« How Do You Measure Workplace Happiness? | Main | What To Look For In Teams »


Travis Branzell

“What skills are absent to the extent that there is a seemingly universal crisis?” I think that the number one problem is a lack of communication skills on a couple different levels. This is often a flaw in management systems.

1. Managers struggle to get across to their subordinates what they expect of them.

2. Managers don't take the time to ask their subordinates if there is anything they need in order to get their daily tasks completed. Often I think that when a subordinate takes a job and you put work in front of them and walk away, your subordinate is left believing they have been given the tools and have the skills they need to complete their task in timely and efficient manner. As a manager you need to take the time to ask your subordinates if there is anything they need to perform their tasks, and also be open to ideas for new methods for completing various tasks. Couple things can happen as a byproduct of this type of communication……

•it opens doors for more communication
•new, efficient, and productive methods for completing tasks may come to rise by suggestion with this simple communication
•this type of communication ultimately will increase success and most likely boost moral

3. Subordinates don’t communicate to their manager when they are lacking the tools or skills to complete the tasks that are put in front of them, but this is because managers don’t express to their subordinates that they need to come to them and ask for help when they are stuck.

You can’t blame your subordinate for not knowing how to complete the task, don’t have the right tools to complete the task, or that they aren’t qualified to complete a task, because in reality it’s your fault, the manager. If they don’t know how to complete their tasks, then it’s because you haven’t properly shown them how complete their tasks. If they don’t have the right tools it’s because you didn’t provide them with the right tools. You can’t expect them to go seek out the tools and resources….not everyone is a go getter. Sometimes you have to lead the horse to water. If they aren’t qualified to complete their tasks then that is ultimately your fault, because you hired them to a position outside of their qualifications. If an individual has the qualities that you see that are beneficial and useful, but they aren’t qualified for the job, then get them qualified. Get them in the class room or teach them yourself.

Great topic! Thanks again Steve.

Bay Jordan

A very interesting post - and comment - with plenty of food for thought.

I wonder how reliable the findings are, because I find it hard to believe that the managers have less unproductive time per week than their employees as:
a) A manager's role is, by definition, less productive; and
b) A manager is likely to spend more time on email, in meetings and on other administrative matters that are unlikely to be productive/add that much value to the organisation.

The findings about skills shortages may be more valid. While the debate about the product coming out of education is an endless political issue that I wouldn't want to get into here, I do not believe that the people coming throgh are any less intelligent or capable than their forebears. Rather I would suggest that this is due to poor recruitment as well as the poor management you depict. The recruitment process focus on competencies identified by the manager and the defined job description rather than the total person of the recruiter and the effort put into finding someone who is neithe runder-qualified nor over-qualified inevitably means there is built in redundancy within the recruitment process.

Having said that, after posting my own blog this morning about a worker who sat dead at his desk for 5 days without any of his 23 colleagues noticing, I think there may well be good grounds for questioning not just the skills but the humanity of the people in the workplace!!


I am writing just to introduce myself. My name is
Naveen, and I also have a blog in the Career Development niche.
The URL is www.planetnaveen.com
I found your content very interesting, and I will
definitely be recommending it to my readers.
Best wishes,


As a worker I found vary useful to brief my manager two or three times a week. I brief him for 5 min on the important issues and aks him some guidelines.

We found it quite useful.

Steve Roesler

Hi, Travis,

Gee, thanks for the thoughtful and in-depth comment. I'm with you on all 3 items.

"Communications" almost always falls out as the #1 "issue" in organizational surveys. However, that's a catch-all for a multitude of sins. You've classified them in a way that they can be addressed.

Steve Roesler


Thanks for stopping by...always a treat. And I wasn't sure how best to deal with the "dead guy" story after seeing it; it defies rational explanation (has one been offered?).

You and I are on the same page with this one. The key to job satisfaction and productivity is "best fit," which is a hiring/promotion/internal movement issue. There is no shortage of intelligent people but there is a shortage of thoughtful placement when it comes to the right person in the right job in the right kind of organization. In fact, I see too much emphasis placed on "(s)he's so intelligent" and not enough place on "is this a good fit for both of us."

Steve Roesler


That is often a wise thing to do; managers don't want to be surprised and they also have a boss who wants to know what's going on.


Steve...I particularly like the section about "People Who Get It"...An old friend of mine and I would regularly assess folks based on their ability "to get it" (obviously we did!?)...Love your criteria...we also preferred people who executed with a lot of humility....


Hi, My name is Deepak. I find the article quite intersting and enlightening. I will surely implement the ideas in my work arena. I will also reccomend the articles to my friends/peers, thus they can also be benifitted from this article.

sam samier

but is there any way to be more productive with quality i some time feels that being more productive is good but one must also have the quality ...


nice article..

I opines, the reason for middle managers giving lesser time to productive stuff is the responsibility showered by senior management...

If you make them accountable and do not by pass them to reach people reporting into them... the productivity will improve..

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

Enter your name and email address to receive your copy of my coaching eGuide.

Human Resources Today
Business Blogs



  • View Steve Roesler's profile on LinkedIn
Personal Growth from SelfGrowth.com

Get Updates via RSS Feed

  • Enter your email address in the yellow box for FREE daily updates

    Powered by FeedBlitz

Awards & Recognition...

  • Career 100
Alltop, all the top stories