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 #46: Before A Crisis Sinks the Company Ship: Turn to Your Employees!

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When the economy whacks your business with a resounding downturn, or a major account disappears, it’s natural to think first of stripping down: tightening the belt on resources, laying off employees, forgoing new projects.

Unfortunately, this approach has an adverse effect on employee morale and motivation, often at the very time you need employees to perform and produce better than ever—with less.

Although it may feel like the only solution (and sometimes may be the only solution), there’s another possibility to consider.

What if this problem became an opportunity to assess how you are currently conducting your business? What if you looked upon the problem as an opportunity to discover new customer needs? To find new and different solutions to customer issues? To create better, more streamlined product and services?

What if you put the problem to your employees in that light? “We’re going through a serious rough patch here. We have two options: downsize everything, or get creative.” Which do you think your employees are going to pick? Which is the more motivating challenge?

Back when SouthWest Airlines was a 4-plane company, and they had to sell off one of their cherished airplanes in order to pay employee salaries, they were faced with the dilemma of how to run a 4-plane route with only 3 planes. It was one of their employees who came up with how to implement a quick turn-around time which became a major reason for SouthWest’s success.

Engage your employees in the problem-solving discussion. Refuse to accept only one answer to your company’s current crisis. Your employees may not come up with “the” answer, but you may be surprised at just how much of “the” answer they do figure out—and how much more committed they are to the company that respected their contributions.