67. Employee Intimidates Boss + Help Coming for Bosses

Episode 67: Employee Intimidates Boss + Help Coming for Bosses (Summary)

How should you respond to an employee who challenges everything you say? In this week’s episode, we answer a listener question about facing off with a wannabe manager. Plus, there’s help coming for bosses in a lot of different places. That’s ahead now on Boss Better Now.

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Transcript – Episode 67:  Employee Intimidates Boss + Help Coming for Bosses

 

Joe:

How should you respond to an employee who challenges everything you say? In this week’s episode, we answer a listener question about facing off with a wannabe manager. Plus, there’s help coming for bosses in a lot of different places. That’s ahead now on Boss Better Now.

Alyssa:

You’re listening to Boss Better Now. This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Now here is your host, speaker, and author Joe Mull.

Joe:

Hello, BossHeroes. Spring has sprung and I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing that the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are singing. Spring, after all, is the season of renewal and hope. And both of these are, are things that we try to deliver here on our show: renewal and hope. And actually, in a few minutes, we’re gonna be talking about why I think, as a boss, you have every reason to be hopeful in the months ahead. In the meantime, please welcome my co-host professional coach, Alyssa Mullet. How are you, my friend? Are you feeling renewed in springtime?

Alyssa:

I let’s put it this way. It’s similar to our fall spring that we have here in Pennsylvania.

Joe:

Oh gosh, yeah.

Alyssa:

You know?

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

Like w it’s sunshine and like beautiful for a few days. And like, you know, you can start to feel the warmth of the sun on your face. <Laugh> like 70 degrees.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

You get that two days in a row. And the very next on the third day it snows and it is 14.

Joe:

Right.

Alyssa:

14 degrees.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

So you you’re cautiously, cautiously optimistic is what I am.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

Just like the fall spring.

Joe:

But you can feel it coming. You can feel like the wave of hope and warm weather. And like all of the good nature is it’s, it’s, we’re on the precipice, which is a great word, by the way. I think we should use the word precipice as often as possible around here, but yes, we’re on the precipice

Alyssa:

Precipice. I don’t care for that word <laugh> but, but if you wanna be on it, you go for it. I I’ll wave to you on your, on your precipice.

Joe:

I, I feel <laugh>. I feel like that the, the cold nights are ending and the warm days are coming. And so we’re, we’re on the upward trajectory. And I do think we’re on an upward trajectory in terms of some of what bosses are, are dealing with nowadays. And we’re gonna talk more about that in a few minutes, but we are going to start our show today with Mail Time. Well, we often ask our listeners to send in their questions. I think it, it leads to some of the most interesting and helpful discussions that we have on our show. And we have an email from Tammy in Ohio. I will read it and then we’re gonna chat.

Alyssa:

Awesome.

Joe:

“Joe and Alyssa, I’ve been a manager for nine months and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m very hands-on in our day-to-day operation. And I have a hard time delegating. The reason I’m emailing you is because I have a staff member who is challenging me, and I’m really not sure how to handle it. The employee was hired as a dispatcher. She used to be a terminal manager for another trucking company eight years ago. So she is pretty confident with her work. However, she keeps challenging what I say, and she’s very condescending. She does all of this in front of my other staff member. It’s starting to intimidate me. I appreciate any suggestions you have, and I love all that you say on the show.” Well, thank you for the kind words, Tammy. And I’m sorry that you’re dealing with all of this. A couple of things in here to unpack, right. Alyssa? Where do you wanna start?

Alyssa:

I, I highlighted <laugh>. I think the highlights are like what I pick out as what the employee’s story might be about Tammy. Okay. Because in every situation in every, there’s your story, their story, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, right?

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

So I’m going to present some of the things that I might translate into the employee’s perspective.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

And then talk about where I might be the truth and how we can strategize around that.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

So the first thing that I picked up on is Tammy says she is very hands-on in our day-to-day operation.

Joe:

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

Uh my boss is a micromanager. That’s what the employee’s perspective.

Joe:

Might be.

Alyssa:

On what they’re experience may very well be is you have a hard time delegating. You say, Tammy.

Joe:

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>,

Alyssa:

That means you don’t let anybody else do anything. And they have to fight tooth and nail in order to do the job that they feel that they are very well qualified to do.

Joe:

Could be.

