Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't be a Jimbo!

In the world of Human Resources, there are not many television shows geared to our profession, especially not reality television shows since so much of HR is very confidiential and sensitive. I have to say though, I’m excited to see the new Undercover Boss reality show on CBS! In many cases I think it will be a wake-up call for the corporate world on what the front line workers really deal with as “executive orders” are handed down.

That just made me think of what it would be like for the President to go “undercover” to see how his “executive orders” effect us out in the “real world”, but I doubt that episode would ever air because he wouldn’t want to face those realities. (I’m done abusing the quotations now. ) Much to my surprise, I am apparantly not the only one who has had thought about this because I just googled ‘Obama Undercover Boss’ and found this great picture by Daniel Kurtzman, a political humorist on

I find it quite humurous that both of the CEOs that appeared in the first two episodes ultimately got fired from one of the jobs in their own company. It puts into prospective the high demand on some of the lowest paying jobs in the organization. I wish that all executive level managers would spend a day in the shoes of those they manage so they could be better managers. I would just love to see Jimbo slap on a skinny Hooters T-shirt and skimpy shorts and try to do half of what those Hooters girls do. Maybe he would then have a bit more respect for them. I loved that Mr. Brooks, the Hooters CEO, said he would let his daughters work at Hooters, but not for Jimbo. Although many people are surprised that Hooters didn’t just immediately fire Jimbo, I have to give them some credit there. Although sometimes, immediate termination is necessary, in most cases (MOST but NOT all) every employee has redeemable qualities. For the most part, employees want to do a good job, and unfortunately sometimes they lose their way through the maze and get lost in the weeds. It can happen to some of the most well intentioned managers. A friend of mine who runs the site, just posted an insightful blog about different management styles, many of which I have dealt with in my career (and I bet many of you have too.)

For those of you that have worked for a Jimbo, I’m sorry. For those of you that tend to BE a Jimbo, wake up! The key to being a successful manager first lies in your approach with employees. If an employee does not respect you, then they won’t work well for you. The BEST way to gain respect is to give respect. This is not a new concept… it’s THE GOLDEN RULE! Treat others the way you want to be treated. It is a simple and timeless truth. Whether that be during a team building excercize, a meeting, training, daily work or even corrective discussions. Although in management there will be times when an employee must be reprimanded or corrected, that can be done tactfully and in a way that is NOT demeaning. Corrective discussions should be handled constructively to BUILD up the employee, not tear them down. Focus on their best attritubutes and help them to overcome their shortcomings by using their strengths. When managers do this, they build a strong team of dedicated workers who appreciate their guidance, direction and leadership.