Don’t Make Enemies of People You Depend On

Organizational life often feels like being bossed around by people who don’t get it.

Leaders are well served to remember that organizations run on the backs of front-line managers.

Don’t make enemies of people you depend on.

don't make enemies of people you depend on

4 weaknesses of arrogant higher-ups:

  1. Prideful leaders degrade minion-managers. Superiority expresses itself in demeaning behaviors.
  2. Haughty higher-ups avoid spending time with lower-downs. It’s just too inconvenient and time consuming.
  3. Arrogant leaders don’t demonstrate they know, understand, and appreciate the issues lower-downs deal with.
  4. Pompous higher-ups reject input. Minion-managers don’t understand the big challenges anyway.

The motto of snobby higher-ups is shut up and like it.

10 things to remember about “minion-managers”:

  1. Without them, you’re irrelevant.
  2. Morale is more than a cliche’ to front-line managers. They live it everyday.
  3. You hired them for their strengths. Don’t get so consumed with what they can’t do that you forget their abilities.
  4. They stop giving their best when they see you manipulating the numbers to make yourself look good. Posturing at the top inspires posturing on the front-line.
  5. It’s demoralizing to hear “more with less” when you’re doing your best.
  6. They know more about the challenges of getting things done than you. They understand personalities, customers, red tape, and union relations better than you.
  7. In order to connect the big picture with day-to-day challenges, get lost in the weeds for awhile. Understand the nuts and bolts of getting things done.
  8. Those impacted the most by your decisions are most important to success.
  9. Courageous front-line managers keep leadership honest. Don’t ignore them. Embrace them.
  10. Building strong relationships up and down organizational hierarchy is more effective than silos.

Disconnected higher-ups experience self-inflicted tensions with lower-downs.

6 things “minion-managers” want:

  1. Respect.
  2. Appreciation.
  3. Direction.
  4. Participation.
  5. Decisions.
  6. Support.

Don’t pretend you know what respect looks like to a front-line manager. Ask them.

How might leaders help front-line managers succeed?

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