PART 1 of 2
Your employees talk about you every night at dinner. The meal is placed on the table and your employee’s significant other asks the fateful question, “How was work today dear?” The next words are about you. Sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. Either way they’re about you.
“It was great today, my boss never showed up at the worksite.” Or “It was really aggravating, the boss never stopped by the worksite and left no one in charge.” Or “It was aggravating, the boss never showed, but he left Larry in charge.” Or “Excellent day, I finished ahead of schedule, and my boss was all over me with praise.”
When you come, where you go, and what you do in between are of the utmost importance to your employees. They’ve been conditioned since childhood to please authority: parents, teachers, clergy, coaches, police officers… and now their manager.
This is what we mean by “the invisible spotlight.” Day in and day out, your employees are scrutinizing your every word and every deed. It’s because you wield so much power and influence over their lives and the livelihoods. It comes with the management territory.
Yet the most frequent and fundamental mistake managers make is to underestimate this influence. And make no mistake: the influence is as personal as it is professional.
In particular managers fail to realize that so much of their relationship with employees is forged in brief, unscripted moments. Sometimes the moments are dramatic, sometimes quiet and fleeting. We spend so much time talking with managers about “understanding their management style“ and “developing a consistent management style,” but real management actually happens in the moments: a passing conversation with an employee, a glance of approval or disapproval, a gesture of encouragement when an employee’s confidence flags. These are the flashes of interaction that can make or break your relationship with anyone who works for you.
Tomorrow, we’ll show you exactly what we mean by the invisible spotlight. We’ll walk you through a real life example. An example that’s not at all uncommon. So until tomorrow…