Humanism in the Industry

Over the past several years I‘ve held jobs in many different industries. I was a lifeguard, had numerous positions in sales, was in banking sector for a while, etc. I have to admit that although each job was a different experience and I made numerous relationships, I cannot say that I enjoyed all of them. I came to notice a trend that I was motivated to do my best when I felt appreciated and involved by my direct management. I am sure most of you can relate to this and in my experience poor management reflects directly on the performance of an employee, sometimes even resignation.

Managers today are afraid to appear too touchy-feely with their employees or to develop a relationship, but why?  Well, mostly because in our strict, corporate world it’s all about performance results.  I found an interesting article that talks about underlying values of TWI (Training Within Industry). The method was applied and turned out to be very successful in Japanese market; notion of respect for employees was not well understood there at the time. TWI states that in order to be a successful leader you must first establish a good relationships with people you supervise. And to do that, managers have to emphasize the “human element” when it comes to effective leadership.

First, employees need to be well trained to do their job (instruction process). Find out what they already know about the job and how they can contribute. Revealing what they already know can help take away anxiety and relax them. That will establish a sense of trust between the employee and the manager.  In the end, this practice will reinforce the learning process of the employee as well as overall interest for the job. Each individual process of the job is equally important for success; therefore, workers’ understanding of overall significance and details are essential.

With that said, I can also see how some may be skeptical about this approach. The main idea of this concept is that if a worker wasn’t able to learn, the instructor was not able to teach properly. Supervisors may claim that some employees are just too difficult to deal with, which could be true; however, this usually happens when instruction isn’t the issue, it’s the lack of leadership. That happens because most managers today are trained to handle technical parts of the job rather than the human aspect of it.  That’s why TWI sets out to train supervisors to be effective leaders, which creates good job relations along with cooperation of staff and reflects on performance at the end of the day.

“Bad managers tell employees what to do, good managers explain why they need to do it, but great managers involve people in decision making and improvement.” – Mark Graban



3 thoughts on “Humanism in the Industry

  1. I agree with this approach on management method a lot. Also working in retail for the past few years, I have experience both types of managers; those who develop the relationship with their employees and those who just tell them what to do. I believe that the performance of employees was much higher whenever the managers who had relationships with the employees were in charge. There is a two-sided respect that is developed when you take the time to introduce yourself and get to know the employee you’re training. The manager should be able to trust that the employee will do as they’re asked, and the employee will feel helpful and needed in the company. The time when relationships with employees can cross the line is when the managers start playing favorites. This could be giving certain employees more favorable shifts or even putting them in charge of the rest of the team.

  2. Employee Engagement- it is a crucial aspect for companies to maintain and look after in order to sustain a successful business. This is one thing that my boss at my current internship stresses so much, and why the company I work for has their own internal material ( and also an external white paper) discussing the importance of employee engagement. My company has an employee survey every year which they ask employees to voluntarily take and they analyze it seriously. Also, there is a company “T” chart in which one side is what the company expects from the employee, and also another side of which the employee should expect from the company- from growth opportunities to benefits. We are so good at it that we went to consult for the KROC Center in order to help them improve their employee engagement. It is one of the fundamental building blocks for successful companies today and in the past. No wonder Adam Smith and Karl Marx spoke about the alienation in labor and it’s downfalls for not only the entity but also the worker. Great and important topic, well done.

  3. Great article! There is a sort of Human aspect missing from workplace. Everyone is so programmed, which can leave little to no room for error. I can tell you from experience that after completing a task after being given little instructions, I am left with asking “Why?” So many times I have been dismissed or have been given a reply of “Just do it!” The lack of respect is becoming more apparent and now is just the way of life. Most companies today will now issue surveys to rate managers and state any improvement ideas. But still the battle with this continues as many think their voice is not being heard. That last quote you posted about Mark Graban speaks the truth of what is really means to be a leader but also a respected human being.

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