Human Element

Toilet paper stuck to a footIf you squeeze a handful of clay, a good portion of the dough will slip through your fingers. If you hold that clay too loosely it is likely to fall out of your hands. It is a delicate balancing act to keep an optimal grip on the clay so as not to drop it, or lose any through your fingers.

The management of staff in foreign material and safety situations follows the same clay analogy. If management is too strict on employees, employees are less likely to admit when they have made a mistake. A potentially serious problem could go undiscovered for a long time, and the opportunity to learn from such a mistake may be lost. The problem will metaphorically slip through management’s fingers. On the other hand, if employees are given too much freedom to make mistakes, they are likely to miss the seriousness of offenses they commit. These employees’ managers have likely dropped the ball (of clay).

The effective FME manager must find the balance that works for his or her workplace and corporate culture. The bottom line is, if management is too strict, mistakes will not be openly shared and learned from, but if management is too lax then important procedures will be ignored.

Effectively managing and training employees is a diverse subject that some people spend their entire lives studying and practicing. The only truly effective way of learning how to manage a given group of people is education and experience. You can’t get the real world experience here, but you can find the education. The following are a few basics about human behavior followed by resources for learning how to effectively manage employees in each aspect.


Communication styles differ between people. Some people respond better to written communication while others prefer to be more verbal. Personality differences and language choices can also impact whether or not messages are effectively communicated. Even if the optimal method of communication is chosen, interference from background interruptions can degrade the quality of a conversation.

Amazon Books on Communication


There are many competing schools of thought on how employees are motivated. From Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to expectancy theory, a manager should know the basics of these theories to effectively manage his/her employees.

Amazon Books on Motivation

Decision Making

Knowing how an employee or manager makes decision provides a basis for how to set up workflows. Time constraints and limited information can make a person choose a seemingly foolish course of action. By understanding the constraints of decision making, a manager can minimize the occurrence of such “foolish” errors.

Amazon Books on Decision Making


Negotiations are often thought of in terms of high level executives of two companies trying to reach an agreement but, the same concepts apply to lower and middle managers within their own company as well. Reading about and practicing negotiations will help with effectively managing employees.

Amazon Books on Negotiation


The necessary leadership methods are determined by corporate culture, job severity, and subordinate power. Understanding a good approach towards leadership will help to reduce the problems associated with human error.

Amazon Books on Leadership