Alyssa:

Again, could very well be the perspective of this employee.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

That you’re having these issues with. And then the, the interactions in which you’re saying Tammy, that this person is being condescending and they’re having these discussions, if you will, with you in public, in front of other staff members. Right? So you feel that that’s intimidating you, and it’s obviously not what, how you want to present yourself in light in that light to other employees. So the truth of that is probably that is exactly what’s happening is that she is trying to do that to you because that’s the only way in which she can feel some semblance of authority over her own work. Because whenever it’s striped of you or when you feel that your authority has been stripped of you, you try to claw and get it any way you can. And if that comes off condescending and it puts you back in your place, so to speak, in that employee’s mind, that’s what’s gonna happen. So the truth of where we need to be in the middle of there as addressing both what you, as the leader, the manager need to take responsibility for and how you need to communicate with this specific employee. So I I’ll stop there. And then I’m sure that you’re gonna talk about some of those points too, about where we, how we need to be communicating to the employee and where we go from here.

Joe:

Yeah. Well, and, and we, we both spotted the same thing in that email. And I think at first glance, it almost feels like a throw away aside that she said that she is very hands on and struggles to delegate. But then, and the next thing, but it’s almost like this sort of Freudian demonstration that this might be the whole story. So I think that that’s a good first piece of this in a situation where someone says, I have, you know, my hands in everything, and I’m struggling to delegate and my people are not responding to me. Well, it could be because of micromanaging. And micromanaging is a symptom of a bigger root cause problem, which is a lack of trust. And so if, if that’s the story here, Tammy, then your action plan is to figure out how to grant trust and earn trust. So how can you give others a, a more open path to their work product, to their end result, without you being involved and doing? How, how do you give up some power and some control and demonstrate trust to people? And it may start with just saying, Hey I realize that I’ve been probably too hands-on in some of this stuff, and I need to do a better job of trusting you all. And so I’m working on that and here’s what I’m gonna try to do first. And that might go a long way to turning the dial down on, on some of this, you know, this is where I wish sometimes we were live chatting with some of the folks that were sending their questions in, because we could have a real interesting coaching conversation here, because there are so many ways that this situation could go. There’s so much that we don’t know in the, in the question. And so I do think it’s important, Tammy, that we acknowledge that we don’t necessarily know the right answer, but we’re, we’re here to talk through some options. And I think, you know, this, this trust and micromanagement and delegation piece is one, one option of, you know, the, the root cause of the problem and how to address it. I think one of the other things that you might wanna do, Tammy, is get crystal clear about the problematic behavior. So what do you mean by challenging me? And what do you mean by condescending behavior? Is she rolling her eyes? Is she making derogatory comments? Is she asking a question, getting an answer from you, but then she’s pushing again and again and again, after you’ve explained yourself. So I think it’s really important that we get away from subjective descriptors, right? Condescending is an adjective. If I, the brought you to the front of the room and said, be condescending, you would, you would do something. What would we observe and that’s behavior. And so my advice would be sit down and make a list of all the behaviors that you’re struggling with. And then you pick your one or two worst offenders, and then you work that problem. And so any feedback conversations you have with this person are gonna be zeroed in on those behaviors and, and you keep it simple. You say, here’s, I notice that in these situations after I answer a question, you roll your eyes, throw up your hands and make a comment to the person standing next to you that, Hey, that’ll never work. You know, that’s very different than condescending or challenging me. And that can bring some clarity to the conversation you’re trying to have. Um I think too, that what’s important here is if you haven’t had a, a one-on-one conversation person with a one-on-one conversation with this person about this yet, that’s the good first step. And you respond first from kind of a neutral position. You respond with curiosity and honesty before you respond with judgment and you just lay it out on the table. Here’s what I’m experiencing. It’s bothering me. I thought we should talk about it. And so I wanna understand when you do this, when you, and then you, this is where you crystallize those behaviors. You know, when I answer questions, you keep pushing and you keep asking for more, even though I feel like I’ve given…I’ve been pretty straight about it. What’s that about? And it, if this is somebody whose style is just abrasive, they may be completely unaware that their style is just abrasive. And that might just lead to one conversation. That’s all it takes where you can sit across from this person and say, Hey, I get you that you’ve done this before. And that I’m new and I would love to benefit from all of your insight and experience, but can we work on the delivery a little bit? And, and that might just, that might be enough.

