People gain their self-esteem from their work

Work takes up the majority of one’s life. The contributions we make, the feedback we receive, the new opportunities – all contribute to our self-esteem. When people feel good about their work, they communicate better, establish better working relationships, and feel more positive. When people are not treated fairly, they hold back ideas, don’t help their peers as much and sometimes might even have negative things to say to customers about where they work. All this is bad for the business.

The role of the manager

There have been many theories established and management books written discussing what a manager is and what a manager should do. In my view, the most important aspect and often overlooked area of management is how people are included at work. It is not enough just to assume that because a person has a job, might be paid well and has an office, they are included. People need more from their work.

What people need out of their work

I have observed that people require the opportunity to make a difference in their work. This grows stronger as people get closer to their mid-thirties and beyond. Managers play a huge role in this. A manager has the ability to meet many needs that people have at work. One of these is the need to be included. When people feel included at work, they are more creative, have more energy, and have more capacity for innovation. This is good for everyone! More problems get solved and better relations exist, which all translates to the bottom line of profitability for the organization.

What prevents managers from including people?

Although not discussed often, this can be a result of a bias that a manager might have towards some of the workers. This can be a result of misunderstanding someone’s culture, being afraid to discuss and offend others, being afraid of discrimination charges, or just being afraid to open up to new ideas and new views about others.

What is a bias?

A bias is simply an inflexible belief about a particular group of people. This can be based on race, gender, political, and many other factors. Our biases come from many sources. I have observed that many biases are simply a result of incomplete information about others. People can get rid of their bias but it is a hard work, which is well is worth it. As a result, managers who have defeated their biases will find improved working relationships with those they manage and improved morale and productivity at work.

Do you have a bias?

Review this list of names for a moment;

Sam
Muhammad
Ajish
Pang
Juanita
Emeka
Olga
Shameka
Juan

Now, write down your first thoughts which come to mind. Now examine your first thoughts. First, if you find you didn’t write anything down, this is a good sign that for these names which represent a particular group of people, you don’t have a bias. If, however, you did write down a word or thought, examine where this belief might be coming from and whether it might be a result of incomplete information. Imagine for each name where you wrote down something, how this might impact your behavior at work with those who have similar names?

The best manager is self-aware and includes others

The more self-aware you are, the more likely you will be able to defeat your own personal biases and have better relationships at work. Ask yourself, does your bias affect your ability to hire the best people? Does your bias interfere with your group’s productivity? Does your bias keep you from including people?

Do you include people at work?

If not, examine what the reasons might be and aim to fix them. The people you lead will appreciate this and you will get better results with people!

l’ll be cheering you on as you go!

Craig Nathanson


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Joyful work and humanistic leadership from Dr Craig Nathanson:

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