How to Not to Offend Staff
Staff can be easily offended by comments or a remark that were said with the best of intentions. This article covers how to avoid offending staff with examples.
One of the key elements covered on a management training course is that for most employees the manager is their role model. What the manager does and says will be judged according to whether it fits the “picture of the boss”. “Minor” management mistakes can, therefore, have an unexpected effect.
A few examples follow that highlight how important it is to stop and think before you act.
Example 1: A manager makes the following comment to an employee about another employee: Alice got lucky, getting the contract from Alpha Ltd. The employee later relates this ‘lucky’ remark to Alice.
Example 2: While negotiating with an important client a sales manager ignores the sales representative whose client it is. The manager is so involved in the fray that he completely omits to draw the sales representative into the conversation.
Example 3: At a meeting the manager “teases” a somewhat tired looking employee, saying: “You’ve looked fresher on occasions”. The other team members laugh and the employee looks embarrassed.
In all three of the examples above the manager has injured the self-respect of their employee. Those concerned probably feel offended and betrayed. Consequently, the employee clams up for a long time and their performance level falls. Many people attending management training had no idea of the effects this could have and often blamed the member of staff for this behaviour. Good managers know that they must be sensitive to the feelings of their employees.
Example 4: An administrator had a long talk with his office manager about the difficulty of dealing with a large customer. The office manager decides to deal with the customer herself in future and tells another team member to inform the administrator
Example 5: A team leader hears from another team leader in passing of an occurrence within the company that she did not know about. The manager did not consider the matter to be important and therefore did not tell the team leader about it.
In both cases, the manager has not dealt appropriately with the employee and has left them feeling as if they are not important. It is likely that employees treated this way will feel put-down and not taken seriously.
Example 6: The manager promises an employee at an appraisal that he will attend personally to the provision of a training course for the employee. The matter is then forgotten by the manager.
Example 7: At a conference the area sales manager remarks on one of the organisational measures decreed by headquarters: “I’m sorry but I can’t change that. Our M.D. has had another brainstorm”.
If the manager often breaks promises or shows a lack of respect towards or identification with the firm, he/she automatically loses the credibility and respect of the employees.
Example 8: At a friendly gathering after a team event the manager gossips about vague thoughts of re-dividing the team’s responsibilities.
Example 9: During a meeting the manager says to the group “We must rejuvenate ourselves”.
Each employee suffers a certain amount of fear, which increases with age. Spontaneous, un-considered remarks such as these two examples stir up the fears. The consequence: people look around for new jobs because their jobs may be endangered.
The examples demonstrate how important it is that those in management positions consider the effect of their actions and words on those who report to them. Communication for managers is a major subject area covered on management training courses because it is so important. So before you say or do anything, consider how it will be received by your staff.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Stone (email@example.com) a Director for Spearhead Training Limited that specialises in running management training and sales training courses. Richard provides consultancy advice for numerous world leading companies and is the author of How to Not to Offend Staff. View the original article at How to Not to Offend Staff.