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Getting the Best out of People


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60 replies to this topic

#16 qwerty

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 11:22 PM

Scottie, you only quoted half of my idea. You left out

Maybe in such a case, the best thing you can accomplish is just the act of making it clear that you need them to get their stories straight.


I don't think we really disagree very much on this. I have nagged bosses to the point where they gave me the feedback I needed just to shut me up. But I've also found myself in a situation of having all my suggestions and all my requests for guidance utterly ignored. And yes, in that situation, I did the best I could with what I had, but frankly, that wasn't much, and it didn't feel very good to tell myself that I'd done all I could. The best strategy in that case was to get out.

#17 Scottie

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 11:27 PM

No, I don't think we disagree. I did miss that line! It's too late to be posting! :P

#18 mcanerin

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 11:56 PM

A long time ago I actually took some practical managment courses. One thing I actually found useful was the 5 initiative types. The idea was that every employee goes through (ideally - some get stuck) 5 levels of initiative and that the appropriate management style varies depending on the employees level.

Level 1. Waits to be told. This is the new hire, or the new transfer. They have no idea what to do, and asking them what they think they should do is good cause for panic. Best management style is Directive. Tell them what to do and how to do it, in small steps, with feedback. Micromanagment is actually good here.

Level 2. Asks what to do. Now they are getting more comfortable, but still need to be told what to do. Best style is Directive, but with more feedback - start doing a little Coaching.

Level 3. Recommends Action. Many employees stay here. They know their jobs and are confident enough to recommend things related to that job. Best Management style is Coach. Encourage independent thinking and give lots of feedback. Follow up, but don't hover.

Level 4. Takes Action, reports immediately. They know whats wrong and have the knowledge and confidence to fix it. After fixing it, they tell you right away. Start looking at management training for this kind of employee. Best Style is Consultive (Think Capt Picard of Star Trek - asks for options, then gives the orders) with some coaching. The worst thing managers do here is start trusting the employee to the point of ignoring them. Still do coaching, and routine (but not constant) feedback/followup.

Level 5. Takes action, reports routinely. This person is ready for management training or even management. They know what to do, do it, and let you know on time, but don't follow you around with reports/emails. Consultation is best, with routine follow up and guidance, but trust them.

Sorry about the speech, but I've seen a lot of managers that stick to only one style, and end up with a lot of dissatisfied employees. You don't abandon some poor newbie anymore than you micromanage your stars. Different strokes for different folks.

The other thing to remember is that everyone goes through these steps, but the speed can vary greatly. If they are an expert already and are just new to your company, they can go through all 5 stages in less than a week. Others may stay at level 1 or 2 their whole lives and be happy about it.

#19 meta

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 10:04 PM

A long time ago I actually took some practical managment courses. One thing I actually found useful was the 5 initiative types. The idea was that every employee goes through (ideally - some get stuck) 5 levels of initiative and that the appropriate management style varies depending on the employees level.

Level 1. Waits to be told. This is the new hire, or the new transfer. They have no idea what to do, and asking them what they think they should do is good cause for panic. Best management style is Directive. Tell them what to do and how to do it, in small steps, with feedback. Micromanagment is actually good here.

Level 2. Asks what to do. Now they are getting more comfortable, but still need to be told what to do. Best style is Directive, but with more feedback - start doing a little Coaching.

Level 3. Recommends Action. Many employees stay here. They know their jobs and are confident enough to recommend things related to that job. Best Management style is Coach. Encourage independent thinking and give lots of feedback. Follow up, but don't hover.

Level 4. Takes Action, reports immediately. They know whats wrong and have the knowledge and confidence to fix it. After fixing it, they tell you right away. Start looking at management training for this kind of employee. Best Style is Consultive (Think Capt Picard of Star Trek - asks for options, then gives the orders) with some coaching. The worst thing managers do here is start trusting the employee to the point of ignoring them. Still do coaching, and routine (but not constant) feedback/followup.

Level 5. Takes action, reports routinely. This person is ready for management training or even management.  They know what to do, do it, and let you know on time, but don't follow you around with reports/emails. Consultation is best, with routine follow up and guidance, but trust them.

Sorry about the speech, but I've seen a lot of managers that stick to only one style, and end up with a lot of dissatisfied employees. You don't abandon some poor newbie anymore than you micromanage your stars. Different strokes for different folks.

The other thing to remember is that everyone goes through these steps, but the speed can vary greatly. If they are an expert  already and are just new to your company, they can go through all 5 stages in less than a week. Others may stay at level 1 or 2 their whole lives and be happy about it.

What a great post.

One thing that comes to mind is that a manager will only get the chance to see this whole progression if he or she is actually open to it. Many are not so willing to let go of control.

#20 stoli

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 03:29 PM

I think we are all in agreement that getting the best out of people should be done in a positive way. Sometimes with a little "nudging".

But what about pay raises? I know an empoyees pay is extremely important and is a central issue both with an employer and employee. Tempers can flare and this can be a cause of a lot of disenchantment.

How can a boss use this as a tool for better performance in a positive way? There are just too many times when both parties dont see eye to eye and a lot of hard feelings come about that actually contribute to a decline in performance.

Setting measurable goals can help. But still it can be a catch 22. An employee sometimes will not put full effort into the job if they feel cheated. The boss will not likely give a good raise if also they feel cheated.

