Walk a Mile in Your Employee Shoes

Have you heard the saying, “Don’t criticize another person’s work until you’ve tried to do it yourself?”  Good advice for managers.

I know as a leader sometimes we walk into a meeting thinking we have all the answers. As we enter the room, we think, “All I have to do is get these people to listen to what I’m about to tell them and then get them to do it.” After all, isn’t that what leaders do? They lead. Why waste time as the team searches for answers when I can just spell it out for them and save time? After all, there’s a reason I’m in a position of leadership. I have more experience and am smarter, so I might as well get to the point by telling them exactly what needs to be done and, more important, just how they need to do it.

Hold on! You might have more experience than anyone else on the team, but do you have more experience with this specific issue? You might be the smartest one in the room, but do you really know more about today’s subject than everyone else participating? And, if you do, is it still possible that you might “Learn” from what the group has to offer collectively?

I understand that it takes patience to listen. It takes time to let others have their say. But you know more times than not that you’re going to hear things that change your perspective. You’re going to “Learn” that other people have good ideas and discover small details that could make a big difference in the results. Your team is going to come up with solutions that will be better than what you could have come up with on your own.

As a manager, you have a big job. Your schedule is busy and you’re constantly on the run. I know it’s tempting to just take control and save everyone a lot of time. But if that’s your approach you’re not an effective manager. If you fail to listen to others, you’ve taken away their voices. If you don’t let them share their thoughts, you lose a wonderful teaching opportunity. If you don’t hear what they have to say, you won’t be able to evaluate their critical thinking skills.

A manager who doesn’t listen and who thinks they have all the answers needs to walk a mile in the shoes of their employees. They need to try to understand their people before they criticizes them or take away their voices completely. If you can put yourself in the place of those who work for you, you’ll see that it’s important to let them be heard. It’s important to them to be able to share their ideas. They want to contribute and, if you’ve done a good job in hiring them, they will be of real value in the process.  Have you walked a mile in your employee’s shoes?

photo credit


About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

2 Responses to Walk a Mile in Your Employee Shoes

  1. Amber Little says:

    Great post! I completely agree, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in a hectic schedule, but it is very important to take time to see what it’s really like for your employees.

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