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Getting the Best out of People


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60 replies to this topic

#46 mcanerin

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 08:08 PM

Market, you're defending a boss who (the general consensus in the workplace in question appears to be) moved or lost critical files necessary for an employee to complete her job? And your "advice" is to ask said boss how to improve "her" attitude?

I'm confused. If you went to your shop tonight and hid all the tools, would your response to your employees the next day, who looked upset at not being able to do their job, be:

Make a list of the things that bother you and then make a list of what you think you contribute to the company and what you think your job is.


The list would be quite short and specific, I think. I've noticed that people short on managment skills tend to blame the employees as a knee-jerk defensive reaction. BTW, I'm not suggesting you do this, since I don't know. I am trusting you would find interfering with an employees job and then blaming them for it would be a stupid thing to do.

I don't know this boss, though my first introduction to him via Dragon was her asking how to deal with his directions for her to steal. Which does not impress me with a sense of his professionalism. Whether he is responsible for the missing documents, or it's Dragon, or pixies, the only evidence presented so far doesn't appear to support the documents going missing to be the result of what someone "thinks their job should be."

It seems like almost everytime she's mentioned this guy you've a ) jumped to his defence, and b ) blamed her for the issue. It's like watching a Dilbert cartoon. I'm wondering if she is reminding you of one of your own people and you are reacting based on that - I can't see any other reason to the frequency and tone of your responses - most people either disagree or agree and don't bother actually posting. You appear to have strong personal feelings about this. It may not be so, but it's what it appears like to me. Re-read your posts at arms length and see if you see what I mean.

I'm enjoying the posts both you and dragon make, and I would hate it if one or both of you decided to stop posting because of personality conflicts in a forum. Relax! It's cyber space! For all you really know, dragon could be a 50 year old millionaire who's just posting for fun, or you might be her boss :) (hmmmmm)

Ian

#47 market seeker

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 09:18 PM

There are two sides to every problem and we've only heard one side, that of an employee who is clearly not happy with her job.

I know what it's it's like having someone over my shoulder infact having many people watch every move I make. That includes having cameras watch my every move and recording it. If you've ever been in a casino you know what I'm talking about. I was a craps dealer and pit boss for a number of years.

She doesn't know who took the papers or she wouldn't have looked for them for so long. If I thought my boss was hindering me I would definately confront him.

I'm not suggesting that Dragon has an attitude but when you're going to the boss you don't want to make him look like a fool. There are ways to ask questions and get business done with out having a confrontation.

I think you should go back and read my post and try to understand what I was saying.

With out her telling her boss how she feels and what she as an employee expects from him. How will he know.

Basically leave your hands off my work, leave me alone, let me do my work, and pay me when it's done, If you don't like me here or my work is not up to par then let me know so I can fix it or you can get someone else.

and if that don't work there's always the parking lot. LOL

about me leaving this forum
My skin is thicker than leather and I enjoy this forum and learn alot being here. I ain't goin nowhere.

Dragon Lady please don't take offense at anything I say, sometimes I can get rough, but I don't mean anything by it. I feel that communication is the fixer, alot of people get divorced because of a lack of communication. The same thing can happen at work and who do you think is going to endure more hardship if you don't communicate. You or your boss?

#48 market seeker

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 09:23 PM

mcanerin

I went back and reread my post and couldnt find anywhere that I was defending her boss. I made a suggestion on how she could eliminate her problem.

#49 patrickh

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 09:23 AM

There are two sides to every problem and we've only heard one side, that of an employee who is clearly not happy with her job.

I agree with market seekers last post; all we have heard was the (no offense) 'poor me that boss is such a a-hole' side of things, for all we know her boss could be on a different forum writing about how she is doing everything wrong to complicate his job :lol:, you just dont know -- with stuff like this I find it very hard to believe one persons side of a story, because there are always personal feelings/emotions at play. I appreciate the fact that market seeker is trying to throw in a perspective from the other end of the table, far more productive then all just replying "yeah your boss sure does suck!" IMO.

My opinion from what I have seen in dragonladys posts is she is pretty negative on just about everything, so if I had to guess I would think the problem at her job might be more with her than with her employer. Obviously I don't know either of them, but that is just the impression I get from seeing (or reading, I suppose) her posts -- nobody wants to work with someone who admittedly has no motivation to work hard, and seems to be always complaining.

Not trying to be rude to anyone, just my 2 cents. :eek:

#50 qwerty

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 09:27 AM

I'd say she's negative about everything involving her job, but if you look back at her posts (and her blog) you'll see there's plenty of joy mixed in: her web site (her own, not the company's), her plans, her boyfriend, his car, food.... she's also a damn good writer.

