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By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

If I could just get those darned employees to think on their own. If my employees would just show a little initiative. Ever muttered those words? Did you ever think that your employees were the root of all evil? Maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’re victims of incompetent management. How would you rate the overall capability of your management staff? Let’s consider the way managers are selected, their ability to communicate, and their ability to train workers.

Most people believe that the job of management is to direct their employees. For the most part, this is correct, however, it’s critical to remember that the objective of management is to facilitate the success of the workers. Do your managers share this perspective? If not, perhaps you need to reconsider your promotion / recruitment strategy. How do you select management candidates? Do you promote the best performer from an area? Remember that the best welder may not make the best welding supervisor.

People who are faced with a promotion may accept it due to social implications or simply for the money. Often, when a person is promoted due to performance, the department loses a good worker and the rest of the workers are saddled with an incompetent manager who struggles in the position. Perhaps a review of your promotion/recruitment strategy is in order.

The ability to communicate is a fundamental requirement for all companies. Effective communication is a skill that takes time and effort to develop. Effective communicators understand that there are two parties in a conversation, the message sender and the receiver.

They take time to consider the message they want to send and determine the ability of the receiver to comprehend the message on both technical and emotional levels. Do your managers know how to communicate? Are they considerate and thoughtful or are they abrupt and direct? Both styles are necessary depending on the situation, however, a good manager should know when to vary their style. If you can’t communicate, you can’t expect desired results in any initiative. Observe your managers and think deeply about how well they communicate with the workforce.

Training is another important requirement for all businesses. How well do your managers train others? Do they take time to train employees personally or do they stick the trainee with another experienced employee? Utilizing the most experienced workers as trainers might work if they’ve received instruction on how to train others. Rarely is this the case. Properly training others requires that we break down jobs into important steps that can be easily understood. Key points for each step should be noted for further comprehension. Finally, reasons for the key points should be provided. The trainee should then show the trainer that they understand the important steps, the key points, and the reasons for the key points and prove that they can perform the task adequately.

Rarely do trainers explain why jobs have to be performed in a certain way. It’s assumed that the trainee will do it the right way because that’s what they were told. Take the time to train and explain, and you’ll reap the benefits.

The next time you question the ability of your workers, consider the points listed here. Promoting or recruiting people who understand that they are in a position to help others succeed, who can communicate effectively, and who take the time to train others properly will yield a more effective workforce and a team of competent, effective managers.