Managers, ask your people.

Do you have a manager who’s been asking for more information to anyone above you instead coming to you? Yes?! Well, it shouldn’t be like that.

Managers are strange people. They are very good in their job and work hard to land in the position they are. But from time to time, they lose touch with day to day business. It seems that they forget what lives with their people. They launch new ideas that are very innovative but lack commitment by their people. It is like they live in another atmosphere. Their ideas are good, but don’t match real life. You can ask yourself how it is possible that such smart people make this mistake. Do they think they are better than the rest? Do they really think they are the only ones with great ideas? Probably not. I think they simply do not have the time to ask for advice from their people. They are booked with meetings about budgets and politics. Who get’s the money to spend on a new project? What is our vision for the next year? A lot of managers means a lot of visions and and a lot of meetings to discuss these visions.

But that’s not all. Sometimes they are forced to take action before they are ready for it. Manager A hears something is wrong and asks Manager B to take action on it. Manager B asks one of his directors to dig into this issue and the ball is rolling. Most of the time, those people know nothing about what is really going on. They just heared something and use their power to force action. Action needed or not, that doesn’t matter. You don’t want to be blamed for it at the next management meeting. My problem with all of this is not that managers take action. They should take action, but a lot of them do the wrong thing. They do not realize that they start a train. A massive locomotive that is difficult to stop. Worst of all, the train goes into the wrong direction. Going straight for your people who have no chance of running away. Why? Because they do not ask their people what’s going wrong. They ask the wrong people for information. Other directors don’t know either what’s going wrong.

The only ones that know what’s wrong are the people that are working on a solution for the problem. They need the help of their manager. They need their manager to come stand next to them and support them. What do you need to fix this? Do you need someone else to help? Do you need extra equipment or simply a coffee to keep you awake?

I have a question for all the managers around, a call for action: Please stand up and ask your people what you can do for them. How can you support them to fix the problem?

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