Alyssa:

What I, the things that I circled in my notes whenever you were speaking, are this whole trust, obviously that’s a huge thing. Right? and specificity,

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

In your communication, because that, that feeling of intimidation that you’re experiencing, Tammy, one of my coaching questions would be like, what does that feel like in the moment? Like, can you take yourself there? And, and where do you feel that in your body?

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

Does your hands start to sweat? Do you start to feel your chest pounding? Like, what are the specific things? And then I’d start having this whole conversation with you about it generally is trying to inform you of something. Is it that you do not feel confident in what you are saying or how you’re saying it or is what you are doing is somehow being in conflict with your values or you feel that this individual, or this employee is testing your values or doing something against your values, and starting to come to a point of clarity and specificity for your own self, to be able to first manage yourself and have specificity about your own behaviors and, internal communication, because that’s going to inform how you deliver it, how, how you perform. Whether that’s micromanaging and not being able to delegate, or being able to give up some of those reigns and communicate freely to say, I’m confident enough in myself that I can do this job, that I don’t have to do their jobs on top of my job, that I am valuable to this organization for the experience and the expertise that I have, and that I’m willing to learn.

Joe:

Mm-Hmm, <affirmative>, you know, I, I think too part of that process of noticing, right, when, when we’ve been switched on in that moment, right? Some people use the word triggered, right? If you’re in that moment and this person starts engaging in the, the specific behaviors you’ve described as challenging or condescending and you can notice what your physical reaction is. That’s also gonna dial you into the steps that you then need to take to respond appropriately. Not to react, but to, to have a controlled response. And there are times when, as leaders, we need to be unflappable. I do a lot of or at least I have in the past, done a lot of work with customer experience, and service excellence training, and patient experience training in healthcare. And one of the questions I ask, a lot of people who work in at the front desk, in hospitals and in, in clinics across the country is what’s our first reaction when we encounter a really rude or difficult patient. And I want you to answer, honestly, and most of these folks say, I want that person outta my face as fast as possible. And so what do we do? We, we end up being a little more curt, or we end up being a little less friendly or warm with that person. We move them through our interaction more quickly. And what has happened in that moment is we have allowed that person’s style to lower the quality of our service delivery. And sometimes that happens with bosses too. When someone is pushing back in a way that we might struggle with we have to continue showing up as the calm, confident leaders that people around us need us to be. So if this is an issue of her style, we have to try not to give her the power over your decisions or confidence, right? It’s the, it’s the, the goal of being unflappable when this person is condescending or challenging you in, in the more specific ways that you’re gonna figure out how to articulate your, your goal might just to be the, the duck on top of the water, right? Calmly floating, even though under the surface, your legs are turning like crazy. So that, that, there’s a piece of that here that I think is connected to what you just said, Alyssa, about noticing our physical responses.

Alyssa:

Yeah. For sure. That can be a, a great way to ground yourself in that moment. So that you, like you said, do not have to be reactive. Yeah. You can respond rather than react.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

Um and your reactiveness can be internal. And so that’s a, that’s a whole skill <laugh>.

Joe:

Yes! And, and it requires sort of practice and debrief thing. I, I think, excuse me, I think there’s another angle here. A couple other angles here that, that are worth talking about, I do believe that there are times when employees show up in this way that are rooted in insecurity. You know, maybe this employee doesn’t feel valued or respected and for whatever reason has responds to that by asserting dominance. And so this might be a situation Tammy, where if you just turn up the valuing a little bit, you may end up turning down the condescension. Especially if it’s, if it’s performative, right. I’m reminded of that expression where, you know, you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This might be the kind of situation where if you just pull this person aside every once in a while and say, Hey, I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Or, you know, you, you’ve got a lot of experience in this industry. How would you respond to this situation? Or how would you like to see this go? And, and that’s gonna make this person feel valued and respected by you, which may end up turning down that insecurity for them. And that may translate into a, a better quality working relationship. At the root cause of this clearly is that this person doesn’t respect you. And is it because their default setting is to not, and you haven’t earned it yet? Or is this someone who’s just hardwired to not respect people who they see as younger or less qualified than them? That that’s a different kind of conversation. But that respect is gonna have to be earned. If it can be earned, we don’t know yet if it can be earned, but if it can be earned, that’s gonna take time and it’s gonna take some conversations like that, where you maybe pull this person closer, you try to leverage their experience and their wisdom while also setting some boundaries and, and working to, to interact with the kind of common confidence that we’ve talked about here.

