Management Success Tip #66: Back To Basics: Leadership Made Easy!

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Management theories abound, and it seems there’s a new “latest and greatest” management book printed every month – not to mention the plethora of management blogs, this one included!

How are you supposed to keep up? How can you possibly read and absorb all that material, much less apply and integrate it?! It truly seems an impossible task.

So don’t. Go back to basics. You know, the ones you learned early in life about fairness and respect.

1. Welcome the newbies with the same enthusiasm you have for your top performers.

2. Make sure everyone is perfectly clear about the rules, processes and procedures that apply to their jobs and/or to the company.

3. Give everyone the support and resources they require to do their jobs well.

4. Appreciate a whole lot and never criticize without offering a solution.

That’s about it. Everything else is just different ways of accomplishing the above.



Look For Employees With High EQ Over IQ

Here’s Steve Cooper’s latest Forbes column. It cites studies that show emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success than either relevant previous experience or high IQ.

Management Success Tip #65: Don’t Buck Resistance to Change, Use It!

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You’ve come up with the latest greatest improvement to your product or service, and most of your employees are excited about it. Sure, it involves change, but heck, moving forward always does. So when you come up against those employees who are digging in their heels, resisting the change with all their might, you want to say “Just do it!” and leave it at that.

Totally understandable. However, you’d be doing yourself a serious disservice. Every time an employee tells you why he or she is resisting the change, that employee is giving you very valuable information about how to make the change process more efficient, more successful. People resist because something doesn’t sit right with them. Pay attention to what the resistance tells you and act on it.

If the resistance comes out of “I’m worried I’ll get behind in my work while I’m trying to get up to speed on the new software, and I’ll get penalized when bonus time comes around” then address that. If it’s “I’m used to my old team, we work really well together, I don’t know these new people, I don’t trust them.” Then address that.

Invite discussion, brainstorming, input from the employees involved. Take their resistance seriously. Your employees will feel valued, they will know that their distress matters to you. Then use their concerns to help you find solutions. It’s rare that the resistance one employee voices isn’t felt by a whole host of others who just aren’t talking about it. Then not only will you and your managers see resistance in a new light, you’ll make good use of it in successfully furthering whatever change you wish to implement.

Best Buy to Eliminate ROWE


Best Buy’s eliminating its Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) program will devastate employee morale and ultimately Best Buy’s profits

ROWE is a groundbreaking program that boosts employee performance by giving workers autonomy in the workplace–as long as their work is done. It is a proven motivational tool that is used in over 40 corporations. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case, when a “get tough, cost cutting” CEO comes on board, the new CEO has to flex his or her muscles with slash and burn techniques that only lead to a downward company spiral or takeover. Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s CEO, appears to be using these ill-advised tactics.

Numerous studies have shown that ROWE increases productivity, decreases turnover and improves employee well-being and work-life balance. The Best Buy decision comes on the heels of Yahoo CEO’s Marissa Mayer announcement to end ROWE, and in particular, telecommuting options for its employees.

What’s ailing these companies is not their workers. It’s their management. Employees will give all they can to a company that trusts and respects them. Getting rid of ROWE sends a loud and clear message from management that employees are no longer trusted or respected. Does management actually think that by implementing these changes it will motivate employees to worker harder and be more loyal to the company? The opposite will occur.

Like any company-wide policy, ROWE needs to be managed properly. It’s naive to think a policy won’t be abused by some if management is lacking in oversight. Best Buy’s stock might get a bump as a result of dropping ROWE because the stock market likes tough talk from a company’s CEO, but it’s the company employees who will have the final say.

Management Success Tip #64: Catch Employees In The Act Of Doing It Right!

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Ever wonder why your employees get that “deer in the headlights” look when you stop by their work area?

It’s elementary, my dear Watson: Most workers worry big-time when they see their manager looking over their shoulder or stopping by their work area because they are convinced that the manager is looking for something they did wrong.

They’re right! That is what managers are most often looking for. And that very worry will often make the employee do something wrong.

You may not think you are lambasting your employee with your disappointment or frustration or correction – but that’s how your employee can easily perceive it, and more often than not, he or she will feel small, diminished and devalued. Not a good springboard for improved performance, much less enthusiastic engagement.

Start a new trend. Get your employees in the habit of anticipating your visits as an opportunity to be appreciated. When workers know you’re on the lookout for good work, for things done right, that’s what they’ll want to produce.

When you expect to catch workers in the act of doing something right, you will be met with good work most of the time. Studies show that a manager’s expectations have tremendous impact on employee job performance, and that people respond far better to positive feedback than to negative.

Catch your employees in the act of doing something right. They may very well surprise you with an increase in performance and productivity. You certainly will surprise them!

Management Success Tip #63: Management By Diplomacy: Keep That Employee Motivation Humming!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Old school management used to run along the lines of “Tell ‘em what to do, and either they do it or they’re out!” Try that in any contemporary workplace and guess what? You’re out! If you are to be a successful manager, nowadays you must be at least as much a diplomat with your employees as you are a goal-achiever. defines diplomacy as “skill in managing negotiations, handling people, etc., so that there is little or no ill will.” Ah yes, it’s that “little or no ill will” that’s the stickler.

For example, your team developed Project X along certain lines. Proud of them and excited about their efforts, you present Project X to the higher-ups, who shoot it down in record time, and respond with an entirely different set of criteria and requirements.

If that’s all you come back to your team with, the new Project X direction will be met with reluctance and resistance if not outright sabotage. Talk about “ill-will”! You’ll be dealing with it in spades.

Before you unload the nasty news on your team, find a way to re-frame it. Reframing is delivering a message in a different context, much like you would re-frame a picture. In order to do that, you need to find that different context.

The easiest way to do that, is to go to whichever higher-up is most likely to discuss things with you, and ask: “Why the turn-down?” From among the reasons you’re given, you will be able to extract some that re-frame the decision in a way less likely to generate ill-will.

For example, the company had been running surveys and determined that the Project X suggested direction was unlikely to succeed. Or the budget required exceeded what the company could allocate; maybe next year would be better.

Now you have something with which to go to your team that justifies their spending time and energy on a new direction.

A flat “No” is very hard to hear. Qualify that “No” by reframing it, and you’ll keep your team’s motivation where you need it—on track.