Time and time again, I hear from all levels at a company that accountability is an issue. I immediately look to see if supervisors are suffering from “Manager Guilt”. This guilt stems from an inability to give their direct reports effective feedback and an inability to coach and grow their team.
To discover if Manager Guilt exists at your company start with this question: “If this employee were to come in and resign today, would I try to keep them?” If the answer is no, work to understand why. What has the manager done to improve this employee’s performance? Perhaps they have done all the right things and the employee has been given both the opportunity and the resources to improve and still has not met the mark. It is much more likely, however, that their underperformance comes from a combination of the following:
- Roles are not clearly defined.
- Managers are not properly trained on coaching and giving feedback.
- Managers are not supported.
- Managers are not matched to their role.
- Employees are not matched to their role.
Managers feel guilty when someone underperforms because they know that they haven’t done everything in their power to help that employee grow and develop. Mostly because they don’t know how to.
The rapid growth and constant change in a small business make finding the time to define roles, match people to those roles and to properly train your next level of management seem impossible. But managing and leading people is the single most difficult aspect of running a company and no one should be thrown into it without the proper training, resources and support. If you take the time today to train and develop your managers, and teach them how to train and develop their employees, it will pay huge dividends down the road. Specifically when you’re not stuck dealing with people problems all day.