The most important skill to improve on, in my case, is coaching and counseling. I need to acquire the necessary tools to work effectively with other people’s attitudes in the workplace. I recognize that counseling is more difficult for me than coaching may be because I have been involved in cases where the employee’s behavior is a negative one. As a manager, you have to be careful because some people’s reactions could be worse than the problem. I have not had the opportunity to work with a positive situation because positive situations were usually addressed by the General Manager or someone in a higher position. Correcting negative problem behaviors is something not everybody is prepared to deal with.
From the suggested assignments, I chose No. 4 (two mini case stories). Both cases are from the same company where I worked for eleven years. The first case is based on real events that happened to my former supervisor. The case involved a person-oriented instead of a problem-oriented communication. My former supervisor worked as a Team Leader in the Personnel Office department of a powerful wholesale store. After three years in the position, the General Manager found out that there were many employees complaining about the services they were supposed to receive from the Human Resources department. The Manager approaches the team leader to help her improve her performance. However, rather than on focusing on the real problem, she focuses on the personal characteristics of the team leader, which is a big mistake. The Manager said, “you have to realize that you are a Black woman, so you need to be nice with the employees more than anyone else in the company.” The second case is based on the experience of my former Marketing Director and involved owning communication. In many occasions, she facilitates meetings where the employees participate in brainstorming; her favorite expression was “get off the box.” She wanted to listen to positive suggestions from everybody in the department, even if those suggestions were not in accordance to the company’s policies. She always says that “[it] is better to give apologies than to ask for permission.” Most of the time, we exceeded our sales goals. Nevertheless, she received verbal coaching from the general manager, not for her performance but for not following the rules. She always took responsibility for the decisions we made as a group.
You have to know that the situations you experience in the workplace may have a specific meaning. I had the opportunity to talk again with people with whom I shared a long period of my life. We shared moments together, both good and bad. In the end, we were a big family.
I learned that managers need to be careful and that they need to put in practice many concepts for themselves primarily to understand the people they will manage.