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Before I became a manager, I thought having a poor performer would be my biggest challenge. I was wrong. The toughest challenge is trying to manage someone whose opinion of themselves is light years away from yours and everyone else’s. Providing coaching and feedback is beyond frustrating. Larry was my initiation to the clueless employee and it didn't end well.
A while ago, a friend asked me how she should motivate her very unmotivated employee. Her employee did just enough to get by, made it clear he was counting the days and was a downer to be around. Firing was not an option. For you Office fans out there, think Stanley Hudson. I wrote a blog on How to Motivate Your Team, which I think is helpful for the average worker, but to be honest, while many of these tips will help, you need to bring out the big guns when dealing with the Stanley Hudson’s of the world. Here are some “big gun” ideas:
“In the end, you only hit what you aim at.” - Thoreau
Setting goals for your team is one of the toughest parts of the manager’s job. Not only does your team need something to aim for, but you also need a way to quantify results. After all, measuring performance is a lot easier when you have something to measure against.
As a new manager, I agonized over setting goals for my team members and tried nearly every methodology, from flying by the seat of my pants to devising a highly formulaic approach. Here are a few things that I learned the hard way.
If you’re really lucky, you have at least one top tier, high performer on your team. And in case you forget how fantastic they are, they’ll often remind you. As a manager, I had more than one superstar tell me I should make less than them because they really drove my success. These high maintenance people are often much harder to deal with than your poor performers. So how do you manage these confident, highly skilled superstars? Here are three tips that should help:
No doubt you've said this before, if only to yourself. Every manager is or should be expected to spend time coaching their employees- even the really good ones. But let’s be real, between putting our fires, strategic planning, mediating disputes, and responding to unhappy customers, coaching is not always at the top of your To Do list. I’m not suggesting that you delegate all of your coaching responsibilities; it ‘s too important a job, but finding mentors can help.
In a study by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in the Harvard Business Review, they found that coaching your “tails”, the highest and lowest performers does little. While their study was focused on sales reps, I think the results are applicable across many disciplines. If you have a limited amount of time to coach, focus on the middle 60%, your core performers. So what do you do with the other 40%?
Steve Martin (not the actor) recently wrote a great blog in the Harvard Business Review on the Seven Personalities of Top Salespeople. While I completely agree with him about the successful traits of this breed of worker, as a former sales manager, I also recognize the unique challenges managers face when trying to lead and manage this group. Here are some tips:
Everyone has worked alongside a colleague with a bad attitude, but how do you handle it when you’re the manager?
A question about emotional outbursts on Ask Cindy & Laura got me thinking. It’s tempting to label these people and move on, but left unaddressed, they’ll destroy your team’s morale and office productivity.
What constitutes a bad attitude and how do you stop it?
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