Alyssa:

Right. You know, maybe it’s letting them lead a specific project. Hey, I can tell by the amount of passion that you express during our, you know, team meetings, that this is something that’s important to you, and, you know, I’d like to have you take the lead. Here’s what my expectations are. Here’s what I think is important to understand about how I work and what I need in return for, to make sure that we’re on the same page and that communication is free flowing, you know, again, bringing that, that person into the fold, giving them the authority over their own work span.

Joe:

Yeah. Okay, Alyssa, then let’s say that she has worked through all of this. Let’s say she’s tried all of this and with no luck, and this, this direct report of hers continues to be, you know, standoffish or you, we’ve given this person feedback about their style and she’s uninterested in changing. And she keeps engaging in the problematic behavior. You know, whether, whether the employee thinks the manager is unqualified or inexperienced or whatever. She thinks she could do a better job than her, whatever. There is a more direct conversation that potentially Tammy would need to have with this person around this is not okay.

Alyssa:

Um mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Joe:

How would you advise Tammy or in a coaching conversation? How would you prep her for setting a more forceful, direct boundary with this person to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?

Alyssa:

Yeah. So again, this is multiple conversations. This is, you know, multiple times that you’ve talked about specific behaviors.

Joe:

Mm-hmm, <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

Not just your condescending. Not just, you know, you’re, you’re doing this in front of other people and I don’t like it. It has to be specific and it has, you have to make good correlations to what it is it is doing to the team as a whole and what it’s costing the employee themselves.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

Right? Because at some point it’s going to cost them their own credibility.

Joe:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

If these detrimental behaviors continue and that needs to be part of, of a discussion. So after that, then it is a conversation of, okay, we’ve talked about you rolling your eyes. We’ve talked about you talking over me, we’ve talked about you, you know having side conversations during team meetings and on this date this time.

Joe:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

I saw this once again, I observed you doing this, so it’s a written, you know, whatever your organization’s process is, documentation obviously. Um and then it is a commitment to continuing to hold those expectations. And, and maybe it’s making a plan for the interim is to say, you know, when I observe this in the moment, like, if it is something where, you know, the employee is talking over you, you know, routinely or something like that, you know, being abusive in, in that way.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

Um then you need to be able to say, the next time you do this, I will dismiss you from the meeting.

Joe:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

Or I will blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You’ll be sent home for the day. Like, whatever it is, be prepared, <laugh>.

Joe:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Alyssa:

Right. And do it. Follow through. Because part of building trust with the rest of the team is you doing what you say you’re gonna do and following through.

Joe:

You know, one of the things that I’m aware of with Tammy’s email is that this is a trucking company. This is a blue-collar workplace. So there’s a language, there’s a vocabulary, there’s a tone that probably needs to be present in order for Tammy to be heard. It’s entirely possible that, you know, maybe, maybe Tammy is soft spoken and too gentle and that it won’t be until she ratchets up the intensity of her, both her confidence and her ask that she may get through to this person. And so one of the things that I think is really important is for Tammy to seek out some mentors internally, she’s a new manager. She said, she’s been doing this for nine months. So, Tammy, look around your workplace. Who are the other leaders who seem to have earned a lot of respect from direct reports? Especially leaders who might be younger than some of the people that they supervise. Can you connect with some folks and ask for guidance or advice? You know, and asking for mentors is, is actually not as, as complicated as it sounds. Going to somebody and saying, Hey, I’ve got a situation. Would it be okay if I talked with you about it and, and maybe got some advice that’s a great start. And then maybe asking, Hey, would it be okay if we connected, you know, once every couple of weeks? You know, I’m just trying to, to get better and learn from those around me. And I I’d really appreciate the chance to learn from you. And, and, and that, congratulations, you’ve set up a mentoring relationship there. One that’s pretty low risk and low commitment for the other person. And so seeking out mentorship from people in your industry, and especially at your company who know how to maybe deal with some of these kinds of challenges, and that person may be able to advise you on what this person needs to hear from you, you know, in terms of saying to her, okay, this has to stop. I’ve had enough. I’ve given you every opportunity to improve. I’ve tried to be, be as, as amenable and accessible as possible around what you need to show up in a different way, but you have not met me in the middle. And so you have a choice to make right now. We’re either going to help each other succeed on this, or one of us is headed for the door and it’s not gonna be me. You know? And the directness of that conversation can be shaped by the internal mentors. You have to find the right language and the tone for it

Alyssa:

Indeed.

