Managing in the Gray Area
Throughout this book the generic term “manager” is meant to apply to anyone who prioritizes, directs, supervises, and is responsible for the work and performance of others. Few jobs in the corporate environment are as difficult or important as one entrusted and responsible for delivering corporate objectives through the interaction, oversight, and direction of human resources, i.e., managers.
All employees have an expectation of being treated fairly, with respect and dignity, and this begins with the line manager. An employee should trust their manager to administer his or her duties in a fair and consistent manner. If an employee feels their concerns and interests are best served with a trip to HR this can only be viewed as a failure of line management. An employee should not believe a trip to HR, or to any other third party for that matter, would yield a more favorable result. Therefore, “all managers are human resource managers”. However, too often managers find themselves ill-prepared for their assigned responsibilities.
Text books, employee handbooks, policies, standard operating procedures, union contracts, are all one dimensional, too black and white, not informative enough and lack practical applications to help someone manage their human resources. When you're dealing with a multitude of personalities it's essential to have an internal “tool bag” of experience allowing you to manage in between the lines of black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, i.e., managing the gray area. For those looking to become more effective in the art of managing this book offers a Swiss army knife, of tips, ideas, techniques, principles, and management philosophies collected throughout my forty years within the management ranks.