were both brought in to do the same job but quickly my female colleague was moved onto more ‘interesting’ and value adding work, while I continued with day-to-day administration. Please hear me correctly, I’m not suggesting that tasks shouldn’t be given to those most suited to them, but rather that managers should not let favouritism cloud their judgement. I wasn’t given the opportunity to show I could deliver more and was actually left with the tasks that I least excelled in.
2. Poor managers don't give feedback... until it's too late
As with everyone, there are some tasks that I am not the best at. Administration is one of these tasks for me, it’s not my natural strength but I’ve worked hard at it and am so much better at it than I was 20 years ago. It’s only when you see someone who is naturally good at it that you can see how far you have to develop in it!
The manager I mentioned earlier seemed to store up any mistakes I had made and save them to share every six months in my performance review meetings. It was so long after they had happened (and many were so small), that I felt helpless to be able to make any changes or learn from my mistakes. It hugely affected my confidence.
3. Poor managers create division
My confidence had already been impacted….so when my old manager started whispering to others and glanced over in my direction while they were doing it, it really affected me…I started to think some of my colleagues felt the same as my manager.
4. Poor managers lack integrity
I remember a time, just before I left, when I found out my manager had created something to try and mislead others about the hours I was working. I wasn’t given the time or opportunity to show my actual timesheets and in fact the number of hours over I had worked and had to lose at the end of every month. For me, this was the final straw….the relationship had completely broken down and felt beyond repair.
What have I learned from this?
The main lessons I have learned from this are both personal and professional.
1. We need to create a supportive culture
I came into the workplace as a young and naive person. I assumed that I would be supported to develop my newly-learned skills and unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Creating a positive culture and allowing someone to develop and nurture their skills at the start of their career is essential if we want to grow the talent of the future. I learned my lessons the hard way and it was a good 10 years before I regained my confidence to start taking risks again.
2. We need to train managers
Too many managers in the UK are promoted on the grounds of their technical excellence, or their self-marketing and not on their competence as people managers. If you have never managed people before, where do you start? What are we doing to help managers develop and grow in their roles?
3. Character is key
I am increasingly convinced that character, and in particular integrity, are critical attributes for creating strong teams. Nothing is more destructive to team morale than a manager who lacks integrity and is only there to advance themselves.
4. Provide timely feedback
Done in the right way, constructive and timely feedback is crucial to the success of an team and an organisation. It should not be given as a stick to beat someone with but as a supportive mechanism to help them develop and grow. Sure, there will be times where the same feedback has to be given repeatedly to the same individual. If you have given them the necessary training and / or support needed and they still haven’t shown an improvement, then it will need managing closely……but give someone the chance to improve (caveat: unless it’s Gross Misconduct!).
Fast forward to today, I am much more self-aware, know my strengths and accept my weaknesses.
I’ve learnt over time which types of position and work I am best suited to and have focused my energies on developing my skills in these areas.
I’ve also met others who worked for the same manager as I did all those years ago and they shared they had the same experiences as me. While I am saddened to continue to hear people being negatively impacted by poor managers, it has made me more determined to help others see the importance of investing in management development and creating a supportive culture for teams.”
At Cornerstone, we can help you design the right training programme for your managers, advise on how to shift your culture and coach and support existing managers to develop and grow.
If you would like to explore what we can offer in terms of management development and coaching, contact us on 07908 875146 for a no-obligation chat or click the contact us button below.