Dear HR, Hire Leaders Not Overseers
It’s a cold, Monday morning in late February. It’s 6:00 a.m. “Chirp, chirp chirp!” My alarm clock goes off, and I sit there for a moment, meditating and giving myself a pep talk about going into work. I was informed the previous Friday afternoon that they were switching things around a bit, so I would be getting a new manager. Oh, joy. I was not a happy camper, as ”Ms. Gnat’s” reputation preceded her. She had only been with the company a few months, but she was an older lady and upper management raved about her extensive experience and technical know-how. However, a good number of us “common folk,” who weren’t upper management who had run-ins with her, mentioned that she had a bad attitude and an unfriendly disposition. I began looking at the glass half full for a moment saying to myself, “I’ve only had limited interaction with her; once when she first got here, and then in a few meetings. Maybe those people just caught her on a bad day. Things will work out just fine.”
I walk in, unusually earlier for me, about 7:45 a.m., and ride the elevator up to my new floor. I sat down and started checking my emails per usual. Ms. Gnat comes by my jail cell, I’m sorry I mean cubicle, at 8 a.m. sharp to say good morning, check-in, and briefly discuss the changes. She leaves, and that was that. I, then, finish checking my emails and began my tasks for the day. That first day went well. I was productive and was left to do the job that I had been doing for almost two years now. Cool. This was going to be A-Okay!
Only in a perfect world could things have continued like they had that first day. Before the week ended, things with my new management situation had made a turn for the worse. Thursday I got up to go to the restroom. I went on another floor because someone blew up the one on the floor I was on. I also bumped into a manager that was in town from another state, and talked to him shortly. I may have been away from my desk anywhere from 8 – 10 minutes. I come back to a post-it note plastered to my computer screen that says, “Call me,” from Ms. Gnat. I call, and immediately she says, “You weren’t at your desk when I came by. Where were you?” I replied, “I went to the restroom.” Then she goes, “Ok.” *Click* Mmkay, so she didn’t want anything? Just wait it gets better.
As the days rolled on and turned into weeks, the post-it notes became a regular thing. I guess that wasn’t enough so she decided to up the ante. One day, I’m sitting there doing my work, and she comes by and stands over my shoulder. I stopped and asked, “Do you need something from me?” She said, “No,” and continues to just stand there watching me work. Tell me why she would come and do this at least every other day? When she would have something to say in regards to something she needed or wanted done, she spoke to me in a very condescending manner. She was like a gnat at a barbecue, unpleasant and annoying as hell. Shit was getting ridiculous.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she said, “Are you having medical issues that are keeping you from being at your desk when you need to be there since you always claim you’re at the restroom?” “No, I do not,” was my response.
The response in my head was, “Ma’am, I can’t help it that you don’t have enough to do where you’re checking on me every five minutes, and decide to put a post-it up every time I decide to go empty my bladder.” Mind you, I did not take lunches, so I’m guessing she literally wanted me sitting there for 8 hours straight. No ma’am; that was not going to happen.
I kindly wrote my resignation letter, and gave it to her by hand. It stated that I could not work under those conditions, that she made my job harder than it needed to be, and that I couldn’t be addressed the way she did any longer. She read it, huffed and puffed, and said, “I did not talk to you any kind of way! We have all of that work to do, and you need to be at your desk!” *Thought cloud* “Well, if you weren’t so busy playing overseer you could’ve had your share of the cotton picked because mine was getting picked, and picked before deadline!” I opted to give her a simple “Ok” and walked out.
This was one standout experience that I wanted to share; however working for and with different companies in various industries has afforded me the opportunity to come into contact with all types of people and management. One thing that has been fairly consistent in the managers that I have come across, with the exception of about 3, were that they were very competent on the technical side of things, but suffered severely in interpersonal skills.
When going through applications and sourcing candidates who will be supervising others, hiring managers should pay equal, if not more, attention to the candidate possessing exceptional people skills. Your supervisor knows the ends and outs of your systems, has the educational background, and work experience, however, if they have poor people skills guess what? There won’t be any people there for them to manage! You will have high turnover rates, and let’s face it, who wants to train new people all of the time? What is “No one” for $500, Alex.
Hiring managers should also be sure to hire people who they trust to do their jobs, and do them well with little to no supervision. The job of a manager is to delegate, provide assistance when needed, and to motivate, not to babysit or micromanage. Managers should be reminded of this during the on-boarding process. Hiring competent people who you have faith in, and management knowing their role is crucial to the success of the departments within your organization.
Bad management can deter people from wanting to work for you, and you can really lose great talent that way. Managers shouldn’t make work harder; they should be giving people the tips and tools needed to allow things to run smoothly and more efficiently. Happy employees are productive employees; and, in turn, are long-lasting and loyal employees. Hiring managers please be mindful of the management you put in place. It affects not only your need to fill that vacancy, but also affects your organization as a whole.