Is It Difficult to Manage One’s Employees Well?

Is it difficult to be a manager? Many people will say, “No” and will be wrong. In order for employees to love and respect their manager, she has to become skilled and wise. Indeed, the manager has to control the work of each employee and the team as a whole, as well as represent the interests of her team before top management. To a large degree, effectiveness and comfort of business relationships in an organization depend on its manager. Successful relationships between a manager and her employees should be based on Confucius’s rule, which says that one should not do to others that, which one does not want others to do to oneself; therefore, a successful manager should be fair, has to disallow conflict, and must be truthful.

First, a successful manager must be fair. Then no employees will disobey her directives. Over two thousand years ago, Aristotle proved that the essence of human relationships is in giving and receiving. Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations, wrote that “it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” ASU professors Kreitner and Kinicki, in their book Organizational Behavior, assert that praise and recognition should be tied to specific results.

Second, a good manager has to disallow conflict. Paraphrasing Pluto, it is easy to find a mistake; difficulties begin when one tries to fix it. That is, by criticizing an employee, the manager has to point out specific ways of fixing the employee’s mistakes. Seneca wrote that the strongest person is one who can manage herself. That is, a manager has to be moderate in expressing negative emotions toward her employees. An ancient Chinese proverb says that if one does not have a smile on her face, then one should not open a store. In other words, when dealing with employees, a manager has to smile at least once in a while. This promotes a conflict-free problem resolution.

Finally, a manager must be truthful. For example, at Ritz Carlton, which is a model hotel business renowned for its treatment of both guests and employees, each employee is given $2,000 to fix any problem a guest encounters. So far, they have not had any abuses of this privilege. Confucius wrote that when the king likes the truth, none of his subjects will dare to be untruthful. According to Dale Carnegie, by allowing the possibility of being wrong, one will never be in an embarrassing situation. Such position of a manager will inspire her employees to express the same conscientiousness and honesty.

Hence, the success of a relationship between a manager and her employees mainly depends on the manager, who should always follow Confucius’s rule: in business, never do to others that, which one does not want others to do to oneself. Indeed, people do not like unfairness toward themselves, do not want conflict, especially with their manager, and can only trust an honest person. Is it difficult to manage one’s employees well? Yes, it is. However, if the manager always tries to put herself in the place of her employees, then a successful relationship between them will become reality, not myth.

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