Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Why would an employee go to his manager with “life issues?”

A manager from the heart invests a great deal of time, effort, money, trust, and self in each individual.  Of course, this makes sense because a company’s greatest asset requires TLC and proper servicing.  I find it interesting that a company will spend a great deal of time and money servicing its hard assets, and on the other hand, essentially neglect its people.

I’ve had managers tell me that if one of their employees needs “servicing,” then that’s what HR is there for.  I have to tell them HR is a great resource, but in reality, it’s not much more than a band-aid for crisis management.  All too often, by the time an individual makes it to HR the problem has grown to “life damaging” proportions.

A manager from the heart must be aware, observant, and concerned about the well-being of his employees.  He must be vigilant in his attention and constantly managing the “pulse” of his department.  By doing so, he can identify problems in their early stages where simple counseling may solve the issue before it reaches crisis.  One wants to detect and deal with cancer in the earliest stage possible before it becomes life threatening.

A manager is not a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, a lawyer, a 12 Step Program, or  personal accountant but he can give counsel, share wisdom and understanding, detect potential crisis, and be quick to address problems.  In an “Open Heaven,” employees feel safe to confide issues and problems without judgment or condemnation.   Most people already know the solutions to their problem but just need to have a forum to say it out loud and to know they are not alone.

This manager also needs to be able to recognize when an issue is beyond his expertise to advise and have the ability to refer the individual to appropriate levels of help.  It’s also important that this manager follow through and confirm the individual is properly addressing their issue – just encouragement is not enough.  Most people tend to be great at procrastinating and minimizing problems until the problem grows to a point in which the individual becomes overwhelmed.

But why would an employee go to his manager with “life issues?”

Simple, a manager from the heart is not the usual manager.  In an “Open Heaven” (see chapter 14) there is “bond of humanness” between the manager and the employee.  They are not friends or pals.  But this manager has an understanding and compassion for all that the individual is and all he or she can be.  “Open Heaven” is a place where an individual can go and puke out all the crap that’s festering inside and know he will be heard.  Because the manager and him are not “friends” and will not have contact outside of work, it allows a person to vent, and very often, this is all people need to do – have a place to vent and be heard.

To establish and maintain this relationship, the manager must exhibit in himself and mentor to his staff what I call CORE Competencies

The CORE Competencies:

C = Commitment

O = Open Heaven

R = Responsibility

E = Ethics

1) Trust – a gift earned by one but shared by two.  The operative word here is “gift.”  Trust can only be given by a person when they feel safe and secure enough to give it.  It is an honor bestowed upon one by another.  When trust is betrayed, it is broken.  One can work very hard to earn it back; but it can only be given when the betrayed is willing to give it.  When one understands this they begin to realize how precious a thing trust is.

2) Integrity – behavior congruent with professed values, beliefs, morals, and principles.  Everybody talks a good talk.  But not everyone walks their talk.  If a person says what he means and means what he says, comes from a position of love, honors himself, and treats everyone else with respect and dignity, people feel safe and secure and are drawn to him/her.  (Old saying:  “You are honorable when you honor others.”)

3) Honesty – Rigorous honesty builds Trust Value more than anything else.  You don’t have to always be right; you just have to admit it when you’re wrong.  Nobody is perfect and here’s the big secret – it’s ok!  This makes you human; this makes you real.  When one is secure enough to be totally honest with self and others, he becomes free to be himself.

“Yes, I screwed up.  I dropped the ball on this one!”

It’s amazing the effect a statement like this has on “Trust Value.”  Everybody screws up but no one is honest enough to admit it (or worse, they try to pawn it off as someone else’s mistake).  If I can trust enough to admit when you’re wrong, then I can trust you with my personal issues.

4) Openness – the strength of vulnerability.   This is the basis of true intimacy – I open my world up to you and you open your world up to me.  This allows honesty in relationships.  It also develops trust and security in the other person.

Openness also means the ability to look at oneself honestly and be willing to consider new thoughts, ideas, and concepts.  When we are close-minded we stagnate, wallowing in our own ignorance and arrogance.  This applies to managers as much as it does to employees.

5) Humility – to view oneself as human – open to critique. Understanding we are all unique and yet the same.  I am no better than anyone else; but I am also no worse than anyone else.  We are the same – souls trying to find our own way through life the best we can (see chapter 9).  Many have skills and talents I don’t; but I have skills and talents they don’t.  Each use what they possess to achieve happiness.

One role of a manager from the heart is to assist employees in discovering unrealized talents and skills and explore opportunities with them.

6)  Empathy – genuine concern, understanding and respect of another’s feelings and motivations.  To understand that another’s feelings are “real” irrespective of whether right or wrong, enables one to see the world through their eyes.  If I can see the world through their eyes, I have a better understanding of what drives them, and thus, how to assist them.

7)  Willingness – to change (self-defeating behaviors).  Embracing change is essential for growth.  Growth, of course, is all about change.  Change is uncomfortable and sometimes even frightening.  Resistance to change, for whatever reason, stifles growth.  There’s an old saying:  “People will only change when it becomes too painful not too.”

But what if you embraced change?  What if you saw change as an adventure instead of a threat?  Imagine the possibilities.

First, understand what “willingness” is.  You don’t have to want to.  You don’t have to like to.  You just have to be willing to.  Willingness is a choice.

I love ice cream.  But thanks to the military, I hate standing in lines.  Now, when I go to the supermarket to get my ice cream and there are long lines, I have a choice to make.  I don’t necessarily want to stand in line, I don’t particularly like standing in line, but I am willing to stand in line because there’s a “pay-off” at the end.

By inspiring (not motivating) staff, nurturing the individual’s success, and developing staff that buys into the system, a manager from the heart sets the stage for “Open Heaven.”   This allows the individual to develop personal vision.

(Part 3 of 3)

– excerpt from “The Manager as Engineer of the Work Environment”


October 22, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , ,

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