What Goes Around Comes Around in Employee Relations

My guest blogger today is Don Tanner of Tanner Friedman, a strategic communications firm. Be sure to visit their site, and especially click on the OUR TURN tab to check out some terrific ideas in each of the three categories, Blog, Perspectives, and News.

Don's article below is a perfect compliment to my recent post, The Frontline Equals the Bottom Line. I love Don's line about how leaders sometimes "fire poison tipped arrows directly at their own people." Sad but true.

I hope you enjoy this thought-provoking article!

What Goes Around Comes Around in Employee Relations - by Don Tanner

How do you treat your employees? Do you guide and mentor and set them up for success, or, do you badger and belittle and set them up for failure?

I am continually amazed by stories I hear. How about the boss that does not provide a roadmap for future growth (”Keep on doing what you’re doing”) and then chides the employee when certain un-communicated milestones are not met in their mind. Or, the superior that gives “all or nothing” ultimatums rather than guiding and encouraging the colleague towards success in reaching particular goals.

Such individuals-in-charge seem to operate out of fear and ego. Don’t they realize that they are stifling and paralyzing their greatest resource for sustained and future success – their employees? Sadly, no. And when times get tough, rather than rallying the troops and circling the wagons, they fire poison tipped arrows directly at their own people.

The biggest barrier to change for such individuals, in my experience, is their past successes. “My way works so why not keep doing it” seems to be their motto. What they don’t realize (and find out in time) is that treating people badly always comes back to haunt you. It may take 5 years, it may take 20 years but your reputation (cemented by all of the former employees you treated poorly) will soon precede you and the death knell for your company becomes only a matter of time.

As the 80’s “hair band” Ratt so famously sang: “‘Round and ‘Round.”