In the modern world we have a lot of “work advice” to dispense. There are books, seminars, workshops, advice columns, management training groups and of course, personal coaching. Most of the time, this advice is well intentioned. After all, it is usually people with experience who write these pieces. They have probably learned a thing or two about working from other people who have done it and they want to share their experience. And they get paid for every piece they write!
And yet sometimes I wonder if all of the work advice that I see is actually helping anyone? I have participated in workshops where business people were telling their audience that they should not interrupt others while they are working. That was very helpful information. But how does it play out in the work place? It certainly does not look good for employees who are afraid to ask for feedback or who are afraid to raise issues.
There are other times when I think the focus on work advice really makes matters worse. When a boss gives bad advice or when an employee is threatened with a consequence for asking for help. Some of this advice is even more counterproductive than simply poor business judgment. I have watched bosses give out bad advice to employees who then bring in petty problems to make the situation worse, when all they really needed was some honest feedback.
The worst part of all of this advice is that it often comes from non-experts who lack the expertise to understand how to run a business. So the advice makes no sense whatsoever. Why give someone who does not know what they are doing bad advice? The employers often do not appreciate this because they often do not have enough of an understanding of how to run a business either. Sometimes the employers are also scared of hiring those folks who are untrained. This type of thinking is not helpful to anyone, least of all the future employees.
The bottom line is that I can tell you that giving out bad work advice will harm your company’s chances for success. I would rather focus on creating good work habits instead. My focus is on creating a work environment that encourages workers to be their best at work, by working hard. Employees who are encouraged and rewarded for raising the bar and becoming better at their jobs will be much more productive. People who are under the constant threat of punishment, for requesting help or asking for a raise, will be much less productive as well.
So, when you focus on work advice and try to create a more positive work environment you will be much more successful. Your employees will thank you for it and so will your customers. By creating a more positive environment and learning some basic principles of management and leadership you will be able to turn any job into one where employees enjoy their work and are not constantly stressed out.