A friend recently started a new job and in the first week had been given an informal induction by an assortment of his new colleagues. There was no formal local induction into the role although there was a corporate process which luckily he had managed to catch a few months before as part of a part time role he held. As a mature individual (yes over 50!) he was keen to settle into this new post quickly so that he could add value to the organisation and begin to enjoy making a difference. It came as a bit of a surprise then that the most valuable bits of information that came his way all came to him via informal discussions or as a result of his own questioning.
One of the most interesting things that emerged from the informal induction was that the unit manager had a very strict dress code but he had never actually passed this piece of information on. My friend ‘discovered’ this information after witnessing the manager telling another colleague not to return to the unit wearing the clothes he had turned up in. It was an embarrassing moment for all concerned and one that could so easily have been avoided by simply telling people what was acceptable to wear and what was not.
The incident raised more troubling issues – what other information has not been passed on to employees? This lack of communication sends critical messages to employees that managers prefer to catch people doing things wrong, rather than the more nurturing and supportive approach of catching people doing things right! Praise and recognition in the workplace is an essential component to good management and goes a long way to make up for any other employment deficiencies that we may face.
I think it is time that as managers of people we all look harder to find people doing things right and giving praise where it is due.