What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?
Well this particular paradigm should be useful to everyone that manages people at work. Understanding it builds a culture of team work, up-skilling, objective setting, raising performance and motivation. The model looks at the relationships between support and challenge and the feelings / behaviour that can be seen.
So the grid spans challenge high to low and support high to low.
How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of challenge, but no support?
Do you recognise this? It is where the business expects you to go the extra mile every day, where work is piled up on people who are expected to cope, but have no mechanisms to access support. This is a really bad place to be because the constant pressure you are under has no release. This is where people trip into the bad stress areas, where illness begins with all the personal and business trauma that can cause. At the very least its hugely frustrating and de-motivating.
How does this happen?
Often because the employee seems to be doing OK, because they never use their assertiveness skills to say “I need help”, “I can’t cope”, “I don’t understand.” There is a responsibility on the employees behalf to help their manager understand.
There is also a legal, moral and business case why managers need to be monitoring this closely. This keeps productivity, efficiency and effectiveness high, which is what we all want, but doesn’t burn people out.
How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of support, but no challenge?
On face value many of us would relish this particular outcome. However on examination its not a really good place either. This is where you don’t have to make any decisions, you are spoon fed data and information. Anything of value that needs to be done, anything that might make an impact is done by someone else. Usually the manager. It makes us become dependant, unable to assert opinions, fearful of making errors. It de-skills the employee.
How does this happen?
- The manager doesn’t want to overload the employee, wants to make sure that they are safe and happy in their work, doesn’t want the person to feel stressed by a task or situation. The manager feels this is a form of kindness to the employee, many managers think its their job to protect the team from everything. The DUVET feeling. Wrap you up carefully so no harm can come to you…. patronising, humiliating and in the long term de-skilling. If you have got children you might recognise this!
- The manager simply can’t do without you, but doesn’t TRUST you. This happens frequently in operational business’, where the manager allocates menial tasks to workers and they do them. When any decision needs to be made the employee MUST NOT make it, because the manager loses control…. Positional Power (click for previous blog) in action.
How does it feel to work in a business where there is no support and no challenge?
Ever had a summer vacation job when a student? This is it. Nothing really to do, no one to supervise you, no one to give you more to do. You are a minion and get paid for being present. You can last a summer holiday, but not much longer. We all need some strokes of recognition, acknowledgement.
Organisations that create this culture haemorrhage staff. People will mark time until a new opportunity shows up then they leave. Frequently without notice, well why would you give any?
How does it feel to work in a business where there is an appropriate amount of support and appropriate challenge?
How does this feel?
The kind of place you work hard in.
The kind of place that’s really good at what it does.
The kind of place you want to be.
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