Magazine article Workforce

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Magazine article Workforce

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Article excerpt

Beware the Toxic Manager

I was quite surprised at one of the recommendations made by Gillian Flynn in her article, "Stop Toxic Managers Before They Stop You," (WORKFORCE, August 1999). I see vestiges of the evil Catbert!

It appeared that she advocated going directly to the problem manager first, without bringing in that person's manager. Few of us have that kind of authority. Our role has been cast again and again as advisory rather directive (as much as we may want to act directly, even a close partnership does not allow it). Were I to go into a problem manager's office and talk directly about negative behavior in the way Gillian recommends, I'd have my head handed to me not only by that manager, but by the manager's manager, as well as by my own boss!

Until the manager's manager sees the problem, most HR people will have little leverage. The first step is to bring the problem to the manager's manager (assuming that person is not aware of it) and demonstrate the impact of "The Toxic One's" behavior. Only then can you get any movement around the problem.

Pat Dennison HRD Manager Henkel Corp. Kankakee, Illinois

I just read Shari Caudron's article, "HR vs. Managers" (WORKFORCE, August 1999) and wanted to say I loved it! It's rare to see such a big picture perspective of the role of HR. Thanks.

Kevin Osborne Business Development Manager Personnel Management Systems Inc. Bellevue, Washington

Enjoy Giving Recognition

I enjoyed Linda Davidson's article, "The Power of Personal Recognition," (WORKFORCE, August 1999) a great deal because it reinforces a theme I preach in leadership training courses I conduct for supervisors and managers at Emery Worldwide. Since employees are doing good things all the time, managers need to see the value in praising and recognizing them at every opportunity.

One question, though: If giving recognition becomes a performance standard and part of a manager's performance evaluation, does it change the focus of giving recognition from something that a managers wants to do into something a manager has to do? It sounds like it becomes a quota ... if the manager doesn't hand out a minimum number of handwritten notes to deserving employees, it will be reflected in the evaluation. Why not let the manager decide when recognition and praise are warranted? Let the manager experience the satisfaction that comes from praise and recognition, and not treat it as a "goal" the manager has to hit every evaluation period. …

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