#51 stoli

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 11:12 AM

Most of the time there are always 2 sides to every story. I know for a fact that there are 2 sides to every coin. It is easy to compain or gripe about something that you are not happy with. We all do it to some extent or another.

The hard part is compromising to where both parties agree what the problems are and how best to resolve them. As a small business owner, I always know that issues are here. It is how I deal with them that truly matters most. I can choose to ignore them or I can deal with them and hopefully turn them into positives.

I know that Dragonlady7 has a lot to offer. Just by reading posts, I know she is intellegent and a crafty writer and conversationalist. I think Dragonlady7 is young( which we all were/are), and has to find her niche in life. Maybe her current job is it, or maybe it will end up to be a 180 degree turn from where it is now.

It doesnt seem to me that Dragonlady7 is utilizing her true talents at her current job and that is making her unhappy. Her boss is also not utilizing her talents and should see that. What is done about it remains to be seen. If he is truly unhappy with her performance he owes it to himself, the company, and to Dragonlady7 to find a solution. In turn, Dragonlady7 also owes it to herself, the company, and her boss to find a solution.

I am not Dr. Laura but that is how I see things. :mellow:

#52 mcanerin

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:13 PM

Agreed. I've heard some horror stories about people who I've gone on to meet and respect simply because the originator of the horror story has little experience, isn't in a position to know all the facts, and has a hidden agenda or personal issues. I've also heard horror stories that paled in comparison to the reality of the situation.

To be honest, I think some of the the "best" jobs I ever had were ones where everyone there (including me) were miserable and embroiled in politics whether they liked it or not. At those jobs I learned a lot of things about myself and others. Surviving it made me a lot stronger and more confident in dealing with adversity. Not to say I *liked* it. I didn't enjoy getting shot at in the military, but it made me a lot better at doing my job than all the drills ever did. I actually took it seriously after that :unsure: The fact that the guys who did the shooting were supposed to be on my side gave me a bit of an attitude about workplace professionalism, I admit.

Friedrich Nietzsche: That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.

It's the whole *killing* part I have a problem with. In every battle, workplace or otherwise, there are innocent or undeserving casualties. I can be hard-hearted when the troublemaker or his or her friends get in trouble, but a lot of times there are some truly wonderful people who become collateral damage. It's wasteful and weakens the good guys. There are those who decide that the best way to become a manager is to act like the manager they have, being too inexperienced to know better. There are those who were hurt or backstabbed and now defend themselves by only "doing their job" instead of trying to improve or to help others (common in public services). The common denominator to most of these places is the tendancy to blame rather than support, hence my concern in this forum, which hopefully is misplaced.

I also agree whining doesn't solve anything, but accepting the unacceptable is a fools choice.

Another common denominator in bad companies is deviation from the rule that: Authority and Responsibility should be equal. When you give an employee or manager the responsibility (and hence blame) for a project, you must logically give them the authority to carry out that responsibility. This rarely happens in bad work environments. Few things are more disheartening than knowing you will be blamed for something you have no control over.

Likewise, managers who like to maintain Authority for things but will not accept Responsibility (or blame), tend to go out of control. Think about it. Chances are that almost every bad manager you've ever had did not keep authority and responsibility in balance, and your good managers choose people, trained them, and then trusted them to do their jobs.

This forum is for getting the best out of people, and it's a great topic. Shall we continue?

Ian

#53 market seeker

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:22 PM

I would like to hear from Dragon Lady's boss. Mabey she could get him to read this thread and then we will have the whole story. Both points of view and mabey come up with a solution for both of them.

#54 qwerty

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:28 PM

Maybe after she's given her notice. There's stuff in here that's sufficiently insulting to her boss that there's no way she'd still have her job after he read it.

#55 mcanerin

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:34 PM

Since you live and work in Las Vegas, I don't have to ask if you're a betting man (most locals are not - I lived there for a while, and my company is incorporated there) but I'd put fairly high odds on that NOT happening.

The benifits of it helping if he's a fair-minded, thick skinned fellow would far outweigh (IMHO) the drawbacks of the results if he resembles the posts :unsure:. Especially since if he's fair minded and thick skinned it could get solved easily without the use of a forum. Though it would be interesting.

Dragon, at this point it's not really you we are talking about, but rather the differences in viewpoint and objectivity in the workplace (at least, that's it for me) I wonder if anyone here is (or knows) a boss with a difficult employee? We've seen the view from the other way.

Ian

#56 meta

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:37 PM

It would be very nice to hear from some of the people here who are managers - please tell us more about things that you have done that brought the best out from your people.