Joe:

Well, Tammy, keep us posted. I’d love to hear from you down the line and whether you were able to make some headway on this, or whether any of our advice spec you know, backfired spec to, you know, we’re open to that too. <Laugh>

Alyssa:

Absolutely. We wanna hear about the fails too. Absolutely.

Joe:

Absolutely. And what say you BossHeroes? If you agree, if you disagree, if you think we’ve missed something in this situation, or if you have a question that you would like us to answer on the show, go ahead and send us an email at BossBetterNow@gmail.com.

Joe:

Well, that brings us Alyssa to our Camaraderie Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie on teams by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. That’s why right here on our show each and every week, we give you a question that you BossHeroes can use at meetings to facilitate connection and build camaraderie. This is an interesting question. I think a fun question, a lighthearted question that will make people go, wow, really? Here it is. Alyssa, what is a popular or well known restaurant that you’ve never visited

Alyssa:

Now, see, this would be an ideal question for the JMA team for be for us as a group to answer because here’s where it would truly build camaraderie. <Laugh> because I too, like Jamie on our team have never eaten at a Waffle House.

Joe:

Oh! No kidding!

Alyssa:

Never. No, no. Never ever have I eaten at a Waffle House. I once ate at an IHOP and I will not ever go back to IHOP <laugh>.

Joe:

Okay.

Alyssa:

But I at least gave it a try once, but Waffle House. I’ve never even, and there’s one locally. I mean, like fairly close by to my house and I, I have never even eaten it that one.

Joe:

So that’s really fun. So last week our, my colleague, Jamie and I were spent a week, the road doing training in a Midwest state. We were doing three big events across the state. And there’s Waffle Houses all over this state. And I will tell you that Waffle House gives me life. I love everything about Waffle House. I love that some Waffle Houses are beautifully clean and other Waffle Houses have like a layer of dirt, but you know, the people are great, the food’s amazing. And it’s just, it’s the best kind of diner experience than you can get in a lot of different places, but we don’t have, I think we have one here in Western Pennsylvania, and you’re right. It’s out by you. But that’s far for me, that’s a solid like hour 20 for me. And so when we were traveling, I started seeing Waffle House signs and I said, oh, there’s a Waffle House. We should go to Waffle House. And Jamie said that she had never been to Waffle House. And I said, oh, we gotta change this. So we did. And Jamie loved it. Loved the coffee, loved the waffle. So we had a great experience and we did joke that we are gonna have to have a JMA team meeting at the Waffle House an hour and 20 minutes away. And now we definitely have to, because you’ve never been there. I’m gonna change your life, Alyssa. You’re gonna go and be like, how have I been missing this? <Laugh>

Alyssa:

Well, it’s nearby the casino. So, you know, maybe afterward there’s could be another excursion.

Joe:

<Laugh> I think we just planned the best team retreat ever. Right. Team meeting at Waffle House <laugh> then a trip to the casino. Okay. I’m game. We’ll give it a shot. I like it.

Alyssa:

Oh, what about you? What restaurant or establishment, have you never dared step foot in?

Joe:

I had to think about this hard because I, I eat out too much anyway, and I travel so much. It feels like I’ve, I’ve been to everything. I will confess that in order to answer this question, I had to go online and look up, like, what are the 200 biggest restaurant franchises in the US.

Alyssa:

Okay.

Joe:

And I did find three places that are in the top 50 that are very popular, that I’ve never been to before. And they’re all very similar. I think my answers are What A Burger, Jack in the Box, and In and Out mm-hmm <affirmative>. So these are three, like fast foody burger chains that I know are very, very popular. But there are none here in western Pennsylvania. I just had a colleague post online the other day. She was speaking for What A Burger and was raving about What A Burger. But I, I no idea what a What A Burger is or tastes like, but apparently it’s great. And I’m a burger guy. Like I could eat cheese burgers every day. If, if you know the health consequences wouldn’t be negative. So I’m gonna have to try them at, at some point and keep my eye open for it. Cuz I’ve heard good things about all of them.

