Chances are that most people reading this were at one point at the bottom of some organization. Do we remember what is was like? Do we remember how it felt to have someone treat us bad, to have “management” make decisions for us, or to feel like we do not have the power to change things for the better?
The chances are that we have felt these things. The chances are that many who have gotten to that place of power to make a change have also forgotten what seemed so salient when we were at the bottom.
I want to remind you what it feels like to be at the bottom, to work the night shift, out of the eye of management, to not be noticed, to have no power, and to just be a line on some payroll document.
Now, you might be tempted to think that this is simply a one way street, that people think management should give them all the love while management gets nothing in return. Well, first, you do not need to get something in return in order to do something good. But second, doing this will actually create an environment that will return your investment tenfold.
Here are a collection of thoughts and ways to address them for all of you out there that have the power to do something about it.
1. I wish I could change this policy or process because it really makes my job harder.
Sometimes there are policies that are necessary because of a legal issue or because of a reason that an employee has never considered. You can do one of two things. You can demonstrate the reason why a policy or process is necessary and ask if you can brainstorm ways in which you can work together on making this easier. Or you can reevaluate a policy that may not be necessary and consider if it needs to be amended or discarded altogether.
2. I wish my boss supported me.
Creating an obvious and open avenue to yourself as a leader is crucial in your subordinates feeling like they have a voice and like they have support. Have an open door policy; communicate that you are always free to talk; walk around the office and communicate support and be inquisitive of how people are doing.
3. I wish our leadership team thought about how this would affect us before implementing this idea.
Collaboration and workplace democracy are some buzzwords/phrases that might give you an idea of how to implement effect change. Change can cause confusion, anger, and turnover. When communicating change, do so early and often, gradually, consistently, and openly. Lastly, allow for input and feedback so that employees can take ownership of the change.
4. I wish I was consulted about this issue, I have some ideas.
Believe it or not, you hired someone to be the best they can be at a job. It would then make sense to consult those professionals when making decisions that within their purview. Additionally, people often love being apart of the decision making process and appreciate when others value their input.
5. I wish the company knew how these things affect our lives-even outside of work.
People do not disappear into nothingness when they leave work, they go home to their established lives. Some people have difficulties juggling work and their life outside of work. Creating an avenue where management listens to employees can be infinitely beneficial to relations between these groups and will likely stem into many benefits outside of this one alone.
I know that saying these things is harder than actually doing them and that you likely report to someone as well who might not be as open to these idea. But you have a choice. Try and fail or never try and never be the kind of person who looked at creating better opportunities for other people and said, “sorry that’s too hard for me.”
Ask for leeway in implementing measures; go to bat for those you lead. Make decisions that are fit for a leader of people rather than just a leader of implementing policies and status quo.