One large and unspoken issue within organizations is the Manager / Employee relationship. We have all had a manager that was a challenge, and as managers, we have had an employee that was a challenge I’ve been both at different times in my career.
We often think it is just a matter of personality and the team did not fit well together. But that is usually wrong – of course, the person who is the manager is important, and we must be careful to screen out (-T) extreme negative temperament.
Behaviors can become extreme as a sign of an inept manager-employee situation. As a manager, you must have the capacity to complete the required responsibilities if your capacity is lacking then effective management cannot take place.
There is one condition that I consider to be more important than the rest, and it is the foundation of People join companies and leave managers.
Optimum Manager-Subordinate Distance
By optimum manager-subordinate distance, I mean the difference in capacity between a manager and a subordinate that would make it possible for the manager to effectively manage.
Too Close in Capacity
- Many have experienced this. The manager and subordinate are just too close in capacity to complete the work and they both know it.
Too Far Removed In Capacity
- Some have experienced this, the manager and subordinate are too separate in capacity and they just don’t “get” each other.
|Too Close in Capacity||Too Far in Capacity|
|· Employee feels their capacity is too close; equal to; or above that of the manager.
· Manager feels employee is too close; or equal to their capacity as a manager.
· Manager feels anxious because he cannot effectively assess the work being done.
· Employee knows nearly as much about the work as the manager does.
· Insufficient scope/context of work being delegated.
· Employee feels manager does not know any more about the work than he does.
· When trouble occurs manager is unable to offer value and ideas that are useful.
· Manager micro-manages
· Employee becomes frustrated because he feels restrained by management.
· Employee will often go to managers-manager for advice and input.
· Manager feels anxious because employee is just as much, or more capable of the manager’s work.
· Employee feels constrained and unable to do their best work.
|· Employee seems ineffective.
· Employee involves manager in too many details of the work.
· Manager feels she needs to descend, go into too many details of the work that should be completed by the employee.
· Manager is unable to delegate full-scale responsibilities.
· Manager is too occupied with employees work and becomes overburdened with tasks that should be delegated but could not, and now she has to complete them herself.
· Employee feels manager is too far removed.
· Employee feels anxious and uncomfortable about the work delegated by manager.
· Employee feels like they are taking too great a risk and begin to try to restrain their manager.
· Employee does not feel as helpful as they would like to be.
· Employee is anxious about going to manager for assistance because they feel she will become impatient with their lack of understanding.
· Manager feels constrained and pulled down by employee.
· Employee feels anxious because manager is too distant from them.
The list above leads to; what would the manager-employee relationship look like at the just right level of capacity? AND how do we ensure that managers and employees are not too close or too far in capacity?
- Set the systems right within the company.
- Asking for and honestly listening to feedback from employees about the competence and capacity of their manager.
- If early recognition of a mismatch of employee-manager is seen, having a process to transfer the person to a new team before any damage takes place.
- Stop promoting people who aren’t ready to be managers.
- Organizational establishment of explicit and known managerial-leadership roles.
- Ensured organizational polices that allow each person in the manager role to exercise the 4 minimum authorities of managerial-leaders.
- Consistent and regular evaluation of managers capacity based upon evaluations from other managers and their manager-once-removed.
- Regular mentoring and coaching of managers and employees.