It seems that everyone and their brother-in-law has something to say about how managers should behave in the workplace; how they should act, how they should deal with their employees, how to show leadership, integrity, etc.
And on the negative side, there's lots to read about as to how the bad practices of some managers are harming relations with employees and risking the business itself. Bad managers! Bad.
I've written on these subjects myself. It's a "target rich" subject with a lot to talk about.
The Other Side of the Desk
But what about the other side of the employer - employee relationship? It doesn't seem as if there's much being said on this score. Does anyone talk about what the employees themselves should be doing to hold up their end of the relationship?
That topic seems under-reported to me, as if all the employees have to do is to be there. As if it's solely up to the managers by themselves to set things right and keep them that way. There's got to be more here, don't you think?
Let's look at what management (IMHO) has a reasonable right of expectation from its employees - some do's and don'ts. Feel free to post this on the break room wall.
- Do the Job: This is the numero uno - giving the best of their ability in terms of job performance. What they do at work becomes an employee's statement of who they are as a person.
- Don't be a Clock Watcher: Whether it's showing up late or leaving early, or simply filling time until the day is over. Clock watchers are not performers. They take up space.
- Don't (Seriously) Bad Mouth the Company: Don't bite the hand that feeds you. If you don't like the way things are you have good-faith options. But simply damning the company at work or outside to friends and neighbors doesn't really accomplish anything.
- Don't take Short Cuts: Skipping a step here and there, playing fast and loose with quality, thoroughness and accuracy is not the way to do the job. There's an old phrase, "Good enough for government work." Your work should be better than "good enough." Take a little pride in it.
- Do not Steal: Don't take paper, pencils, staples, etc. from the office. Even if you think that "everyone else is doing it." It's petty and you should be above that.
- Play Well with Others: Be a team player, the fellow who helps out and collaborates with others. Becoming part of something raises everyone involved.
- Have the Right Attitude: Feeling or acting like "it's just a job" is usually the first step toward becoming a minimalist employee, which means doing the least that you can get away with without criticism.
- Don't Act as though They Owe You: Most of us are not doing our employers a favor by working there. The "I work - you pay" relationship presumes that you did the work first. The company doesn't owe you pay increases just because it's been 12 months. Focus on getting what you deserve for what you have contributed.
Not a long list, is it? Not too demanding; offers a bit of common sense and isn't unreasonable. If you're a manager, wouldn't you want your team to be comprised of employees who subscribe to this list?
This list could continue, of course. Reflecting on your own organization you might drop a few of these and add others. The point is, management has a right of reasonable expectation when they employ someone and pay them a fair wage.
This is not to say that managers won't continue to face criticism and constructive suggestions about how to do a better job. They should. But they're not alone at work.
If both parties in the employer - employee relationship take their respective responsibilities to heart the work environment will improve. If instead you focus your attention on the behaviors of only one side of the coin it will not.
Chuck Csizmar CCP is founder and Principal of CMC Compensation Group, providing global compensation consulting services to a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations. He is also associated with several HR Consulting firms as a contributing consultant. Chuck is a broad based subject matter expert with a specialty in international and expatriate compensation. He lives in Central Florida (near The Mouse) and enjoys growing fruit and managing (?) a clowder of cats.
Creative Commons image, "Two Sides of the Same Coin," by Paul H