Are You A Selfish And Judgmental Manager?

business manager employee“So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” – Peter Drucker

It’s often tempting to judge employees at every turn. Managers often feel they are not doing their jobs if they are not judging. But good judgments require foundations. In a changing economy where knowledgeable workers now play the most important roles, Drucker believed that employees should be treated as well as you would treat volunteers because they can take their knowledge and go elsewhere anytime they want.

If you remember that your employees are the ones who came to you because they believed in what your business does for others, you’ll learn to appreciate why they are there every day.

But too often, employees are treated like possessions that can be stockpiled or discarded at management’s whim. To keep them and help them thrive, Drucker said, management needs to appeal to their interests. They will stay — and produce — when they have a clear understanding of what the organization is trying to accomplish when they have responsibility for results, and when they feel they’re gaining more of the one thing no one can take away: knowledge. Anytime management makes it difficult for an employee to understand the mission (by not sharing it), to be accountable (by failing to give consistent feedback), an organization suffers. The employees might be blamed in these circumstances, but Drucker would say that management needs to look in the mirror and judge itself first.

A great manager lets his or her employees know what the organization’s game plan is. By doing this, it allows for ideas to be expressed and shared with other employees. How are you allowing this to happen within your organization?

The 80/20 Principle

80/20 principle“The best people are always underpaid and the worst people overpaid.” – Richard Koch

Over the years, I’ve found that many people settle for being mediocre at their jobs. According to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle, mediocrity is rampant. The 80/20 principle is based on statistical analysis that you can measure anything and find that 80 percent of the results are produced by 20 percent of the effort.

Take a look at your current workplace and observe who is or isn’t pulling their weight. If 80 percent of the work is being done by 20 percent of the people, what can you do about it? If you are one of the 20 percent, chances are you are being underpaid. If this is the case, learn as much as possible in your job and start looking to move on. If you aren’t enjoying job enough to provide the company with real value, chances are you are in the nonproductive, unhappy part of the 80/20 equation. In this case, it might also make sense to look elsewhere for work.

Many of us are currently in a very interesting situation. As with any economic cycle, there are upsides and downsides. Currently, most employees are feeling very disengaged at their current workplace. This is why we are going to see a lot of job shifting take place, as well as new entrepreneurial ventures begin. Employers and their management will begin to grow more and more frustrated and will start to ask “why can’t we keep any good help?” – realizing they no longer have the upper hand in today’s job market.

Apply the 80/20 principle to your workforce if you are a business owner. Determine who are the 20 percent “rockstar employees” and compensate them by giving out bonuses for productivity. Productive employees will feel grateful that their performance is acknowledged. If you don’t, someone else will. Next, weed through the 80 percent that are overpaid and don’t pull their weight. The entire value of your business will grow exponentially.

Income vs. Wealth

income wealth“The average American millionaire realizes significantly less than 10 percent of his net worth in annual income.” – Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko

I’ve come to terms that most people think that once you become a millionaire, all your worries will be over.

Until I had the privilege to work with some of the wealthiest professionals in the country, I too used to think the exact same thing. It wasn’t until after sitting down with and having talks over coffee about what it means to have a sense of financial freedom that I realized it’s not about how much income someone has come in, it’s about having the wisdom to handle it. With that said, it reminds me of a talk from Randy Haugen where he said: “If you can’t manage your finances with 40k a year coming in, then you are going to be flat out dangerous if/when you have a million!”

Stanley and Danko, authors of the best selling business classic, The Millionaire Next Door, conducted a twenty-year study of how people become wealthy in America and found some surprising results. Annual income does not translate to net worth automatically. Smart entrepreneurs use their income to give their company the resources it needs to grow. The average millionaire then looks for ways to decrease income, pay lower taxes, and use what money is left over to increase net worth.

