Management Advice

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Croix68, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Croix68

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    Hi guys,

    Does anyone have any management advice to share? Advice on leading a team or coaching a poor performing employee. Or how to have a candid conversation with someone who can't get the job done. I got promoted 6 months ago and now am a leader of leaders, but some of the those that report to me aren't cutting it. I'm at the point where I can't pick up their slack anymore. Any advice?
     
  2. Gl3nn

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    There's no one way management advice that you can use.

    It all depends on various factors. Is it motivation they're lacking or don't they have the necessary know-how/capacities to do their job, ...

    And perhaps more importantly, what is your leadership style? Focus on employees or on results? (if both, choose which one you think is most important). This is of course simplified A LOT. There are a lot more approaches, but in this specific case of them not doing their job well, it should suffice.

    + Do you have goals upfront that you want to reach or do you have the mentality of: any growth is good, I'll see what goals I want to reach along the way.
     
  3. invisibleman

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    Poor performance stems from bad working habits, lack of training, lack of direction and misunderstanding, absent-minded management. If you have a project to do...you have goals and objectives. You have work plans. You have to have a clear idea of those plans and must have them translated to your workers as duties. And have them understand how important it is. What their responsibilities are. What they need to acheive maximum success for your projects. And you need to meet with your workers regularly to monitor their progress. And you must be accessible to be able to meet with them if any problems arise so that things can be handled.
     
  4. JMeister

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    Croix68,

    Spoken by a true first time manager. For starters read Difficult Conversations. If after reading it you say to yourself I already knew what I just read then fire yourself.
     
  5. invisibleman

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  6. invisibleman

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  7. invisibleman

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  8. BiItalianBro

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    You will develop your own leadership style over time and there will be trial and error. I learned more by managing than sitting in the classroom or seminars. The above advice about CLEARLY outlining objectives and responsibilities is dead on, but allot of management technique is the ability to read people and situations and adapt accordingly; not something that can be 'taught' or 'learned'...you have the skill or you don't...just like some excel at math and I still use my fingers to subtract 6 from 10 lol. If the higher-ups promoted you into this role, then they must be confident in your ability to lead.

    Here is a cute video on what NOT to do. Scary thing is, it is tongue and cheek, but like many, I have actually worked under people like this!!! LOL Congrats on your promotion Croix...that is no small accomplishment given the nature of the economy and hyper-competition in the workplace today =)

    Dailymotion - How to Micromanage Like a Real Ass**** - a College video
     
  9. vince

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    Without specifics it's hard to give anything but general advice. Each situation and individual is unique.

    Be honest with yourself and with them. Very honest. And don't sugar coat it or give mixed messages. I find being non-confrontational, but firm and clear is the easiest and best way to talk to an employee who isn't performing well. Listen to them, but don't be snowed by them. One thing I have often had to deal with is personal problems impacting the job. Most of the time I don't buy it and tell them to be adult and leave it at home. I have problems too, but I don't bring it to work. If I did, none of us would have a job.

    I could write for hours on this subject. But really it just boils down to common sense and fairness. I think being a parent did more to prepare me to be an employer or manager of people, than any of the books I read on the subject
     
  10. invisibleman

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  11. invisibleman

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  12. D_Cock_Hudson

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    If you think the underperformers are beyond hope, sack them.
     
  13. jason_els

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    It's really important to learn that not everyone communicates the same way. If you look at Meyers-Briggs personality types, you'll find that people can interpret the exact same written instructions many different ways. You have to adjust your communication style to each employee. The head of accounting is going to be a very different person than the head of graphic design and if they need to work together as a team, you have to assign each of them tasks that match the talents they were hired for.

    I think management too often treats employees all the same, using the same motivators, same instructions, same style, to communicate when that just doesn't work. Your goals need to be transmitted in a way that each employee understands. To do this, use your communication skills to transmit that information to each employee using the type of communication best suited to that employee. Accountants may well prefer detailed written instructions, your creative people may well prefer A/V presentations dealing with concepts and goals, your engineers would love detailed specs and outlines of what's wanted and then be left to do their job. Your advertising people want enthusiasm and market reports and a little emotion so they get the gist of your task along with the goals. Some people will interpret figures better than emotions and ideas, some will interpret specs and definitions better, some will only want to walk around with you smelling flowers while you talk about your ideas. None of these styles is wrong. These people were hired for their unique talents and it takes people of all kinds to have all kinds of talent. They're not all cookie-cutter gingerbread men. It's your job to bring out the best of their talents and the BEST way to do that with someone is to treat them and their talent with the respect they deserve. Diplomats don't go to foreign courts ignoring the customs of the people they're assigned to. You have to do the same thing.

