Round 1 goes to your supervisor

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You should be thankful, too. It is Studer's belief that in order to be successful, managers should adopt a principle used in health care facilities called "rounding."

"Rounding is what doctors in hospitals have traditionally done to check on patients," writes the author. "The same idea can be used in business, with a CEO, VP, or department manager making the rounds to check on the status of his employees."

While Studer believes that rounding can work in a business setting, I am less sanguine. Take my word for it; a heart transplant performed with rusty pinking shears is a walk in the park compared to what can happen after a few intimate minutes with a manager who is practicing his cube-side manner.
And don't forget - doctors use anesthetic. In the office, there's no anesthesiologist to save you from the pain of spending quality time with your manager. (Trust me on this. It's amazing how executives get upset when you bring a little spray bottle of chloroform into a staff meeting.)

What makes Studer's prescription even scarier is that he expects the doctor/manager to delve deeply into the psyche of the patient/employee.

"When done properly, rounding is much more than surface face time put in by leaders. It's meaningful."

Exactly the problem. To survive in the workplace clinic we must remain anonymous and unnoticed. The more our bosses know about our deep, innermost thoughts, the quicker we'll be lining up at the workplace morgue - the unemployment office.

This is not the point of view of our author, however, who could use a little "rounding" himself, at least, in terms of the theories inside his pointy little head. For example:
  1. Employees want a manager who cares and values them.

    Studer wants managers to "take the time every day to make a human connection with your employees and really listen and respond to their needs." Never work. How can you make a human connection with the kind of soul-less android who climbs the corporate monkey bars in business today?

    Ever watch an overstuffed, overpaid executive try to relate? It's as painful for them as it is for us, trying to pretend to care about their meaningful, executive problems, like the high cost of oil changes on a Bentley.

    And we don't need daily conversations to know how our managers value us. We can find out to the penny every two weeks in our paycheck.

  2. Employees want systems that work and the tools and equipment to do the job.

    Probably true, but if you can't do your job, the last person you would ever tell is your boss. Even if I've pawned my computer, smashed my telephone and chopped up my desk for firewood, I'd still tell my boss, "Hey, everything is great! Never been more productive. I prefer writing memos with a piece of coal. Saves energy, too."

  3. Employees want opportunities for professional development.

    Talk about a horror-show moment. Studer suggests that bosses can use their daily chitchats to "discover whose skill sets need improvement." Good heavens! If you had a skill set, you'd get yourself a real job. Studer even envisions a boss saying, "We want to keep you in our organization and are committed to helping you excel personally and professionally." What would you do if your boss ever said something that scary to you? I'd faint dead away - and then I'd need a real doctor to make rounds.

  4. Employees don't want to work with low performers.

    Author Studer believes employees don't like working with people who don't "pull their own weight." Totally untrue! We love people who are even more terrible at their jobs than we are. It makes us look better. Still, this could be the one advantage of the "rounding" philosophy. The bosses will be able to identify those of us who don't do any work and then they can promote us to become bosses, too. Hey, if all it takes to manage is the ability to walk around and pretend to look interested, you can sign us up. It's exactly what we've been doing for years.

Bob Goldman has been an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company in the San Francisco Bay area. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@funnybusiness.com.

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