Dear Manager,

As managers, I believe we’ve all wrestled with the dynamics of effectively communicating to our staff our own perspectives relating to the needs of individual team members, and the impact those needs have on the organization as a whole. All too often, the needs of the organization are perceived to be in conflict with the needs of the “individuals” within the organization. There a number of reasons our staff members aren’t sitting in our chair; one of these is that it’s common for most individuals to think and comprehend in strictly “personal terms,” rather than in “organizational terms.”

Certainly there are individuals who can look beyond the surface and try to understand this larger perspective; unfortunately many can’t or won’t. We, as managers, can’t simply be passive, accepting the classic workers vs. management stereotype.

I’m not here to suggest that I was ever able to fully overcome this issue within my own organization. In fact, this may have been one of my greatest challenges (and unfulfilled objectives) in managing my organization. Grappling with this objective was one of the founding reasons for launching INTERPERSONAL these many years ago. I was able to share many of my management ideals and challenges through this publication, presenting them from second person perspective, rather than pointedly at my staff.

I always hoped that the challenges I addressed in these written pages would raise their understanding and awareness of my challenges on the other side of the desk. Not only would this new insight strengthen our team, this perspective would assist each member in managing their individual “empire” as well! While I’d thankfully walked in their shoes, most had never walked in mine. There were no guarantees that the message would be read between the lines, just as there were no guarantees that my written words would be read at all.

I believe that our staff members each have three very real allegiances with regards to their professional careers. The first allegiance or accountability is the one owed to themselves and their families. The second one is a responsibility to their manager, the third being an obligation to the company for whom they choose to work. While I feel I could probably make a case suggesting these three allegiances are equal, reality suggest that one or more would be considered, by most, to be more equal than others.


Certainly as individuals we hold a personal accountability to ourselves to be the very best we can be in our chosen career. Our career is a major factor in determining our value to our family, and to society as a whole. To accept anything less than what we know to be our best effort should be personally unacceptable. As individuals, we are the only entity that carries the full truth with regards to our current and ongoing commitment to our professional careers. While you may be able to fool others, you can’t fool the person in the looking glass.

We have a fundamental responsibility to not only be the very best we can be, but also for the choices we’ve made in arriving at this current moment. I often hear individuals complain about their current working environment, only to find that they’d made the choice to work for their current employer. Judging by their attitude, you’d think they worked in a slave labor camp. How, and why, would an individual hold such disdain for their current environment, and subject themselves to such continued punishment?!

I believe we also have a fundamental personal responsibility to continue to grow and challenge ourselves to “better our lot in life.” An ongoing objective within my organization was to create an environment that would provide an opportunity for continued growth and success. If an individual felt that this opportunity didn’t present itself, I never questioned their desire to leave my organization for the purpose of enhancing or expanding their potential for a successful career. I might hate to see them leave, yet if there were greener pastures elsewhere I would also wish them the very best.


There can be, and hopefully is, a very special bond that develops between an individual and their manager. Often this relationship begins with a first interview that culminated with both parties forming a mutual and stated commitment to their collective success. This personal and mutual commitment should be considered the cornerstone of their working relationship going forward.

Each party holds the ethical responsibility to protect one another’s interest both “in and out of the office.” Further, each holds the personal commitment to both support and nourish the success of one another’s position within the organization. Anything less, and one or both of these parties have made a glaring error in judgment regarding themselves or the commitments they’ve made.

It should be further understood that while we maintain equal responsibilities to one another, this relationship is not, nor should it ever be, perceived to be one of equal authority. The individual roles should be very clear from the outset: one individual is in a staff position the other individual is their manager, period. It’s common for these lines to become blurred, especially when a staff member might perceive greater power by somehow “equalizing” their role to that of their manager. Human nature gets the best of some individuals. A strong manager quietly, effectively and, if need be, consistently, clarifies the roles and their boundaries.

In the worst-case scenario, managers must provide some individuals “the opportunity” (I’d like to help you out … which way did you come in?) to follow their desires and fulfill personal expectations with another organization. When faced with this situation, I found that in each and every case my organization was much better off for having made this decision, regardless of the loss of that individual’s talents.


Once again it’s common for members of your staff to never feel or understand a personal sense of responsibility to the organization as an entity. Staff members are asked to focus on specific objectives over which they usually have at least some control of the outcome. Managers are asked to think in terms of what is in both the best interest of the individuals, but also what is in the fiduciary best interest of the company as a whole.

Obviously, much can be lost in translating the organization’s global perspective to ones staff members. Until the first male feels the pain of giving childbirth, there is not a man on this planet who will ever fully understand or appreciate what a mother must endure. This analogy is very similar, if not identical, to what managers must endure. We can certainly try to explain our challenges; rarely can we effectively communicate their scope or sense of magnitude. There are times when we must ask those we manage to simply accept our conclusions as a decision that’s in the best interest of the organization. While all will gain from the process, in the end, some will “get it” and others will not.

While organizational relationships are not structured to be equal, they should not be competitive in nature. If a single individual is unable to make changes consistent with the needs of the company, this individual is compromising their own position and those of their fellow staff members. Yes, the organization is all of us, not simply those aspects, policies, and structures that personally impact us. It’s management and staff members, individually and collectively, that require support and protection. It’s a team.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2011. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM