Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Organizational Behaviour - Bowling Out The Oddballs

Organizational Behaviour - Bowling Out The Oddballs

Key learnings:

Impossible-to-get-along-with seniors are a top reason for attrition, But getting along with them is now becoming a professional requirement

Among the top reasons why employees leave organisations are impossible-to-get-along-with seniors. An effective way to address this issue is to inform seniors how their demeanour affects retention and employee morale. A practical way to deal with it is to equip employees with the art of dealing with tough bosses! The article outlines when equipped with a set of tactics, employees will find it easier to work with the toughies.

The art of getting along

A typical response when stuck with an eccentric boss is to quit. But given the economic low, job-hopping is a luxury few can afford. This however does not mean employees have to put up with poorly- behaved seniors. Moreover, organisations must and can avoid losing talent to poorly- behaved seniors. In short, if working with tough bosses is an occupational hazard then dealing with them is a professional skill! Here is how employees can be equipped with this skill.

As one behavioural expert says, "The first step to skills or competencies updation is awareness". Therefore, in dealing with tough seniors employees need to be aware of the different behavioural traits of the eccentric! Seniors can be categorised as under:

The lion: These seniors believe in roaring! Their modus operandi is based on a belief that much can be accomplished by shouting and creating a commotion. They also use intimidating non-verbal gestures such as staring and hand- on- hips to get their job done. A study reveals that such aggression manifests in those who are either impatient or like the spotlight to be on them for both right/ wrong reasons.

Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

. Listening to them without arguing
. Keeping one's ego aside. These seniors are likely to shout at their subordinates anywhere which can be embarrassing
. Following their instructions to the 't'. The best way to deal with impatient seniors is to give them few reasons to complain

The chameleon: Another impatient lot are seniors who want a number of jobs done simultaneously. Although they are not rude they have little tolerance for those who fail to execute their orders. But following too many instructions while ensuring quality is tough, at times even impossible and these seniors do not realise that. In passing instructions and orders they are seldom considerate about their subordinate grasping what and how things need to be done. These seniors are also a forgetful lot -a consequence of attempting to get much accomplished. So at times they will retort with, "When did I ask you to do this?

Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

. Making notes of all their instructions and sending them an e-mail about it
. Keeping them posted of the progress on tasks on a daily basis
. Taking them through the to-do list to reconfirm whether what is on it still needs to be done!
. Documenting any communication with them

The Peacock: These seniors hide their shortcomings in their feathers. They are too vain to admit that their position is not a result of hard work and the right competencies but sheer luck! Working with them becomes a challenge because they are poor decision- makers, talk a lot but do little and are least inspiring. The only advantage is, they are not harmful or conniving.

Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

. Fanning their false prestige by listening to all they have to say
. Talking to them about tasks and assignments in terms of deliverables and timelines
. Spelling out the benefits or consequences of decision -making at meetings and informal encounters

The fox: These seniors become difficult to deal with because they hit below the belt. Insecure in their positions they believe everyone is a threat and are plotting constantly to frame and fire people. Thankfully, they are a minority but unfortunately they are difficult to identify. Employees get to know of such seniors through others. When identified here is how one can manage around them:

. Documenting every piece of communication
. Keeping them posted of every move made
. Sharing ideas and suggestions only when an audience is around
. Talking about what happened at work with colleagues and other co-workers

Also, "being honest and acting with extreme care is the best policy when dealing with this type of boss," recommends an expert.

The serpent: The most dangerous of the lot are seniors who believe fear motivates employees best to perform optimally. Employees dread them because they:

. Fire people for invalid reasons
. Threaten employees constantly with punitive consequences
. Induce guilt in employees to get work done

According to experts, "The attrition rate of this boss is highest because of the fear and psychosis he creates" and the best way to deal with them is to leave before they can sully one's resume and reputation.

Working with seniors with eccentric behavioural traits is not easy but definitely easier than giving up without trying! Moreover when it comes to building and maintaining employee relationships a bit of their onus is an employee's too. In using the above-mentioned tactics to identify who their seniors are, employees can work around a strategy to work with them better.

Reference: TheManageMentor

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