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Company should not love misery.

To find the perfect employee, managers must do more than hire the right person--they must know how to bring out that individual's best qualities. Part of a conducive work atmosphere for any employee is the style and temperament of his or her supervisor. By controlling this aspect of the environment, a manager can be the determining factor in the amount and quality of work produced.

Everyone is capable of giving 100 percent of their energy and talent to any task; however, the extent to which this will be done varies from person to person. The manager's challenge is to inspire all employees.

To achieve this, the department head must recognize that human beings are not machines. Some supervisors forget this fact and cause employees to give up or burn out. Simply recognizing that people react to their emotions can make a difference in the employee--employer relationship.

If a manager treats an employee poorly, that person will probably do the minimum amount of work necessary to keep his or her job, which may force the manager to hire two people to do the job of one. On the other hand, if the manager creates a healthy office atmosphere in which to work, productivity will be enhanced.

A good working relationship starts the day an individual joins the organization. This is the perfect time for the manager and employee to discuss expectations. A way to accomplish this is by using a new-hire checklist. It should contain two columns--one column listing what the manager expects from the employee and the other describing what the employee can expect from the manager. Most employees will include such expectations as honesty, trust, respect for their position, timely performance evaluations, and a pleasant working environment. It is important for this form to contain more entries in the employee's column than in the supervisor's column. The manager should then sign the checklist and ask the employee to sign also.

At the performance evaluation, the manager can review the list with the employee, and both parties should discuss if they have fulfilled their obligations. The form allows both parties to air grievances but not lose sight of the core relationship between manager and employee.

A manager can verbally commend an employee, but the commendation is only words, if that manager is not willing to take the time to write a meaningful evaluation. People work for more than money; they need recognition.

All relevant information should be noted in a review, whether positive or negative. If a person fails to meet company expectations, that problem should be reflected in the evaluation. The manager owes it to the other employees who fulfill their obligations to bring the employee being evaluated to the appropriate performance level.

Unfortunately, no one can be bubbly, charming, and energetic every day. Employees do become ill or suffer from emotional stress at times. When these conditions arise, the manager needs to show a little compassion. A person who knows that the boss is concerned for his or her well-being will feel appreciated and will work harder. Supervisors will also experience illness and stress. When this happens, they should not take out their frustrations on their staff.

Employee discipline is a delicate matter for even the most responsive manager, but certain precautions can make it less painful. People don't like to be embarrassed. No matter what the transgression, the manager should never reprimand an employee in public. The first time this occurs, the manager will lose that individual's trust. Also, a public rebuke breeds empathy. No matter what the crime, if the manager criticizes an employee in public, employees are more likely to support each other. If the individual is admonished behind closed doors, the reaction of other employees may be different.

Authority should never be abused. The manager is in a position to affect wages, raises, working conditions, and even continued employment. These are responsibilities, not powers. Employees should never be forced to endure unprofessional behavior committed by their superiors.

By subscribing to these tenets, managers can increase staff productivity. A simple acknowledgement that employees are people, subject to emotions and stress, can make a difference in personnel attitudes toward the job and management. Employees will want to give their all.

Dick Ritz is the security manager of GDE Systems Inc. in San Diego and a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Managing; towards a conducive work atmosphere
Author:Ritz, Dick
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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