Alyssa:

Yeah. I have never eaten at any of those either. So sames,

Joe:

Sames. I have to be careful about that though, because I will admit I I’ve always been a little bit of a fast food junkie despite knowing that it’s like not healthy. Do you remember there was a documentary a couple years ago from the guy. I think it was Supersize Me, the guy who ate McDonald’s for like a month straight. And then there was a book that I read years ago called Fast Food Nation and wow. All about how these fast food companies actually started out as real estate companies and they own all this real estate and the impact that they’ve had on our economy, really interesting stuff. And most of the time when you encounter somebody who has watched one of those documentaries or read one of those books, they go, Ugh, I’m never eating fast food again. When I watch that documentary or read the book, I just really wanna go to McDonald’s.

Alyssa:

<Laugh>

Joe:

Like on the back of the book, there’s actually like a burger rapper with ketchup on it. And I see that and I’m like, oh man, I want, I want, I want a burger. Thanks makes my mouth water.

Alyssa:

That’s funny.

Joe:

So I gotta, I gotta be careful on the fast food, but I’m gonna have to check out What A Burger or Jack in the Box and In and Out at some point. And then that’s the Camaraderie Question of the Week.

Joe:

All right, friends, Hey, in case you missed it recently, we did announce the date and the agenda for our BossBetter Virtual Summit on Tuesday, June 7th. This is our big virtual conference. It’s a live interactive dynamic program with four, four keynote speakers. And you can learn more about the speakers and the topics over at BossBetterVirtualSummit.com. But here’s the important part. We have created a discount code exclusively for listeners of this show that will give you 50% off of tickets. Just use the coupon code PODCAST. Yes. The word is PODCAST in the next couple of days to get tickets for half price. Again, that’s just going to BossBetterVirtualSummit.com and you can grab tickets for half off with that coupon code PODCAST.

Joe:

Now we’re gonna finish up today, Alyssa, with just a note that I wanted to share with everyone. I am feeling hopeful. I am feeling encouraged. And it’s because I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the idea of being a better boss is kind of sorta having a moment right now. If we have kept our, if you have been paid attention to the news or been reading anything in, in media coverage around why people are switching jobs and changing jobs and what people are looking for this idea of management is front and center. So, so we’ve had this massive battle with the COVID pandemic that went from months long to years long. And it has been a part of the reason there’s this massive recalibration taking place around how work fits into our lives. People are switching jobs at historic rates driven by a desire to upgrade, not just their jobs, but their quality of life. We’ve talked about that here on the show. And in the growing national conversation, taking place around these retention challenges in this job switching. New research is trumpeting again, what prior studies have shown, which is that better bosses matter. So we know that that many factors influence turnover, including wages and schedule and inclusion and mission to name just a few. But perhaps no factor is pointed to again and again, by departing employees than quote unquote management. There scores of research that’s being released like every week right now about where employees are going, why they’re leaving and what they’re looking for in a new role. And so one example is that last year, McKinsey and Company, the, the global management consulting firm published a wide-ranging report detailing why people are switching jobs. And they found that half of all, employees who quit a job say that not being valued by my manager is part or all of the reason why. But we know that this isn’t new. I mean, we say at the end of every show, commitment comes from.

Joe and Alyssa:

Better bosses.

Joe:

That’s right. And we know an employee’s direct supervisor has long been the single most influential factor on an employee’s engagement and retention. And you only have to talk to those folks who have explored a job change to understand the massive role that both good or bad bosses play. But here’s why I’m encouraged. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are finally taking notice. So in response to significant staffing challenges that are facing businesses of nearly every stripe, I think companies and organizations are finally getting wise to the need to, to better develop and support managers in, in ways that lead them to become better bosses. They’re finally, finally, finally starting to understand that great bosses don’t just appear. They are developed. And so if they want a thriving workforce, they’re starting to understand it requires ongoing, ongoing support and training of managers. Um I think there’s another part of that conversation that’s happening too, where business owners and executives are seeing that, Hey, these managers are often trapped between employee expectations and senior leadership who don’t always grant managers, the authority that they need to meet employees needs in the moment. So here’s the help that I think that is coming. And then I’m gonna shut up and listen and give you a chance to react to this. I think the months ahead are going to see employers striving to support managers more than ever before. I think this, this is gonna lead in many places to more coaching and training for bosses around communication and empathetic leadership. I think organizations in order to truly retain employees are gonna have, have to adjust workloads for managers to leave them more space and time to engage in relationship building, to engage in coaching in team building in fun with a purpose. In fact, it is this kind of work, what we sometimes call soft skills. You know, the things that get ignored by too many that I think are gonna become the central role of a manager in those organizations who really take a hard look in the mirror and say, what do we need to do to help people thrive in the new age of work? So some companies right now are driving this change, knowing that it’s crucial to finding and keeping devoted employees and others are gonna soon follow suit, especially as they watch talent depart and then struggle to place them. So that’s why I’m hopeful. I, I, I don’t think it’s gonna happen everywhere, but I think we’re gonna see more of it perhaps than we ever have before I turn things over to you. Are you equally as hopeful?

Alyssa:

I would say I am hopeful. I’m not on the precipice with you. I’m not way out there yet. OK.

Joe:

I see what you did there.

Alyssa:

<Laugh> but I’m, I’m cautiously optimistic. Okay. Let’s call it that. I think that the reason for my cautiousness is that not only is it going to take senior leadership, owners, CEOs reckoning with this expectations of what leaders should be and how they’re putting them in the middle. Right. specifically like with the example that you gave of, of, you know, work allocation.

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

They’re going to have to give people the time and the space that they need in order to become better leaders. Right?

Joe:

Yeah.

Alyssa:

Um the key pieces, the cautiousness for me comes from, we have to then as leaders take the time and the space.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

It can’t just be given.

Joe:

Yes.

Alyssa:

And then you go, oh, okay, great. And then you do more and you continue on with the level of expectation for yourself. We have to also be just as committed, if not more, to rebalancing that for ourselves and lowering our expectations of ourselves. Sometimes I feel like we have done so much just to survive the last few years. I mean, literal survival. And you have to come to a place of okayness with the fact that that was enough and your expectations for normality don’t have to any longer include survival, but they don’t have to go back to this constant hustle. And this constant expectation of doing 150 hours and expecting a thousand percent out of yourself because you’re freaking human and you deserve to have a life that has time and space for you as a human. Yep. So I, I think, think that we have to make sure that when we’re given the time and the space that we take it

Joe:

Yes. Because that’s the job, right? Th there, in order to become better bosses, we have to accept that the role is first and foremost, as people have heard me say again, and again, creating the conditions for people to thrive. It’s coming to work every day and saying, what do these people need from me to be at their best every day? What kind of interactions, what kind of, of reinforcement, what kind of support, what kind of training, what kind of development, what kind of psychological safety, and then I’m gonna work like mad to provide it. That’s the job. If we subjugate that to all the tasks and other duties that live with us, you know, the schedules and the report and the meetings and the more meetings and, oh my God, so many meetings, you know, then, then we end up not being able to create those conditions for people because we’re filling the space with the stuff that doesn’t do that. We, we fill the space with the other busy work. And so there is absolutely a dual partnership that needs to take place here. We need organizations to create more space in the daily lives of bosses to do these things. They need less meetings. They need less administrative tasks and duties in order to be the kind of bosses that actually create the, the humane, supportive, psychologically activating employee experience that lead people to care and try and thrive. So you’re absolutely right. And that is part and parcel what people are looking for too. That’s one of, one of the reasons that managers are switching jobs, because they’re looking around and saying the workload is too crazy. I cannot be successful leading people in this role. So I’m gonna go to someplace else that, that values that. So well said my friend. So I, I feel like if, if you are the kind of boss who has already been hard at work, developing these kinds of skills and taking this approach your stock is rising. And so keep going and know that help is on the way.

Joe:

All right, friends, that’s our show for this week. Don’t forget that the only way to make sure you don’t miss an episode of our show is to subscribe wherever you’re listening. In fact, you can do that right now. Take a moment before you click off, look for that subscribe button and give it a push. Give it a click until next time. Good luck out there.

Alyssa:

This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember commitment comes from better bosses. Visit JoeMull.com today.

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