Here's something that I like about my employer - from the day I came in, it was assumed that I was someone who could talk to a customer. That may not sound like much to you, but in a previous job, I might have been canned for daring to approach a customer - that was just not done. So now I am viewed as a resource for technical sales discussion (actually that is now my primary job) and I'm good at it. I love talking to customers. Customers are comfortable talking to me, they share a lot of information with me. Often, they buy something! So showing confidence in me helps the company to sell software. That's one way to bring out the best in people.

#57 market seeker

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:43 PM

Dragon, at this point it's not really you we are talking about, but rather the differences in viewpoint and objectivity in the workplace (at least, that's it for me)

Ditto for me.

No I'm not a betting man having seen poeple loose more money than I will make in many years on a roll of the dice .

#58 market seeker

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:57 PM

It would be very nice to hear from some of the people here who are managers - please tell us more about things that you have done that brought the best out from your people.

I've only had two jobs in my life where I had a boss. One was the army where you did what you're told or you go to jail. The other was a dealer in a casino where customer support was 100% of your job. Making sure people are happy is not an easy job when they're losing money.

The best way to have a good time at work is to play golf with the boss.

I'm an E-5 at work, it's my way or the highway. I don't want to hear any complaining from employees and they better get the work done that they're assigned. If they argue with a customer they're gone right now. If they have a legitamate beef let's take care of it now so I don't have to hear about it later.

As they say in the casinos "Dummy up and deal" or "shut up and do your job"

I brind the best out of people with beer and bar b que when the work is done.

#59 IAN

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 03:13 PM

In response to the request for an employer to comment-

I've had many more amazing employees than sub par- but most managers have had one or two bad seeds at some point.

My first defense is knowledge. I speak with my team constantly. If you told each of them right now to come in for a review, each should be able to tell you without hesitation what they will hear. This year's reviews went exactly that way. If you are doing well- you know what I think you'r strong suits are and where you can add. If you aren't- you know what I think the weaknesses are and how I would like to see them fixed. If you job is on the line- there is not a doubt. If you have a chance at moving up there is not a doubt.

Usually, this is very successful for me. It doesn't always make me the most loved- but it does breed respect and a great team. After a short time of getting used to it, it also does make a much happier group of people generally.

There are people who don't respond well to this as well. These are the people that I talk to early and often- because I do love my job. I have never overstayed my love of a company or position. I don't want to keep miserable people around either- for them, my team, or me.

#60 mcanerin

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 03:34 PM

please tell us more about things that you have done that brought the best out from your people.


I used to have an interesting job. I was part of a "turnaround" team that would go into restaurants (this was at a well known fast food company I worked at while in University) that were not profitable or otherwise badly run and we would try to fix things.

As you can imagine, we were hardly meet with open arms and big smiles - especially since most of the time the problems were the result of bad management decisions and we had to work with the current managment team . The 2 areas I spent a lot of time working on were hiring (and firing) and delegation of responsibility.

The first 2 things I checked were 1) does the manager on that shift feel comfortable leaving their top people or lower ranked managers in charge for a while, and 2) how many employees currently working there shouldn't be but "we don't have anything specific on them" or "we don't want to get sued".

If a manager could actually say "I'm leaving now and will be back in 2 days - if there is a major problem, call me, otherwise it's your responsibility" and come back with the place in as good a shape or better than when he/she left, the employees are well trained, experienced and trustworthy.

If the thought of saying that gives the manager nightmares and the employees are not all new hires, then the manager is not delegating properly. This does not mean you can abdicate your responsibility, but if your employees don't know how to run the company during routine operations the manager is at fault. The manager should be there to raise the bar from good to excellent, and deal with unusual issues or things like company direction, not micromanaging.

If there are employees that should not be there then you should have trained them properly, corrected their behavior, or removed them. Note that you talk about behaviour, not personality. You don't say "you are a bad worker", you say "you take too many breaks and did not complete your assigned tasks on time". One is a personal attack, the other gives feedback and direction for corrective behavior. If the employee does not correct their behavior after specific written requests to do so, ask them to leave or fire them. I've seen a lot of places destroyed because uncorrected employees stayed on when they should have been gone. What does that tell other employees about what is acceptable behaviour? Actions speak louder than words.

In one particularly bad store, I ended up hiring 101 people and letting go 99 (not all at once). That was a record, and an unusual circumstance. The store went from being rated FFD to AAA in one year. I also promoted and trained 7 managers, 5 of which are store managers now. This was in an area of the city where it was common "knowledge" that the residents were a "bunch of thieves and welfare bums" That was a quote from the store manager on my first day there. He wasn't there at the end of that year.

It's all about people. Choose them carefully, train them well, trust them to do the job, and respect their need to grow and take on extra responsibilities in other areas. It really does work.

Ian




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