There’s Janet. She’s a director in a company. She walks around the departments of the company each day for about a ½ hour. She tries to give the aura of being knowledgeable about her employees’ jobs by carrying around a clipboard with a bunch of notes on the paper, and having some interactions about what she knows. She knows very little, but she thinks she has fooled everyone because of this “show” she puts on. But she has fooled no one. The employees don’t have respect for her. Why? Because she is the opposite of a hands-on manager.
If you’re looking to gain respect of employees, it’s important to know that employees admire and respect is when their manager is hands-on. This level of being “hands-on” can certainly vary. Some managers or owners of a firm may know all there is to know about their employees’ jobs because they have done those jobs themselves, and can grab the reigns if need be and help out as required if someone is out, or it’s a busy day. Some individuals may have limited knowledge, because depending on the size of the organization they cannot be expected to know all there is to know about each department. But that’s okay. It’s the interest level here that’s important. It’s sitting down and being willing to help out where you can. It’s showing your employees that you are “in this” with them, and that you are not just someone that walks around with a clipboard trying to look knowledgeable. If there’s an area in your company you aren’t familiar with, why not sit down with one of the employees and let her know you appreciate her efforts and you’d like to learn about what she does. And once you do know, go over some time and help her out with it. There’s something to be said for an owner or manager that is interested in the daily workings of the company and can even help out from time to time.
There is no substitute for being a hands-on manager. It demonstrates to your employees your willingness to help them, which shows them you value their contribution to your company and you value them. So roll up your sleeves, and take part in the work. They’ll appreciate it, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment and gain their respect as well.
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