Business Transformation

Treat Your Employees as Your Associates

Globally it is observed that there is a widening gap between the employers and the employees and the superiors and the subordinates. There are plenty of articles publishing globally with vast viewership where bosses are often blamed with the exit of talented employees. Most employees often complain that they leave the bad bosses, not their organizations.

There must be somebody to supervise, assess, and provide feedback in the workplace to enhance productivity and performance. It is a fact that there are a few superiors and more subordinates in numbers. Since the subordinates outnumber the bosses, the information by subordinates gets spread quickly to end up blaming bosses finally. Instead of blaming the bosses and the superiors personally, let us look at this challenge objectively to offer solutions to bridge the gap. Here are some tools and techniques to bridge the gap.

Empathize with each other: Both superiors and subordinates must understand the fact that they are working for their organizations. Hence, there must not be any personal ill will against each other. Second, the role of the superiors is to get the tasks executed effectively from their subordinates with a judicious blend of people and task-orientation. Hence, subordinates must empathize with their superiors and understand the reality that the latter are under constant pressure to improve the organizational bottom lines.

Emphasize Professional Relationship: The superiors must not mix their personal issues with professional issues. They must get their tasks executed effectively to accomplish organizational goals and objectives. They must build trust and walk their talk to impress upon their subordinates.

Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated: The superiors must follow this Golden Rule. It helps empathize with others to grow as a great leader.

Avoid Micromanagement: The superiors must avoid micromanagement. They must consider themselves like colleagues rather than bosses and treat their subordinates as their partners to achieve progress.

Empower Employees: The superiors must empower their subordinates and allow them to learn from their failures. They must allocate roles and responsibilities to their subordinates as per their capacities to unlock their potential. Encourage them to take risks while executing their tasks to learn them from their failures. The superiors must not force their subordinates to execute the tasks that cannot be done by the former. If subordinates fail to execute their tasks, the superiors must be in a position to demonstrate how the tasks can be done through role-playing.

Communicate Clearly: The superiors often emphasize top-down communication. It is essential to encourage upward communication by taking suggestions from the subordinates. Ensure effective communication from all sources to synergize to minimize the gap.

Overcome Insecurities: The superiors must overcome their insecurities and accept the fact without any ego that the next generation employees are much smarter and intelligent due to the increased exposure to technology.

Encourage Coaching and Mentoring: The superiors must mentor and coach their subordinates in career advancement and building leadership abilities. They must extend special leadership opportunities to their subordinates and to coach and mentor them. It is a fact that leadership is learned experientially.

Avoid Playing Favorites: The superiors must not listen to coterie who often carries forward information about others in the workplace through the grapevine to ensure their survival. They must be independent in making decisions and listen from all sources before taking any action against their subordinates.

Recognize Timely: Recognition is more important than rewards. There is a myth that employees are more carried away by rewards than recognition. It may be true to some extent. The majority of employees crave recognition rather than rewards which is the key to achieve employee support and loyalty. Hence, recognize their efforts timely and impartially.

Conduct Exit Interviews: Conducting exit interviews and keeping them confidential will help greatly. In this process, the organizations must get feedback analyzed by the employees who are not directly related to the superiors and the subordinates. In this way, the organizations can play a crucial role to check the erring superiors and ensure retaining talented subordinates.

Conduct Leadership Development Training Programs: Organizations must provide leadership development training programs regularly to convert bosses into leaders. They must emphasize to change the mindset of the bosses as per the prevailing global business environment and expectations of the employees. It helps them reinvent as leaders apart from improving the organizational bottom lines with an emphasis on people-orientation.

Adopt Soft Leadership: Today’s workforce is mostly of millennials whose expectations are vastly different from those of previous generations. Hence, there is an urgent need to reinvent HR to bridge the gap. Adopt soft leadership coined by me to bridge the gap between the superiors and the subordinates. It believes more in partnership rather than leadership where all employees are considered partners rather than leaders and followers.

There must be chemistry between the superiors and the subordinates to achieve workplace performance and productivity. The superiors must be taught how to behave with their subordinates and the subordinates must be taught how to manage their superiors without compromising organizational goals and objectives. When it is done successfully, there will be a good understanding between the superiors and the subordinates and better employer and employee relations.

Treat employees as assets and associates. Consider them partners. The HR leaders at the senior level must design innovative strategies to bridge the gap between the superiors and the subordinates and keep the talent ready in the pipeline to avert any organizational eventualities to achieve organizational excellence and effectiveness.

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Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning See the Light in You: Acquire Spiritual Powers to Achieve Mindfulness, Wellness, Happiness, and Success (Waterside Productions; January 16, 2020). He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. He has the vision to share his knowledge freely with one billion people globally. He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe). He was ranked #1 Thought Leader and Influencer in HR globally by Thinkers360. He invests his time in authoring books and blogging on executive education, learning, and leadership. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs including Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders. He is a prolific author and a dynamic, energetic, and inspirational leadership speaker. Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.