You’re sitting at your desk, your heart is pounding, questions are filling your head, you feel a bead of sweat sliding down your forehead, and you only just got to work! Only 8 more hours to go, and this is the way you’re starting off your day. Only 8 more hours and you’re already worried what your manager has to say or criticize you on today. You open up your inbox and nothing, it’s just normal everyday email, nothing happened, no email asking why you didn’t do this or do that, no email criticizing your performance or nitpicking detail. So that part of the day is over, now you just have to meet with your manager for your daily meeting. That heart beat is increasing, that bead of sweat is now a waterfall, your mouth gets dry, and you start going through all these things that could go wrong in your head. But turns out it’s nothing, just an average meeting about the days expectations and your off to start or end your day.
How many of you have been in similar situations? If you’ve gotten this far, then you probably have.Why? Because at some point or another you’ve had some sort of clash with your supervisor or manager. I admit there are such things as bad employees, and a lot of the time thats exactly what it is, a shitty employee who just needs to get fired. But there are times where some of us are just trying to do our work, we want to go in, do our job, and leave. For some reason, especially these days, you always have that manager who wants to go above and beyond. Now theres all sorts of reasons for these types of managers, maybe they’ve watched one too many motivational videos on Youtube, but some times it’s because they themselves have their own stress. Meaning they too have managers above them that are pushing them and the stress gets passed down to the lowest rank.
When stress gets passed down, managers at that point really do not care about the human aspect of the employee anymore. If you’ve worked in a warehouse or similar setting then you have seen that management under stress often put more emphasis on getting the workload complete. And what type of leadership is used to get something done? Fear. Many managers know they come off as intimidating, and even use that to their advantage. When a manager leads by fear, employees often want to avoid any conversation with that manager. Chances of that employee making a mistake in his work are increased and when he does the hammer comes down. The manager asks questions the employee has trouble answering, but ONLY due to fear. Due to fear the employee cannot formulate his thoughts, he cannot put his words together, and often times all that comes out is a stuttered incomplete sentence. When this happens the manager continues to ask the employee questions until he can think of no other words, and like puppy who has done something wrong, looks down, apologizes and assures his managers that it will not happen again.
As a manger fear is no way to lead your employees. Using fear to your advantage will only take you so far, remember that most empires built and lead by fear no longer exist today. But this is not article changing minds of the management, this is an article to change the mind of the normal everyday employee. I know you’ve dreamt of the things you wish you can say to your manager, but you need to keep your job, for now at least. I know you want to shut your manager up, i know you’re thinking about how if you were in their chair the things you would do. You’ve probably even given thought of finding a new job or even better, going in to business for yourself. Whatever it is that you want to do, all you know is that you need to keep your job for now, but you want to get rid of that anxiety of dealing with your manager.
First lets talk about why you’re afraid of your manager. No, really. Why are you afraid? You have no reason to be! Are they going to hit you? Is your life or freedom in jeopardy? I’m betting you answered no to these questions. The absolute worst thing that can happen to you is that you can get fired. For a lot of us thats a pretty dam big deal because most of us are working for a paycheck. But even that is not really likely to happen if you truly have a manager that rules out fear. Second thing, and this one is the secret. You need to start reading. You need to read every single day at least half an hour if not more. When I say read i’m talking about non fiction books, any self-help, self-development, biographies. I don’t have any specific recommendations here but when I said non fiction book and a title popped into your head, then you need to begin reading that book at once. Carry it with you, make time to read it, finish it.
When you start reading, many wonderful things start happening in your brain. You don’t have to try and absorb every word and try to make sense of every sentence, if something doesn’t make sense to you re-read it, and if still doesn’t just move forward. If you don’t know the meaning of words, look them up and find out their definitions, and re-read that sentence again. Do all this and you’ll find yourself formulating thoughts better, and when you can formulate your thoughts clearly, you will converse clearly.
As I had mentioned in the subsequent paragraphs, some managers prefer to lead by fear, and when they see an employee unable to answer questions clearly, the chances of that employee making a mistake and being further harassed by his manger has increased. Now take this same employee who previously could formulate no other words than “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again”, have him sacrifice his daily television hour and dedicate to reading for 30 minutes daily. Within a months time I can almost guarantee that this employee will no longer live in fear of being harassed by his manager. Why? Because this man can now think clearly, he knows what words to use and how to formulate his thoughts to give a clear and concise explanation to his managers questions. A manager who leads from fear will often avoid these types of employees as this a major hit to their ego. Even if the employee is the wrong a clear and concise explanation that offers solution will be much highly regarded than a weak “I’m sorry”.
Not all managers are bad people, many are in fact great people who read daily and have either prospered onto much better positions in life or they remain present at their company and continue to add value there. This is about the managers who prefer to lead out of fear, and sadly this present day that is what a lot of management is :Leading by fear, insulting an employee, berating them in front of customers to show dominance. Leading from that type of aspect creates employees who will put more effort and energy into finding other jobs, or finding some way out of their company. So if you manage your employees from fear, and you find an employee reading purely out enjoyment. I suggest polishing up your resume as you may be working for them pretty soon.
-Sumit Singh Randhawa