A manager has to deal with various types of problems in dealing with his subordinates, employees and particularly problem employees. Basically no employee is a problem employee, except hereditary and inborn perversions, criminal tendencies, addictions, and nervous and psychological breakdowns. Once an employee turns to be a problem employee, the employer has mainly two options viz., repair and recover, or replace. For the purpose of repairing and recovering and rehabilitating, employee counseling has an important role to play.
Problems are generally associated with the causes like:
1. Inferiority and Low Self-Esteem
Inferiority feeling of an employee may play great havoc in individual life and work. Though a mild form of inferiority in certain persons may help them to work hard and overcome the inferiority. But very often, inferiority complex may lead a person to utter disappointment and depression leading to withdrawal perversion, absenteeism and even psychosomatic and psychotic problems.
Inferiority is a feeling of inadequacy in comparison with others, or a feeling of being inferior to others. When the inferiority feelings in a person become overwhelming and persisting, it may develop into a state which Adler called “inferiority complex”. Recently thinkers started believing that inferiority can be overcome with the help of self-esteem, and effective counseling helps in gaining self-esteem. Self-esteem is closely linked with self-image, self-worth and self-concept. Self-concept and self-image are the terms which represent the picture which we have of ourselves. Self-image and self-concept may include a list of character traits, physical features, attitudes, feelings, strengths, weaknesses etc. Self-esteem refers to the evaluation which an individual makes of his worth, competence, value and significance. When a person loses self-esteem, he develops inferiority in him, which grows into an inferiority complex. Such people do not feel worth of themselves. Hence, the basic task of a counselor is to improve self-esteem in such counselees.
2. Injustice or Ill-treatment
Very often injustice or ill-treatment make considerable impact in their minds resulting in behavioral problems, inferiority and low self-esteem. Depriving an employee of adequate wages, leave, or any perks, giving him an arrogant treatment, depriving a legitimate promotion, promoting somebody overlooking the legitimate candidate; may such incidents take place in organizations very often which may result in inferiority feeling or feeling of low self-esteem and low morale affecting the efficiency of the aggrieved employee. As far as possible such incidents must be avoided. Once such a situation arises and an employee is aggrieved, it is better to rectify it. However, if the aggrieved employee is counseled and rectification is promised at a later date, he or she can be brought back to the proper track.
3. Premarital Anxieties and Sexual Perversions
Premarital anxieties are common in many young employees. Once the marriage is arranged and the person is engaged, his anxiety increases. Two people of different family backgrounds, different cultures, different environments, etc., are bound to have anxieties before they come together. If one happens to wait unmarried after a particular age too, one’s anxiety is bound to increase. Similarly, there are possibilities for sexual perversions in not only young employees but even in married employees. There are people with broken relationships who are tempted to be subject to sexual perversions and resulting guilty conscious. In all such cases the concerned employee needs counseling before a total breakdown and collapse of personality. Such people can be spiritually motivated, educated, kept under the close contact of an influence group, and so on.
Alcoholism is, perhaps, the largest threat to the human element of organization. In fact, alcoholism is a serious social, moral and health problem. It ruins careers, disrupts families, affects productivity and efficiency, destroys bodies, and leads to untold human misery. Many traffic accidents are caused by alcohol abuse.
There are many causes which lead to alcoholism. Prominent among them are: (i) Hereditary drinking; (ii) Executive culture; (iii) Executive stresses; (iv) Physiological reasons; (v) Broken family set up; (vi) Environmental influence; (vii) Low job satisfaction and morale; (viii) Tasks involving strenuous physical exertion; (ix) Perpetuating influences ; (x) Feelings of depression and stagnation; and (xi) Feeling of isolation and loneliness.
A counselor’s job is not easy as far as an alcoholic is concerned. One or a few counseling sessions may not yield any considerable effect. However, a sincere effort on the part of an executive counselor may help an alcoholic employee, at least in the long-run. Some medical intervention may also be helpful along with counseling.
5. The problem of Addictions
Another important employee problem which deserves counseling is addictions. Addiction is a very dangerous problem which torments the social and work environment of today. Drug addiction has gone beyond proportions among youngsters now-a-days. Not only drug addiction, many people are addicted to alcohol, pornographic materials, television, sexual immorality, smoking, compulsive spending, overeating, gambling, and so on. There are some people who are addicted to earning money and amassing wealth by hook or by crook. There are workaholics who have addiction to work, due to which there are many broken families in the urban society.
