I’m not here to make friends- maybe you should be
Steve was hired as the new associate vice president of the mid west region.
The last four quarters, his division faced declining production and slipping revenue. Investors were concerned; the board was ready to take prisoners. Steve was the solution.
He inherited a beleaguered staff. The morale was low, and turnover increasing. Several reports had errors and projections were not accurate. The remaining staff operated in fear. Steve figured he had to “lower the boom” to straighten out the division. He held early meetings, insisted on weekly accounts of departmental time, and shaved 15 minutes off the lunch period. The staff responded. Some quit while others spiraled further into a mild depression.
After his first month he abruptly leaves a staff meeting barking, “nothing had changed!” There were still errors, still problems, and still low productivity. His assistant was on his heels as he marched into the office. He slammed the door as the assistant entered. Steve punctuated his small tantrum with the comment “I’m not here to make friends!”
The assistant quietly looked up from her note pad and simply stated, “Maybe you should be…”
Often new executives take on a job that requires restructuring, reorganization or some other tough decisions. A common mantra is “I’m not here to make friends.” However, while staff may not be invited for Thanksgiving dinner or birthday parties, they are people who consume most of our waking time. We should strive to be friendly.
Whether someone is the boss, or a middle manager, everyone has a responsibility to be civil and courteous.
Developing a rapport with staff in which office friendships can flourish can go a long way to developing internal motivation and productivity. People who MUST work will work the terms of the contract and leave when the listen blows. People who TRUST are motivated by an affinity for the job and people around them will go the extra mile to meet objectives and maintain a positive environment.
Maybe the problem with office morale is someone needs to be there to form office friendships.