A story is related in their book about a Texan who had done so well in the business of rebuilding diesel engines that he was taking on British partners. The Brits flew to Texas to meet him and were rather taken aback by his ten-year-old car, his worn jeans, and his modest home in a lower-middle-class neighborhood. In fact, on meeting him, they thought he was one of the company’s truck drivers. Then he showed them his spreadsheets, and they were blown away!

Besides hard work, accumulating wealth requires discipline and sacrifice, and that might mean living below your means. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t be influenced by keeping up with the Joneses.

Learning From Your Customers

customer service custserv“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

The genius of Bill Gates lies not so much in his ability to create new technology–after all, he bought, not invented the programming language of BASIC, which begat DOS, which begat Windows. Rather, his genius is his sales and marketing skills. By closing the deal and getting his newborn operating system inside an IBM computer in 1980, he beat out the competing operating systems that were vying for the same honor, and he positioned Microsoft to become the software technology leader of the world.

Bill Gates has also been concerned about listening to the customer and learning about the customer’s needs. When something doesn’t work for the customer, Microsoft marshals the brainpower of thousands of programmers to fix it. (Granted, they don’t always get it right the first time, but they keep trying until they do and send out millions of patches in the meantime.)

Picking the brains of your unhappy customers–hopefully, not angry–customers can be the most potent tool you have for improving your own products and sales. Knowing how to gather that information, how to manage it, and how to use it is your mission. If you’re not learning from your customers now, start tomorrow. Their input is invaluable.

How do you exercise being proactive with your customers to better your skill-set?

Bringing Excellence To Maturity

excellence and maturity Many of us have bought into the fantasy of becoming an overnight success. We want it all to happen now.

Bringing Excellence to MaturitySometimes, your head is bursting with ideas, yet your career track isn’t keeping pace with your perception of your talents. You may be past the initial entry-level point, yet you still have a supervisor or a manager above you whose job you covet because you know you could do it better.

Take a moment to see your position from your manager’s view and look closely at its importance.

Slow down. Give yourself time to learn everything you can in this period. Realize this is a golden opportunity to make money and learn your trade. For hundreds of years, apprenticeships have been a time-honored tradition. Indeed, Publilius Syrus, an Assyrian slave in Italy in the first century BC, served an apprenticeship of sorts with a master who educated him and became his mentor. Publilius’s wit and talent were so remarkable that his master freed him. He became a writer of maxims like the one here.

Maybe you feel like a slave yourself on some days, groaning, “This career track is taking too long!” But when you start thinking like that, change your focus. Look at the larger picture and realize where you are now and what it’s going to take to get where you want to me. You’re not likely to become president of the company overnight.

“It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity.” – Publilius Syrus

If you want to be the best at your job, you need to mature in it. Excellence only comes with time.

This is a great time to write down some objectives. Both individually and team-oriented. How is what you are doing today, helping you help others you work closely with on a daily basis?

Search Others For Their Virtues, Thyself For Thy Vices

ben franklin keyAs a manager, it’s easy to pigeonhole your employees. You’ve seen them all in action–the leaders, the workers, the slackers, the confused, the wannabes, and the nobodies. People will eventually play into stereotypes that you’ve created. Constantly reminding people of their bad habits and crowing about how you might as well do it yourself isn’t very effective either.

“Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.” – Benjamin Franklin

One of the main reasons people change jobs hasn’t changed since the time of old Benjamin Franklin. People often leave good employment opportunities simply because they don’t like their immediate supervisor. Since turnover is costly and unproductive, rethinking your expectations as well as how you interact with your employees might benefit everybody.

Take a moment and step outside of your spotlight. How does your team see you and how does it help your organization?

Start by considering each of your employees as a unique person with the potential to become great at his or her job. If you let them know that you are expecting greatness, it might actually happen. Another way in getting the most out of your team is to assure them that you are on their side. If you empathize with your team, you’ll develop a relationship of trust and understanding with them. When weakness rears its ugly head, your team will seek your counsel and try to work with you in order to get better, because they are seeking your approval. Who knows? They just might do it!

How are you currently building trust within your organization?