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<i>Dear Workforce</i> We&#8217;re Getting Resistance From Employees About Our Rotational Assignments for Managers. How Do We Win The

February 23, 2007
Dear Defusing:

Communicate, communicate and communicate. Explain to the employees in each department that your company has instituted a rotation development program, and it's here to stay on behalf of improving overall management today and into the future. Recommend to your employees that this is a time and a chance for the department to exert influence over the future leaders of the company. Resenting the manager and not being cooperative can really impair the current business as well as future plans.
Most of the work that should be done, though, is with the managers themselves as they attempt to lead these various departments. Managers need to be open and ask more questions, rather than making quick decisions. They should be reaching out to employees instead of trying to impress them with their managerial skills.
In essence, managers should express the fact that they're learning from the employees what the key challenges are for each department, as well as how those departments could be properly supported with resources in the future.
By communicating these intentions and expectations, the rotating managers and the human resources department can play a major role in smoothing out the concerns of employees in various departments.
If possible, it should be explained to the employees what the time frames are for the rotation and what is expected of the employees during that rotation. An idea would be to have regular focus groups meet at various times during the rotation assignments to see how people are feeling about the performance of the manager. These would be something akin to a 360-degree feedback experience (which the mangers surely could utilize), while giving employees in the department a sense that their concerns are being heard and heeded.
On a final note: Provide managers who are actually in the rotation program with coaching about how to conduct themselves, so that they don't attempt to manage the department (as compared to leading the department during the rotation program). One lesson that most leaders learn: It is the employees of the department who actually operate and, in most cases, manage the department. Leaders help set the vision, the pace and the expectations, but employees achieve the results. Of course, this should be one of the learning experiences for the rotation manager.
All in all, it is the managers who must make a trust relationship grow between the employees and themselves. In fact, it is one of the objectives of the rotation assignments to see whether managers can, in fact, create this trusting atmosphere.
SOURCE: William J. Morin, chairman and CEO,WJM Associates Inc., New York City, April 26, 2006.
LEARN MORE: Please read the role human resources should play in executive development.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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