Changing Boses Changes Work Habits

in Manager

An easy way to change work habits of your employees is to change their boss. However not just any change will do. The new boss must have a different personality than the old boss.
This is according to a survey recently issued by Randstad. They found that 55 percent of employees say change your work style based on personality of a new boss.
Generational stereotypes come into play, as can be seen when we dig deeper into the numbers. Younger workers are more open to changing their work habits to align with the new boss. This underscores the team mindset of Generation Y. Members of his generation experience teamwork throughout their lives. It begins in daycare and continues through college. Classroom setup and project assignments given to this generation throughout their academic life centered on teamwork. Once a new boss arrives this generation is compelled through this upbringing to follow the lead of the new supervisor.
Members of the Builder/Traditionalist Generation are stereotyped to be set in their ways. Advertisers generally avoid this demographic because researchers found they are less likely to change buying habits. The generation has already discovered the products and services they like and the loyalty factor of this generation precludes them from changing the preferences. When a new boss is assigned to members of the Builder Generation, they continue to work with the methods they are accustomed to using.
The survey also showed that only 38 percent of bosses are respected for his or her business expertise in spite of the fact that the boss has good people skills. This disappointment in the people skills of supervisors was strongest in the Baby Boomer and Builder generations. In other words, the more mature (in year at least) workers feel their bosses have sufficient business expertise to do their jobs while having difficulty working with the employees they supervise.
The Randstad findings provide tremendous insight into the effective management of problem workgroups. By evaluating the generational complexion of the group we can increase our success rate at fixing the problem workgroups. Here's how:
Problem workgroups of predominantly mature workers

When a group consisting mostly of Baby Boomers and Builder Generation employees is being problematic or unproductive you have two viable solutions.
First, you can provide people skills training to the current manager. Try using a multi-rater feedback program to determine the exact areas where training is needed. Your investment could easily be recouped by the more productive workforce.
The second alternative is to replace the existing manager with a manager from any generation that is more people oriented. Surveys have shown older workers are now less put-off by having a younger manager, provided the younger manager has good people skills.
This is a riskier approach as it assumes the former manager was the problem. It could very well be the workers themselves have developed a culture where the manager automatically assumes an intrusive role resented by the group. The multi-reader feedback program would have exposed this and provided a correction path that would have prevented the management change in the first place.

Problem workgroups of predominantly younger or mixed-age workers

Often workgroups comprised of predominantly younger or mixed-age workers that have become problematic can be linked to a manager that is not team oriented.
Teaching the existing manager team skills and generational understanding often provides a solution to the problems. Valuable resources include the aforementioned multi-rater feedback program and people skills training will be effective in this scenario. Executive coaching can be another positive step in fixing the problem workgroup.
Why focus on the manager
It may seem that I have placed all or almost all the blame for the problem workgroup on the manager. This is because in most instances it is the manager that is the solution to the problem workgroup. The employees themselves have the ability to fix the problems but it will take a leader to guide them through the process. This leader can be a member of the workgroup itself. But because the problem workgroup has continued its problematic ways, the indication is that no leader stepped up from the ranks of the group.
Likewise, the boss has not taken a leadership role to fix the problem.
Because managers and supervisors exist to extract talent from individuals and synergies from the workgroup, the manager must ultimately bear responsibility. Therefore the solution needs to start with the manager.
"Employees' professional development and morale should always be a priority for employers, and especially in an economic slowdown when employees may feel additional burdens," said Eric Buntin, managing director, marketing and operations for Randstad USA.  "A healthy employee-employer and relationship greatly contributes to an overall positive workplace attitude.  Employers who connect with their employees create an environment where workers are more engaged in their jobs.  Ultimately, this increases retention and productivity, both of which tie directly to a company's financial success."  

Diagnosis is the most important aspect of fixing problem workgroups. Managers and workgroup members are easy to replace during this time of high unemployment. However it is a very expensive proposition that often gives us a result similar to where we started.
Because current economic conditions do not allow for wasting money on employee turnover, best practices and retention are essential. Effectively training and developing our current employees always provides positive return on investment.

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Rick Weaver has 1 articles online

Author Rick Weaver is founder of Max Impact, a leadership and business strategy development company. His white paper "You're Not Running a Vineyard -- so stop your whinning!" provides insight into lame excuses for poor performance, is one of the complimentary resources available in the MaxImpact Resource Center.

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Changing Boses Changes Work Habits

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This article was published on 2010/03/31