This is an emotional subject so I will add :rant: :rolleyes: :type:

Edited by stoli, 07 August 2003 - 04:21 PM.


#21 deborah2002

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 03:45 PM

Good point, stoli!
A complicated one, but a good one nonetheless! MOST employees will give an employer their all if they think they are being valued, be it monetarily (usually) or even by simple verbal encouragement/appreciation.
By the same token, employers want to know they are spending the time/effort/money on someone who's not just watching the clock tick to 5. It's a two way street and really boils down to good communication on both parts.

:thumbsup:

#22 meta

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 03:47 PM

Oops, I hadn't realized that I was quoting that post. Sorry about that.

#23 stoli

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 06:20 PM

It's a two way street and really boils down to good communication on both parts.

:thumbsup:


I agree, that pretty much sums it up. The more you talk about issues, the less surprises may arise at that time of the year.

Keeping each other informed about progress would be another good way to communicate about performance. Not to "toot your horn", too much, only to convey "look at me, I am on the right track!"

:whip:

#24 deborah2002

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 09:14 AM

My boss takes the 4 of us (the CFO, the graphic designer guy, the customer fullfillment lady and myself) out every Thursday afternoon for lunch to "catch up on the week". During that time we talk about our respective jobs during the past week and any issues we may have.

Have to say, never done that before! It has turned out to be extremely productive, as we all start to brainstorm (then we eat til we can't hear!). We all look forward to "eat out Thursdays" so we can keep up w/each other and give each other feedback.

No point to this, just elaborating on the "communication" theme we seem to have jumped on.

:lmao:
deb

#25 Scottie

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 09:43 AM

When the small business I worked for spun off a separate small business, I set up a weekly lunch in the conference room. No agenda- just to get the 4 tech guys, the customer service person, the 2 sales staff, the head tech guy and I to sit and chat.

The most amazing things happened after those lunches. The guys would come back by the end of the day with new features and improvements that the sales people had mentioned. The sales people would have several new leads and a better understanding of why such-and-such feature was a long way off. The customer service person was getting things fixed more quickly because she knew the right person to go to from the start.

You are right Deborah! It's all about communication.

#26 stoli

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 09:50 AM

That is a good idea. Having set lunch meetings is a way to get your office to communicate more often. By everyone expecting the lunches to happen, they are harder to put off or cancel thus "forcing" the communication factor.

Food seems to get everyone relaxed, making for a better flow of info.

For me, showing up on a job with a cooler full of gatorade does wonders. People seem to appreciate the thought. Even though it doesnt cost a lot of money, it has a positive effect in getting my guys to open up.

:lmao:

#27 Jill

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 10:16 AM

How about a cooler of Stoli? :lmao:

Jill

#28 stoli

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 10:25 AM

Now your talkin!

There really would be free flow of info then. Of course there would also be a lot more free a flowin if stoli was invoved.

:lmao:

#29 mcanerin

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 10:58 AM

I've worked at several places that did weekly meetings that were very productive. Sometimes there was donuts or lunch, sometimes not - but it was still good.

I've also worked in places where the weekly meeting was pure torture. The sales guy (who never seemed to actually "sell" anything) would talk for 30 minutes on how busy he was and how things would pick up later this week (every week the same). The COO would talk for an hour on no point other than he was angry at everyone, and the techs and engineers would be busy setting up defences to their lack of results while at the same time putting all the blame on the other techs and engineers (and vendors). The meetings usually lasted 3 hours and if I had a donut in front of me I probably would have tried to commit suicide with it somehow.

Meeting Managment 101 Not complete, just some thoughts

1. Have an agenda and timetable and stick to it, even if it is an informal one.
2. Let everyone report, but blaming others is a private issue, not public.
3. Have a designated "chair" who is responsible for keeping people on topic.
4. Use Roberts Rules of Order if you need to, but if you do need to you should address the underlying reasons for it. RRO are for groups that are not effective by themselves (clubs, not companies)
5. A secretary is really useful. Getting a copy of the minutes afterward can remind you of things that you forgot to write down, and it gives a written record of what went on in case of disputes.
6.Motions and votes are only good for clubs - in a business, the manager responsible for the subject should gather input then make the decision. And stick to it.
7. If you have been there for more than 2 hours, the meeting is a failure and the chair/senior manager present is at fault. There are very few exceptions to this, and is why I usually make the chair NOT the senior manager (they never want to take blame).
8. If your senior managers can't organise their time and thoughts properly in a simple context like a meeting, you are probably working for the wrong company.

This is of course for a formal meeting. To be honest, my personal style is to meet with everyone individually every day for about 5 minutes in the morning and then to have an informal meeting with everyone as often as reasonable. Twice a week (Mon and Thur) for a crisis, once a week for busy or just starting the business, every 2 weeks for normal workloads, and at least monthly even if you don't think it's necessary (because it probably is - you'd be surprised). But you are not always in charge of things, so the "101" guidlines are for that.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Good meetings can move a company from good to great by improving teamwork, bad meetings are stressful and counterproductive.

Ian

#30 Greystar

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:39 AM

mcanerin - top posts!!

At the start of this thread I was eager to throw my tuppence in the ring, but you've said it all better than I would ever have done..

/doffs cap




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