My experience with the Hawthrone effect I can most closely recall is from when I started as an assistant store manager for a Wal-Mart supercenter. I started working at a store where the management staff was severely understaffed – we did not have a store manager and a team of 4 managers were supervising a team of over 200 people. Management was stretched thin due to being overworked and the workers were frustrated because they felt like any concerns they communicated went unnoticed or did not result in action. Workers had very little one-on-one time with management and felt like they had a low level of communication and direction. With the philosophy that “if you take care of your workers, they will take care of the customer,” I made my co-workers my number one priority. I took the time to learn a little about them individually, and understand what challenges, training opportunities, or conflicts needed to be resolved in their area. I held myself to the sundown rule: if someone came to me about a problem, I told them I would have an answer before sundown – even if the answer was something pending like, “I submitted a request to fix this freezer, I’m still waiting on a response.” I took some time but I was able to have a strong positive impact on retention, morale, and help reestablish the trust between associates and management by making.
- I have my fair share of bad managers. Unfortunately even people with good character and who mean well can be a bad manager. According to a 2015 Gallup study, 50% of Americans have quit a job because of poor management (Lighthouse, ND). The best manager I have had the pleasure of working had several qualities I learned a lot from:
- Empowering leadership. This manger encouraged sharing ownership and giving individuals the freedom to accomplish objectives however they liked- as long as the requirements and deadline was met. She would follow up as needed but avoided micromanaging unless the situation made it essential.
- High level of social intelligence: She was extremely adept in reading people’s intentions, the subtext of the conversation, and was excellent at communicating effectively. At the time I had a style of being emotionally distanced from employees and having a very dry, formal, and direct method of communication. She did not shy away form tough conversations and in fact welcomed them, and was not afraid to let coworkers freely discuss emotional issues.
- Recognizing strengths and weaknesses. She also gave very sincere compliments: she took the time to understand what skills people were good at and how these contributions could be used to accomplish certain tasks. She encouraged people to praise each other and give recognition of success in team meetings.
No Author. No date. Why people leave managers, not companies. Lighthouse. https://getlighthouse.com/blog/people-leave-managers-not-companies/