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How to Drop the Hard Act and Evolve

Have you found yourself taking the hard line in production management all your life, from both sides of the fence? Did you come up through the ranks learning from peers that the only way to stay on top was to keep people down?

You've got friends. I've met switched-on, deep-feeling managers who struggle with the paradox of what they've learned by rote, up against the demands of today's working environment. Who love their job, are loyal to their company, but just don't know what to think when it comes to the people they're employed to look after.

Retaining personnel can be a tough call with attrition high, morale low, and communication leaving a lot to be desired. Staff turnover is expensive and you want people to be happy here - even so, you could find yourself wondering which way to turn. Turning things around, however, demands of you to be hard on your habits and go easy on yourself, for a change. You can have the cake of change and eat it, you know - in fact the taste test is a prerequisite!

The engineering environment is full of under-rated people - with managers tending to rank the intellect of their employees according to the position they hold. Alongside this big mistake comes erroneous language... be careful with your chosen terminology! Low-hanging fruit ripens in orchards, you'll be hard pressed to find any on an industrial estate. There are no plebs in your employ, 'production' isn't a separate species - you're hosting staff who would love to increase their sense of worth in relation to themselves and the company. Those wishes are becoming truly paramount, as society recognises mental health as a basic need and engagement earns its place as an essential point of focus.

As a manager in this evolving scenario, your job is to grow along with everyone else. Knowing what engagement means is one thing - knowing how to achieve it quite another. Start viewing mistakes as opportunities to learn how to do things better, and let others in on the problem-solving process. You'll find yourself a) acknowledging people more positively and b) finding new ways to approach long-standing issues.

Take a look at the 7 Steps - a roadmap to follow for the quickest route to alignment. Ask questions, if only of yourself as a first port of call. "Is it good to take the hard line all the time? What am I doing to morale? Do I appreciate best-practice enough?" Remember the 2 Rules of Recognition - take care to praise output, quality and company gains in order to avoid individual bias, and when you do want to recognise someone's personal effort, make it confidential.

You're a good person with a brave heart who wants to do well by the company you love - or you would've flown from this page a while ago. Take it from me, you have the opportunity here in your hands to make a big difference to engagement and alignment - in fact your change of approach to management could make for the biggest difference of all. The truth is out there, as it's within - you are not alone.

Know that is here to chat with in confidence about your personal situation.

#confidentleadership #moraleimprovement #sustainableengagement

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