Empowering Managers to Deal with Employee Issues

If your employees are not flourishing, what is your strategy to turn the situation around?

Whether employees are dealing with work stress or personal stress, it doesn't need to suck the life out of them or their manager. I hear all the time about managers who have been through training but still avoid dealing with employee stress and other issues involved with managing people. Or they do poorly at it and end up with claims of harassment against them. It's very frustrating for everyone, especially for HR, who often end up having to deal with issues when they escalate into conflict, absenteeism, and claims of workplace bullying or harassment. It's not healthy for the organization, employees or the manager, and it stifles the potential of the team and severely limits the manager's own opportunities for advancement.

The main problem I hear about over and over again is a lack of confidence. They either don't know how to deal with people issues because it doesn't come naturally to them or they have never been trained and coached to learn and master the soft skills needed to navigate such relationships with empathy and professionalism.

Knowledge vs Skills

This is an important point. They might know what to do - but not how to do it in the atmosphere and the culture they are operating in. Training alone is not enough. Even managers who have received training can easily fall back into complacency and avoidance, and often do. No one masters skills without practice. That's why strategy and coaching is are so important. They go hand in hand.

Executives and HR managers know coaching is the most potent tool for inducing positive personal change, ensuring better-than-average odds of success and making the change stick for the long term.

~ The Ivy Business Journal

What's the difference between training and coaching? The intention of training is to transfer knowledge from the trainer to the trainee. Good training includes relevant information and, in some cases, tools to assist with implementation. It should be developed by one or more people who have subject matter expertise and who are skilled with adult education techniques. There must also be an evaluation of the trainee's understanding of the key things they need to understand - in the opinion of the training developer. That may be in the form of a quiz, test, demonstration, roll play, answering questions in a case study, etc. If it doesn't include some sort of evaluation, then it is education, not training.

Coaching on the other hand is all about developing, enhancing and mastering knowledge and skills. It's about application in the real world - for a manager, it's about the world that they have to navigate on a daily basis. A good coach asks good questions and gives the manager being coached the opportunity to think for themselves, become more aware of themselves and others, what works and what doesn't work, and why. They provide tools and guidance that are relevant, useful and timely in overcoming the challenges that the manager is faced with. They help the manager step into their capacity to grow and succeed. They also know the boundaries between coaching and counseling, and are careful not to overstep.

How do you know if you or your managers need coaching?

Ask. Look at the business results. Look at the stress levels. Look at whether work is a joy or a dread. Listen to what they and others are saying (e.g. employees, other managers, customers, etc.).

I feel like I'm on the verge of burnout.

I don't feel confident in dealing with people issues. I'm so tired - I didn't sleep last night because I was worried about having to talk to...

We are entering a new era of younger people moving into management positions. Laws around how we treat our employees are changing. Social movements are increasing awareness and expectations among employees about entitlement to a psychologically and physically healthy and safe workplace. All of this puts a lot of pressure on managers, both new and experienced. Managers need to be well-equipped.

People who want to stand out at work or face a job crisis increasingly turn to career coaches.

~ The Wall Street Journal

Are you a new manager with hopes of a wonderful and prosperous career? Or perhaps you are an experienced manager who is struggling with people issues. Ask for coaching. If you can't get it through your employer, don't let that stop you. Value yourself. Invest in your own development. It will improve your results faster than anything else and give you greater peace while you master your skills.

Are you a director or employer who is frustrated with how your managers are dealing with people issues? Don't just throw training at them and expect sustainable results. Value them. Invest in them. It will be the best business decision you ever make. ■

I am very interested to hear your thoughts. Please leave me a comment and I will get back to you. If you would like to have a more focused conversation, I invite you to contact me directly to schedule a private call to discuss your unique needs.


Liz Horvath is the Founder of Hale Health and Safety Solutions and an experienced Psychological Health and Safety Consultant. She brings over 20 years of experience in occupational health and safety and workplace mental health combined with experience in disability and claims management. She is known for navigating complex and controversial issues in health and safety, making them easier to understand and helping clients see a clear path forward.

Liz has worked with all levels of leadership throughout her career, helping them to significantly reduce their incidents and claims costs, while improving their business results. She has worked with organizations in nearly all industries throughout Canada. She was Project Manager for the creation of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and is a sought-after international speaker and trainer on psychological health and safety and leadership.

Liz’s goal is to make work a great part of life for as many people as possible, especially for the younger generations, as they step into their own professional and leadership roles.

For more information, visit halehealthandsafety.com or contact Liz Horvath directly at ehorvath@halehealthandsafety.com.

#mentalillness #toxicworkplace #chronicmentalstress #coaching

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