Does a good child result in a future good employee? Often they do, however, a Manager can often make the same mistake managing a good employee as the mistake a Parent makes with their good child. Unfortunately, the consequences for a manager are far more dramatic. An employee can choose to change their place of employment while a child can never change their family.
Parents often direct the majority of their attention, energy, focus and finances on the child that is the least responsible, least mature/respectful, and least dependable while seemingly ignoring or taking for granted the needs of the “good child.” In defense of the parent, it is assumed that there is less to worry about the good child since the child has proven to be self-efficient and self-motivated while possessing a good character foundation.
The bitter irony of the situation is that rather than the good child feeling proud, they often feel as though they are viewed as the lesser child. There is a perceived punishment for being good. They receive less attention. There is less support (emotionally or otherwise). The topic of conversations is often directly related to the sibling’s situation rather than about something relevant to the good child. Quite frankly, there is a perception of being loved less.
But as previously stated……a child can never change his/her family. Therefore although the situation is sad, “it is what it is” and must just be accepted or tolerated by the good child. But, in business, a good employee is not forced to simply accept or tolerate a situation in which they are made to feel inferior to a co-worker. They have the option to make a career change.
Similar to a parent, it is easy for a manager to tunnel vision their focus on a problem employee. A good employee is efficient, self-motivated, innovated and profitable. Since there are rarely any issues or concerns with good employees they are often “out of sight….out of mind”. However, issues with problem employees always appear to have a spotlight on them. Therefore, it requires attention. The critical key for a manager is to effectively balance the level of attention and accountability among all employees.
The time the manager invests in an inferior employee in an effort to raise them up to an acceptable productivity/quality level must be balanced by the same level of time invested in acknowledging the highly effective employees for a job well done. General communications should not be focused on the topics of the troubled employee (basically implying that the problems are the result of all employees) but praise the overall success of the team with a footnote that the goal is that all employees will ultimately achieve the same goals.
In the end, it is important to remember that the number one reason that an employee makes an employment change is not money, company, or position. The number one reason an employee decides to stay with a company or leaves a company is the relationship and level of appreciation the employee feels from their direct manager. It may sound pathetically hyper-emotional but it is important for a manager to frequently look in the mirror and objectively reflect on your behavior toward different employees. Are you taking them for granted like a good child? If so……realize that the lack of love felt by that good child may have just cost you a very good employee.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.