I was visiting with an old friend the other day, and found out that he, like so many of us, is on the brink of a 'major work burn out.' After spending some time finding out why, it was obvious that there seemed to be some serious issues with what he's supposed to be getting paid to do, versus what he's actually being made to do. After listening to everything he had to say, I thought it to be an important topic for all of us to get a little education on, and maybe learn how to find a balance between wielding the power, but not abusing it...
Pushing Too Far
So how far is too far? And when does it become abuse you might ask. For anyone who's been the boss or managed a company, they know that there is a very fine line between 'far' and 'too far' and any good boss or manager knows exactly how far to go to get the most out of their employees without pushing them over the edge. I've wielded the power a few times in my life, and found that the fine line is quite simple; as long as you and your employees stick to the contract. If there is work added to what they are already doing, understand that they had a full plate to start with, do not expect them to be able to fill more positions than humanly possible, even if they might be kind enough to lend a helping hand. A good boss recognizes the benefits to employees that go that extra mile for them, making sure not to expect more then they can give. Keeping an employee (that does his job well) comfortable and happy in the work place is a very important factor in your company's success, especially if their position is unique, and one that is hard to replace.
Balancing Power and Respect
Power! Everybody wants it, but very few understand that "He, who holds the power, is also held responsible." What I mean by this is that when there are problems, the person who takes on the position of power is also the person who has the responsibility to fix the problems and finish any unfinished business. This being said, if the business that wasn't finished was from an overworked employee, I would also think twice before pushing for too many answers on why, as the answer should already be clear. Respect your employees that give extra to your company, don't harass them when a break is needed for them to continue being a benefit to you.
Using and Abusing
Have you ever heard the old saying "Give an inch and they'll take a mile?" If not, then let me explain: basically it's what I've been saying all along, just the other way around. A smart employee will always give 100% to the company he/she works for, but if he/she is asked to do more then what their position requires, the employee will also be smart enough to know when the one who holds the power is asking too much. Squeezing every last ounce of energy out of your employees and discarding them like trash, when you're the one who benefits from all their hard work, might be a clever ploy to get to the top quicker, but it is an evil ploy of 'using and abusing' and one that holds uncomfortable consequences, I can assure you!
There will always be a few employees in every business that don't work well together for one reason or another, but sometimes this can get way out of hand — and this is where "deception" enters into the picture. It's sad, but true: there are some people (who probably need therapy) but instead, will have their therapy sessions at their work place, and if they don't happen to like you, they can make your life miserable and even go as far as working overtime to find ways to make you appear as though your'e not doing your job. Eventually creating enough doubt, frustration and confusion with your boss to get you fired.
When Does the Abuse Stop?
As I explained to my friend, "The abuse stops when YOU take control." Control comes in many forms, and understand that if you choose to work for someone else, then you have to accept the fact that you have to play by their set of rules — and sometimes that means putting up with more crap then normal. At the same time, if the abuse is too much, then you must draw the line, as sometimes the boss needs to know your limit. The only true way to have total control and stop abuse, is to own and be successful at your own business. Don't be a slave to anything in your life, because the minute you work for someone else, create debt and have an expensive lifestyle, you are a slave to it. Take control of your life — don't let it take control of you.
Last but not least: He who holds the power should always give recognition openly and without restraint, where recognition is due (even if it is intimidating), and I don't mean a hug or a pat on the back. What I do mean is, if an employee has worked hard and given extra to your company, don't expect them to keep at this wonderful pace all while lining your pockets, and making you great forever, if you don't give them personal recognition for a job well done. My father taught me at a very young age that the way to the top is through a well taken care of, "happy" secretary, and he was right. He took extra special care of his secretary and in return his secretary took better care of him then my own mother did: He retired a very wealthy man, and his secretary retired with my father's full recognition of her hard work to get him to the top; and his secretary will live more than comfortably for the rest of her life. "Now that's Recognition!" :)
Hey, It's a 'dog eat dog' world out there, at least that's what I hear, but just remember there's also the old saying that "What goes around, comes around..." ~ are you ready to pay that price? Be good to yourself, and those that help you to succeed ~ Ayrora