Workplace Rights

Weekly (7/4/11)

Topic of the Week  Can't We All Just Get Along: An Action Plan For Bosses And Employees


  • DO focus on present.
  • DO use numbers.
  • DO promote change all the time.
  • DON'T avoid a bit of drama.

At the point at which we workplaces where bosses and employees work together, we seem to struggle more than ever. Which reminds me of when "Man's best friend" isn't. To be more specific, when a playful dog hops onto a gun on the ground, causing it to fire a round. This happened to John Daniels, who took a bullet in the knee from his dog in Raleigh, NC.


Mr. Daniels describes today's workplace perfectly. Instead of working together, many bosses and employees spend time shooting at each other. Not necessarily intentionally, but shots nonetheless are flying between them. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't for how bosses and employees can work together on a common agenda. For more, check out, "Management Is Not What You Think" by Mintzburg, (Amacom, 2010).


DO focus on present. As they famously said in the worst movie of all time, Plan 9 from Outer Space, "The future is important because it is where we will spend the rest of our lives." Now you see why it is called the worst movie of all time. I do think the future is important, but our efforts should always start with improving the present at any organization. Too many corporations take the present for granted instead of focusing on the opportunities that it presents. I even heard from a reader that her company was on the verge of landing a huge three-year contact, and her boss started worrying about what they'd do when the money ran out in down the road. I suggested she schedule a meeting with the boss in 2013.


DO use numbers. Okay, I'm guilty of avoiding numbers for much of my career. What a mistake. Numbers allow you to keep score and to improve. I now think that everyone should know the ROI for everything that goes on. Not from the top down, but giving each employee the opportunity to measure and benchmark their own performance. This requires that everyone get some training in basic accounting. But it is well worth the investment to have people understand how money flows through an organization.


DO promote change all the time. Change is difficult. That's why it's so important for organizations to make it an ongoing exercise. Asking "what if" questions and exploring ways to make significant improvements on current performance are just two strategies to make this happen. But the key is to deputize everyone in the company to be change agents. If you don't do this you'll have some employees playing the role of speed bumps and getting in everyone's way.


DON'T avoid a bit of drama. People get motivated by stories and a bit of drama. I'm not talking about unnecessary drama like making employees get their managers to buy off on every expense outlay, no I think that employees should have their leashes lengthened regularly.


Use these strategies and everyone in your workplace will be truly working together and not shooting at one another.



About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via



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