In this day and age, most in business would agree that a firm, yet fair style of management will always trump the communist manager and their “my way or the highway approach.”
Yet there are still a ton of managers in every industry that expect their employees to stand at attention (‘heil the Bossman’) and do as their told, when their told, and do so exactly how they’re told to do it.
Here’s a few solid tips for those of you who have yet to cultivate an atmosphere of equality, understanding and actual teamwork in your business:
1. Be able to discern between lack of knowledge and lack of desire
It’s so easy to get bogged down by under-performers in the office. They frequently mess the simplest of projects up and/or never seem to deliver them on time. If you’re in sales, the side effects of such a worker can be far worse — and (financially) costly. Learn to quickly evaluate under-performers by offering and providing them all the training and coaching they need to succeed. Don’t waste time yelling or setting ultimatums.
*They either fill in their skill gaps with your help, prove they’re not a good learner, or that they just plain don’t give a humpity-hump. Either way, you waste less of your time and less of the company’s money on people who where never on board to begin with or just don’t have the mental fortitude the company needs in the first place.
2. Trust can lower a manager’s blood pressure
Perhaps the most famous of all micro-managers was the most famous communist to ever live — certainly the most ghastly: Adolf Hitler. His micromanagement probably cost him the war (thank goodness for that). He couldn’t manage every detail of his plan for world domination and you can’t micromanage every aspect of your company — no matter how big or small your responsibilities.
*Give your employees trust and they’ll work ten times harder to keep it; show them there’s nothing they can do to stop you meddling in every minute detail and they’ll soon give up and take on the role of a subservient — or they’ll quit (most likely for the winners in the group).
3. Encourage them to obliterate status quos
Please bear with me. For the quote I’m about to share might seem a bit stretched, but I like it so…
“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.”
Who cares that one of the greatest leaders in history, Winston Churchill, was talking about art instead of business? What he said still applies to being a good socialist manager just the same. Encourage your employees to challenge and if necessary, obliterate any common practices that aren’t working.
Using my Hitler reference from above, I’m sure there were many in his ranks who saw the flaws in his planning and leadership process. Once again, thank goodness he didn’t listen (or that they were too afraid of retribution to tell him in the first place). Just the same, you need to let your employees dissect, analyze and correct all the processes that are in place. This goes quintuple for service businesses: Your front-line employees are best positioned to see what customers are liking and what they’re not.
*Encourage respectful dissension if it improves things!
4. Make compassion contagious
This is a line from a post on Deepak Chopra’s blog. Not only can compassion be contagious, it helps build relationships too. The communist boss would give no measure if an employee suddenly became ill, or had a personal problem that was affecting their work. That employee would in turn feel very disconnected from said boss and probably not do as good a job from there on forward. Not to mention, they won’t give two shakes about you when upper management starts turning the screws on you, or the company you own finds its way into hard times.
The socialist boss understands that their compassion will never be forgotten and that once things improve, they’ll have an even deeper relationship with those who fall on hard times. That their understanding will be rewarded with devotion and hard work.
*When you’re compassionate, everyone else will also show compassion to their coworkers, leading to even more happiness — like a family if you will.
5. Be accountable and stop pointing fingers
This is one that many bosses around the world still have yet to learn. In fact, human beings in general need to give the blame game the eternal rest it truly deserves! This isn’t just about leading by example or walking in the same shoes you expect them to. It’s about placing the same importance on their expectations of you, as you do toward theirs.
- Following the same rules you’ve laid out for your employees (ie., showing up on time, taking the same time for breaks, adhering to dress codes, treating customers the same way, etc.) — and offering a legitimate explanation if you have to break said rules.
- Looking for your fault in situations where something has gotten out of hand — rather than looking for the bozo who screwed everything up.
- Addressing the team and apologizing when you make a mistake — rather than sticking your chin up in the air and pretending like nothing happened because they’re just a subordinate and you don’t have to justify yourself to them.
Follow these leadership tips toward cultivating a more socialist atmosphere in the workplace and you might just find a little extra time in your schedule to take a day or two off to play golf (or whatever) this year!
Let socialism rule in all aspects of your life!
Main Image Credit: Michigan Municipal League/Flickr