Management Success Tip #111: Turn Personal Dislike of an Employee into Professional Appreciation

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You can’t like all your employees–heck, most of us don’t like everyone in our extended families–and yet, you still need to manage those you’re not particularly fond of.

More importantly, you need to manage the “unliked” in a way that facilitates their happiness at work, because as has been well established by now, unhappy employees have a way of disengaging, which in turn, negatively impacts your success.

According to Amy Gallo: “Itʼs neither possible — nor even ideal — to build a team comprised entirely of people youʼd invite to a backyard barbecue. But there are real pitfalls to disliking an employee. Consciously or unconsciously, you might mismanage him or treat him unfairly and fail to see the real benefit he can deliver to your team.”

The most effective antidote to personal dislike of someone? See the best in them! Focus on what the employee brings to your team that is of most benefit to its overall success. Pay attention to the ways in which the employee contributes, and emphasize those.

It doesn’t have to be something big: perhaps an employee you’re not particularly fond of is always on time, or shows enthusiasm for projects, or has good cost-cutting ideas.

What matters is that you switch your focus from your personal dislike of the employee to your professional appreciation for your employee’s value.


Management Success Tip #109: Prime the Employee Accountability Pump with Clear Performance Criteria

You may think that keeping your employees happy means turning a blind eye to their performance snafus or failures–which of course you can’t afford to do without losing your job. But you worry about sacrificing employee engagement if you insist on accountability.

Fortunately, there is a way out. Jane Perdue suggests:

“Holding people accountable doesn’t require a six-inch thick binder…or being a micro-managing jerk. What’s needed is a boss…who has our best interest at heart and who has the character and courage to speak out when we don’t deliver up to our potential.”

Two of the ways Perdue recommends to assure employee accountability without losing their engagement are:

“1. Agree on performance requirements at the beginning of the work project. Get very, very clear on outcomes, and talk them through together to assure two-way understanding. If skill and/or commitment gaps exist, devise a plan to close them.

2. Take action the very first time outcomes fall short of defined expectations. Doing so doesn’t make you a bad person. Doing so makes you a good manager. It builds your credibility and many times solves the performance problem, especially if it’s a commitment issue. Some folks like to test and see where the boundaries are. Let them know you expect excellence.”

Employees like to perform at their best. Help them do so by fairly holding them–and yourself–accountable.

Management Success Tip #108: Four Questions to Assure Good Communication Rather Than Just Assume It!

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You lay out a goal or project for your team, they are silent, you assume your team members are on board.

Good luck! As Kevin Eikenberry succinctly states:

“When we assume that other people know what we’re thinking, and what we are expecting of them, we do them a real disservice – and end up causing frustration and conflict…Nothing is ever obvious unless you made it obvious by spelling it out.”

Here are some good questions to ask of your employees, to assure good communication rather than assume it.

– “I just want to make sure that I am clear. Would you please tell me what you understood me to say?”

– “I’d like to make sure I said that clearly. Please tell me what you heard?”

– “I’m not sure that I am conveying my idea the best way. What have you heard me say?”

– “I may have said that in a way that does not really communicate what I’m trying to say. ..What message did you hear?”

Change these questions as needed to fit your personal style. It’s not the words that are important, but the idea behind them. The more you make sure that the message you communicated is indeed what is heard by those you speak to, the better for all concerned, as well as the success of your business.

Management Success Tip #107: Treat Your Employees as Volunteers to Enhance Company Succes

volunteer_clip_artOf course your employee comes to work to get a paycheck, that’s obvious. However, your employee can get a paycheck somewhere else–even in a rough economy. Employees, especially your best and brightest, stay because they feel valued, listened to, and fairly rewarded for their efforts.

A fascinating management perspective that helps you treat your employees in a way that will keep them happy and engaged, is to think of your employees as “volunteers.”

In other words, you cannot force anyone to do anything. In the final analysis, any employee has the freedom to leave.

David M. Dye states:

“This fundamental truth — that everyone is a volunteer — will change your leadership forever. Every person on your team becomes a gift. Every action they take is a freely given gift. Every ounce of energy they expend on a project is a gift.

Your work as a leader shifts from force to invitation, from control to influence, from fear to gratitude. You won’t lead to wring out the worst, but to bring out the best.”

Dye continues with a specific tool you can use in treating your employees with the respect you would a volunteer:

“Connect the ‘what’ to the ‘why.’ Work without meaning is a form of punishment suitable to prison camps. Make sure your team knows the purpose behind their tasks, the value in the organization’s work, and how their work makes a difference. If the work has no meaning — eliminate it!”

Your willingness to listen to your employees’ concerns and opinions, and your respect for who they are and what they contribute, will grow in direct proportion to your willingness to see each and every employee as a valued “volunteer.”

Along with, as a natural consequence–the success of your business.