Management: Is exploiting your team in your long-term interest?
As a life and career coach I sometimes have clients who are unhappy at work. This can be for all kinds of reasons. They may be in a job that doesn’t give them an opportunity to use their knowledge, skills and experience and they feel frustrated. Or, perhaps, they have been promoted to a new role that is a stretch too far and they are struggling. Having too much to do and feeling stressed is a regular.. And of course we have all encountered difficult colleagues, to say nothing of unpleasant and demanding bosses. But there is a point when an unpleasant and demanding boss can slip over the boundary into something much worse; the boss becomes just plain cruel.
Most of us have read about the vile over-seers in the factories of the industrial revolution. Certainly, in the UK, employment law has made their kind of cruelty a thing of the past.
No, what I’m referring to here is a new kind of callousness!.
The economic conditions of the last few years have put great pressure on organizations. For many, the ability to survive in the market place has become the overriding priority. And the values of the organization become the values of their key employees.
Hard decisions have had to be made! It can be difficult to hang on to your finer feelings when you have to grapple daily with who to keep and who to let go. For some, feelings for the staff they manage have coarsened.
Treating the team as something to be exploited to ensure your personal survival sounds pretty outrageous when put into words. And there are lots of ways you can avoid facing up to what you are doing . But that is what I am hearing about from some of my clients.
People are being asked to cope with larger and larger workloads in often more unpleasant conditions. For example, what started out as poor but passable accommodation for a call center now houses as well much of company administration including HR. For some, natural light is becoming a luxury!
When you complain or ask for help, the manager or supervisor doesn’t want to know – they have their own problems keeping senior management happy. You risk finding yourself on next week’s hit list of people about to leave.
But it is short sighted really! Bad times will come to an end. When the good times come, what do you, oh mighty manager, think those employees are going to do? Well, they are not going to hang around when they have other opportunities, are they?
At the very least give your employees a hearing and if you can’t do anything right now, have the grace to apologize. And next time you are about demand something from an employee you know is outrageous, stop and think! Is the short term gain really in your long term interest?