Addiction is any habit, practice, behavior or even thinking which is habitually or compulsively attached to a person, which exerts more and more control and power over him. There can be many causes for addiction; some of which are : (i) Inadequate parental care; (ii) Broken family atmosphere; (iii) Bad company; (iv) Peer or other social influence; (v) Feeling of emptiness in life; depression or stresses; (vi) Low self-esteem and deception; and (vii)Psychological problems.
Both drug addiction and alcohol abuse involve behavior change, physical deterioration, family stresses, financial problems, career destruction, increasing psychological disintegration, lawlessness and so on. Addiction affects both the victim and his family. Even the psychologists and counselors may exhaust and drain themselves out by constant pressure of dealing with addicts. Hence, it is not an easy task for executives to deal with such cases. However, very tactful approach on the part of the executives and managers may make a considerable effect in helping them if they act in time. “A stitch in time saves nine”.
6. Mental Conflict in Union Rivalries
In recent times, there are many employees who lose their confidence, mental peace, job satisfaction and productivity due to union rivalries. Many right thinking and unattached employees become the victims of such rivalries. Some militant trade union leaders and their henchmen even manhandle assault and ill-treat such employees. Their legitimate promotions and claims are blocked by such trade unionists. Sometimes even management becomes helpless in doing justice to such employees due to the obstructions and resistances created by such union leaders. In such situations victims are bound to be disappointed, disgruntled and aggrieved resulting in depression and stress. Executive counselors and human resources executives have great role to play in rebuilding the personality and career through counseling and timely intervention. They can be recovered, and revitalized through counseling and timely guidance. They can then be exposed and developed through training followed by redeployment and a change in placement.
7. Breakdown in Interpersonal Relationships
Breakdown in interpersonal relationships is another important problem which creates low morale and depression in work-life which deserves timely intervention and counseling. There are many stress situations in one’s work life. Organizational causes of stress are occupational demands, role conflict, role ambiguity (stress from uncertainly), stresses from overload and under load, responsibility for others, stresses from evaluation, poor working conditions, unwanted changes, and such other factors lead to personal stresses. Interpersonal stresses make more impact in work life. Strains and breakdowns in interpersonal relationships have direct relationship with individual stresses. When cordial relationships exist in the work place, impact of other stresses may get effectively tackled. But when stresses from strained interpersonal relationship in the work environment increase, the individual’s effectiveness, balance and productivity can get affected. In all such occasions, counseling and guidance would become necessary to help the individual to control his problem emotions and sustain himself to be effective in the group.
8. Low Job Satisfaction and Morale
Another important cause which affects the human behavior in organization is low job satisfaction backed by low morale. Low job satisfaction leads to low morale and vice-versa. Morale and job satisfaction are closely tied to the basic concepts of attitudes and motivation. Wages have been found to be the basic determinant of job satisfaction. However, once the monetary needs are considerably met by the wages, other aspects like self-actualization, fulfillment, working conditions, security of employment, prestige, agreeability of the job, group cohesiveness, expertise, etc., also determine the job satisfaction. Some researchers have thrown light on the positive relationship between occupational level and job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction has a considerable relation with the promotion possibility. Superior-subordinate relationship and cooperative and affectionate attitude and approach of the superior may also influence the job satisfaction level of the subordinates, though much empirical work has not been done in this area. Low job satisfaction and low morale must be tackled at the root. Immediate supervisor or superior may first come to know about the problem in his subordinate and initiate timely and sincere counseling efforts. At times, assistance of professional counselors can be sought. Every manager must make up his mind to nip in the bud all such problems which adversely affect job satisfaction and morale with the help of skillful counseling.
9. Breakdown in Family Life
Every individual, rich or poor, has to face many family problems, some of which can seriously affect the peace of mind, happiness, achievement motivation and efficiency. Those who have broken family lives and serious family problems may possibly become unsuccessful in their work life too. Very often problem which affect the family life can convert a good employee into a problem employee. Studies have already proved that some alcoholics and drug addicts are the products of broken families. In fact, breakdown in family life very often affects the work life. Hence, if such employees are provided with ways to release their tension, their efficiency can be improved. Counseling is of great importance in such cases once such employees can be brought to proper track with the help of counseling, their personality, behavior and performance can be improved with the help of exposure in training, T-group formation, etc., so that better sense of cohesion and commitment to organization can be ensured.