Ask 8cr! is a section of our blog used as a forum to address the kinds of issues and challenges people are having in the workplace. We take these issues and apply a business book we feel offers a viable solution.
"Your employees are, like you and I, flawed and hopeful human beings whose success is at least partly dependent on your skill as a manager: human beings who will thrive with skillful and consistent attention and wither without it. Kind of like plants."Like plants, one cannot expect employees to grow without creating the right scenario to facilitate growth. Andersen follows the plant metaphor throughout the book (preparing the soil, planning, picking your plants, weeding, spreading, etc.) and reveals methods to truly grow great employees. However, like plants, not all employees are going to be great, and so some must go. But, before that happens, particularly in a scenario like Phil's, where things are potentially hopeful, a manager can find out what causes poor results from the employee (ie, what causes her to "revert to her old ways") to help create a situation where that becomes a less desired path for the employee. Those who've nurtured a sick plant back to health can clearly see how true the metaphor is. As Andersen notes, social styles play a big role, and the first step is to define these - for both the employees and the manager. By doing so, an understanding develops; one that puts the focus on communication and participation, rather than demands and passive aggressive behavior. From there, the real issues come to the surface, and the initial questions can be addressed: Something personal? Frustration with her responsibilities? Concern with management? Her co-workers? With these answers, the manager can either grow a great employee, by working with her on a path toward greater fulfillment and productivity, or, know that it's time to start the weeding process. With these tools, managers can become what Andersen refers to as "Master Gardeners." Pick up this book and get to work on your 'garden.'