Shielding Your Employees

You know your employees work hard. You expect a lot from them, but you understand not everything on their desk is helping the company move forward. That request you received last week from your boss didn’t seem all that relevant, but it came from above so you assigned your best team members to the assignment. However, you keep thinking to yourself: “should I have stepped in? Should my employees be exposed to this?”

The manager above was not acting as a leader who shields their employees. Many characteristics are shared between great coaches and great leaders. One of those characteristics that is lesser known is the ability to shield their team from threats — both internal and external. A leader is the coach of the team. Truly great coaches visibly provide accolades to their players after a big win. They also take the public hits after a heartbreaking loss. As players on the team, when employees who have a boss that is a leader that stands up for them, they repay that boss with increased engagement and loyalty.

William Coyne, former R&D head at 3M once said “After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.”1 To that end, great leaders who shield their employees protect them from unnecessary distractions.

There are countless stories in books, movies, and blogs online where bad bosses quickly throw their employees under the bus when that employee makes a serious (and avoidable) mistake. Other stories abound where bosses exploit their employee’s ideas and good work to advance their own agendas or careers. This paper will outline how great bosses advance their career by giving credit when it is due, and more importantly standing up for their employees when mistakes are made or protecting their employees from external sources of angst.

Managers who want to become the bosses outlined above should put their employee’s welfare above their own career advancement desires. They should stand up to fruitless requests from bored upper managers who don’t understand the undue stress they are putting on employees down the line. Budgetary concerns and external pressures should be kept under wraps as most workers don’t need to be exposed to these stresses in their day to day activities.

For more, please check out the full White Paper here: