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Do employees like me? And other agonizing questions

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in The Savvy Office Manager

As a manager, you usually have the answers to employees’ questions. But who will answer yours? Here are the answers to six questions that might be keeping you up at night:

1. Do employees like me?

Why do you care? You’re not there to be liked. You’re there to be respected. Because when employees respect your authority, they will get their jobs done.

2. Am I treating everyone equally?

Let’s hope not. Don’t confuse fairly with equally. Employees need to be treated fairly when it comes to employment laws. But for as many personalities you’re dealing with, equal treatment won’t work. Some employees need a stern command, others need an encouraging word. And a few do their best when they’re outright challenged.

3. Does upper management support me?

For your sake, they better. Once employees realize they can do an end run around you, your authority collapses and you are no longer an effective manager. All it takes is one incidence of your boss allowing a subordinate to undermine you. Then the floodgates will open.

4. Do I have enough resources to accomplish my goals?

No. Who does? You can always use a bigger budget, more bodies and better equipment. Truth is, you still need to accomplish those goals with what you have. You’re the boss. You need to make it work.

5. How do I get employees to embrace change that even I don’t want?

The largest changes come from a source higher than your planner book. And you’re on board, aren’t you? Your job is to implement the change and help your staff deal with it. For many workers, change is frightening as it disrupts their familiar routines and threatens to expose their weaknesses. Explain the move and the reasons. Give employees plenty of time to adjust. For those still reluctant, you may have to inform them of a bigger change if they don’t acquiesce—unemployment.

6. How will I know if I’m not doing a good job?

Oddly, it won’t come from your bosses first. You’ll see the signs out on the floor: a drop in employees’ energy level, a decrease in their efforts, and an uptick in absenteeism and resignations. You’ll even hear the whispers of discontent through the grapevine. You’ve been served first notice. When the second notice comes from above you, you’re in trouble.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley March 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm

The points in the article are True, all true. Why do people even ask those questions anymore? Management is about being effective, not liked. If you want to be liked, find a friend – outside of work.

There is an element of decency that supersedes any other quality in good managers. Treat people with respect and figure out how elicit the desired behaviour but don’t get too caught up in how employees perceive you; a job is a job is a job, and when you’re at work, it’s time to do YOUR job.

Every cog serves a purpose. Every wheel needs to be greased periodically. Learn that, and managing people gets way easier.


Sam W March 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I think this article gets to the reality of managing… we’re all torn between being liked and getting things done, and in the end, getting things done is how so many people keep their jobs and get ahead. I used to wonder why my managers couldn’t be more like concerned friends, and then I became one and it was a whole different ball game. Too many pressures from above to be delicate sometimes.


Judy March 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hmm, I really don’t like the tone of this article. It comes across as very conceited and condescending, not to mention old-fashioned and bureaucratic. Not the new way of managing, I wouldn’t think.


Rebecca@TakeThisJobOrShoveIt.com March 16, 2014 at 2:02 am

If you’re the manager, supervisor or the boss you can simply tell if your staffs or employees like you through observation. Observe their behavior towards their task, how they deal with you and how they treat other coworkers.


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