    What is also terminally important and something which is grossly overlooked much of the time is feedback. When you transmit an idea to someone you must ask that person for feedback. Make certain that they understand what it is you want and what you're saying. Handing out a memo and then saying, "any questions? no? good." actually discourages feedback. Don't give your people the option not to say anything. Tell them you are going to give them an assignment, transmit that assignment in ways they understand, then ask them what it is you've just assigned. It sounds childish but any business communications expert will tell you that it is essential to receive detailed feedback for truly clear communication to take place.

    One other thing. See yourself as a facilitator. Make their jobs easier not by taking-up their slack, but by enabling them to do their job. If someone is falling behind, ask them why. Ask what it is you can do to help them accomplish the job they need to do. Don't do it for them, ask them how you can give them the resources for them to accomplish their job. Many times the answer is fairly simple and usually it ranges from bad team dynamics to a misunderstanding of resources required. That last one is huge and rampant in business. Very often someone will say, "I need to do this but all these little fires keep cropping-up so I can't focus on my main goal." It's important to keep communication open so that if these things happen, your subordinate can come to you to and say, "This project isn't getting done on time because Sally's been out and I don't have a replacement, we're doing ISO, and another department keeps pestering us for a report that upper management wants." You have to make that person's job easier by always knowing what your priorities are, organizing them, and then telling your employee what is most important and then giving them the tools to do the task on their own. Run interference for them so they can work, not being a ballboy for their own employees or other departments. I know lots of managers who love to demand things of other departments to lessen the work load in their own department. That makes them look good and you look not-so-good. Cooperate when you need to and when you can. You're all part of the same ship, but make certain that YOU are the conduit for requests like these. Never make your people responsible to another manager without a specific agreement with time and duty limits spelled out in writing.

    Very often coaching employees is difficult because the need for coaching indicates that you and the employee are on very different wavelengths. The best thing to do is to just sit down and talk about the job, what's going on in their lives, and learn about how this employee thinks and works. Ask them direct and candid questions about how they see the company, the department, their coworkers, their duties, and what kind of person they are. Learn this person's communication style and just keep asking questions. Then turn the tables and have that person interview you. Let them learn about how you work, how you like to have things done, your communication style. When this is done, then ask what you can do to facilitate the goals you have assigned to your employee. Ask for ideas to make the job more compelling, ask what resources you can give to make the goal happen, ask why this person might be discouraged, unhappy, or feeling unappreciated. You have to be sincere in this and your employee has to know that he or she can be completely frank in response.

    I have seen top performing teams fall apart because of the change in one manager above them, and I have seen the worst performing teams turn around completely because of the change in one manager above them. Most people aren't so incompetent in their jobs that they can never work in their field if you fire them. They'll find a job elsewhere and, if they do a good job of choosing a new employer, they'll find themselves happier and greatly appreciated for the job they do. Realize that immediately because replacing an employee and disrupting the work environment because of that firing is not only costly in monetary terms, but harmful to the morale of your ranks. Studies show that firing someone whom even other employees feel is incompetent results in a downturn in productivity on the part of everyone that employee comes into contact with. Those left behind may intellectually understand why the decision was made but it reminds them that they are just as dispensible too and it lowers their opinion of your leadership that you could not find a way to motivate that employee. There emotional factors as well over which they have no control. It's simply the psychology of humans. Firing should be a very last resort to maintain the integrity of the work your group produces and to maintain your position of leadership.

    Also make sure those of your subordinates who are responsible for other employees aren't little tyrants. One of the greatest dangers in middle management is the Little Napoleon syndrome. Make sure they treat their people with the same respect you do and make certain that they follow policies. Watch for high-turnover or the loss of long-term or high-value employees under their watch. When a 10 year veteran with supervisory experience and good reviews suddenly decamps, find out why from the veteran him or herself, not just from your immediate subordinate.

    In other words, stop looking at your org from the top down and try to work it from the bottom-up. Be a communicator, facilitator, and leader. Give your subordinates power to match their responsibility! Never give them responsibility without the authority to accomplish a goal. It's a recipe for frustration, rumors, bad work, and terrible morale.
     
  14. SpeedoGuy

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    My experience from similar circumstances? Glad you asked...

    COVER YOUR ASS.

    The underlings who (nominally) worked for me proved to be much more skilled and experienced at passive-aggressive resistance than they were at actually doing the job at hand.
     
  15. Drifterwood

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    People need to be in no doubt what is expected of them. You should not be covering for them, you should be managing what they do and how they do it, and measuring their performance against agreed targets/goals. It then becomes clear whether they are capable of or willing to do the job. If they are then great, if they are not, then in the UK at least, you have documented appraisal to get rid of them.

    The best managers get the best people to work for them.
     
  16. D_Tintagel_Demondong

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    Only as a last resort. Try to motivate them first. If that fails, give them a warning that their performance is lacking, which could result in their dismissal. If that doesn't work, sack them.
     
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