Are You a Disengaged Manager?
I’ve been very interested in the issues around employee disengagement. But let’s flip that over. What about disengaged managers? Are we focusing in on disengaged employees when that really isn’t the problem? What if the problem isn’t the employees? What if it is management?
We’ve all seen those managers who manage numbers, not people. A couple of years ago I had a chance to observe an extreme example of that management style.
I had met the prior CEO of this particular business several times and I was always impressed by how engaged he was. He knew most of his staff’s first names – with close to 1,000 employees. He actually knew a lot about them personally. Then he retired.
The new CEO was very different. She tried to avoid speaking with employees and actually came into the building through a back entrance where few would be around. She hired a front line person for her office to block off access as opposed to her predecessor’s open door policy. For her it was all about the numbers.
You can probably guess what happened. Morale used to be high, but dropped dramatically. Employees became increasingly disengaged. The CEO brought in managers who thought like she did. That didn’t help.
The end result? The operation wasn’t doing well. Due to the slump the business ended up being sold to a larger corporation. The new owners took some time to truly assess what was going on. The existing CEO was shown the door. The new CEO is now working hard to rebuild morale. I attended an event with the company recently and he seems to be rebuilding with a much more engaged strategy and personality.
So, what do you think? Is the real problem disengaged management?