Working with the Stars
Managing employees is often viewed as a never-ending battle, where supervisors struggle to get their charges to perform up to even the lowest level of expectation while employees rebel against heavy-handed management techniques wielded by out-of-touch higher-ups. In fact, employee relations specialist Jathan Janove freely admits, “On-the-job misery has made my career possible... . I’ve had a ringside seat for innumerable workplace battles, witnessing the behavior patterns that have almost inexorably led employees and employers down a path of frustrated desires and expectations, broken trust, bleak futures, and, perhaps most regrettably, lost opportunities for relationships that could have been — and should have been — mutually rewarding.”
It is Janove’s experience with on-the-job misery that has led him to seek out a better way. In his book The Star Profile: A Management Tool to Unleash Employee Potential, Janove not only makes the case that managing employees does not have to be such a miserable, unproductive struggle, but also provides a straightforward, simple tool kit for helping employees reach their highest level of potential. “You can carve out a different path,” he insists, “one designed to give you the greatest opportunity to unleash the potential of your employees and to create mutually satisfying relationships.”
At the heart of Janove’s system of employee management is the Star Profile: “a concise, action-oriented word picture capturing a manager’s or an executive’s vision of success for a particular job, department or work function.” Janove centers his philosophy of management on the distillation of a succinct, vivid vision of each position within a company and then uses the Star Profile as the guiding light for creating a better system.
The Star Profile first provides readers with a detailed look at the concepts behind Janove’s system and its applications, which range from hiring new employees to bringing disgruntled employees in line with the company vision to enabling a company to part ways gracefully with an employee who refuses to meet expectations. Janove then spends several chapters walking his readers through how to implement the Star Profile in their own businesses, taking a step-by-step approach to first creating a Star Profile, then refining it, and finally bringing all of a company’s Star Profiles together so that they work in conjunction to create an effective, productive and satisfied constellation of colleagues, working together to achieve the organization’s aims.
Stargazing but Not Star Struck
The Star Profile certainly presents a kinder, gentler view of managing employees, even delving into the value of CEOs and supervisors creating their own star profiles in order to bring themselves more in line with the company’s needs and vision. Janove advocates a two-way system of feedback, where employees not only receive praise and criticism from their higher-ups, but also are invited to give feedback to their supervisors. While reading The Star Profile, it is easy to get excited about the potential of this tool for creating effective, fulfilling, mutually respectful employee-manager relationships.