I was reading a post on Twitter a few days ago, where a local politician was complaining about the attitude of a particular Union and they clearly believed all problems were down to the Union leaders. Apart from the fact that the language used was not particularly constructive is it actually the case that the issues are purely down to the Union?
Don’t get me wrong some Unions and their leaders can be a right pain in the ass, but I can think of many companies across a variety of industries that have great working relationships with their workforce and the unions involved. So why does it seem to be particular companies/industries that have regular problems in their industrial relations?
One story I was told last week might hold a clue. I was talking to an Interim HR Consultant who is currently working with a large international company and they were in a meeting with a Director. The meeting centred on the direction they wanted for a project that would affect the sales operation. The HR Consultant suggested asking the sales force for their thoughts so they could play a part in the agreement of the project’s goals.
Apparently the Director was aghast giving the curt reply; “They are sales people, we are managers, we tell them what to f*?!*>g do, not the other way round”.
The HR Consultant thought they had been transported back to the 1980’s. Unfortunately I think there are still many companies out there that have management teams that treat their people in this way – “you are here to do as you are told, your opinion doesn’t matter”.
If you don’t treat people with respect, give them clear direction (when necessary), encouragement, support and empower them to have some element of control what kind of relationship do you expect to have with those around you?
It takes two to have an argument.