Which Staff Member Would You Choose? 

I want to tell you about a story about Nadia and Diana who both work at the front desk of a company just like yours. But this isn’t any story because there is a twist at the end and I will tell you how you can get good staff.

Diana or Nadia

Diana or Nadia

Nadia works to live. She usually scrapes in at start time but a temperamental bus service often has her arriving late in a huff. She’s pretty sure that she get’s away with being late most times and it’s not important anyway because there is always someone else there to pick up the phones. At finish time she’s packed up ready to go ten minutes before.

Diana  also has a bad bus service but that’s where the similarity ends because she checks the service on-line and takes an earlier bus if there is a problem. She does this because she knows that if she isn’t on reception then John from accounts has to cover for her and that means he can’t do his work.

Nadia's job is unskilled, repetitive and boring. The part of her job she dreads the most is when an irate customer calls reception. 

The most challenging part of Diana's job is fielding customer service calls especially when the customer is upset. But she’s set a goal to calm down more than half of the irate calls. Diana has been learning how to do this by watching free YouTube training videos in her quiet time and has signed herself up for a half-day training course.

Nadia feels very isolated from the rest of the team at the reception. Nadia feels there are no prospects for progression and is not growing personally. She feels her creative skills are not used in her job.

Diana sometimes feels a little lonely at reception but she knows that she has a high profile in the company and everyone knows her by name. Diana has a real flair for design and one of the responsibilities she has been given is to improve the layout of company sales presentations. Diana knows that this helps to win sales. Sometimes she works late to finish her work so the sales team can have it back the next day. But her boss knows that she has to leave on time for her spinning class on Tuesdays. By working on the sales presentations, Diana has learnt a lot about the company products and is thinking about applying for a role in the sales team.

Nadia is looking for another job just for a change of scenery. The company has an annual party but she’d rather have the money instead because she doesn’t know many people and it cuts into her personal time. Occasionally her boss tells her to do some tasks that aren’t on her Job Description like copying addresses from letters onto a spreadsheet. It’s boring and she has no idea why she has to do it. Nadia prides herself on her accuracy and based on mistakes that her boss finds she thinks she is about 95% accurate 100% of the time! 

An additional responsibility that Diana has been given is to keep the customer database up to date. Sometimes she has to be creative find addresses. Diana is always amazed at how many mistakes she finds when she checks her own work. Diana thinks that being a receptionist isn’t the greatest job but she’s challenged, is growing and feels valued. The confidence that work is given her is helping in her personal life. 

It’s not even a contest – Diana sounds like a dream worker, maybe even too good to be true. You and I would hire her in a flash. Nadia is probably a deeply unhappy person. I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of hiring someone like her. Put your hands up if you recognise the type.

But the point of this story isn’t how important it is to try and hire a “Diana” and avoid hiring “No-Idea Nadia”. Yes hiring good staff is the most important thing to get right as a manager but the real message is this:

If you compare Nadia and Diana you will find that they are in fact the same person doing the same job. The difference is how they have been managed.

You may already have a staff member on your team that is like Diana – “too good to be true”. You just need to unlock their potential.

The importance of employee engagement

As a manager we would like it if our staff were “auto-engaged” but unfortunately most people aren't engaged at work (The research says that over 50% of our staff are disengaged - see my article on unengaged staff here). So to get better performance from our employees, as managers, we must help our staff to be engaged. This means doing things like: 

  • Hold our staff accountable and let them solve their own problems
  • Grow our staff by encouraging and supporting them to improve their skills and abilities
  • Grow our staff by giving them challenging assignments
  • Find ways to let our staff use their own natural talents
  • Build relationships with our staff based on familiarity and trust
  • Help our staff to find importance in what they do and by extension find the value in themselves.

That's why I've made the www.boss.camp program - to show the everyday manager like you and me how to get better employee performance in just an hour a week. It includes proven techniques for employee selection, motivation and retention to make managing easy.

The Management Foundations

In other words: Building Effective Relationships, Inspiring Performance Communication, Developing Your Staff and Delegation that Works. These four things are so important to management that I call them the Management Foundations. It’s not a zero-sum game where you the manager has to spend extra time to make your staff happy. The concept of getting higher productivity from staff in a way that saves you time while making happier more satisfied staff is the Manager Foundation Management Sweetspot (more coming soon on this).


Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest management practice. Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana . It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana. 

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a one-on-one template with a one-on-one meeting agenda) which will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of level but maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers.


Do you have any staff like Nadia that you would like to turn into Diana - please feedback in the comments.

Boss Camp

So it’s beer o’clock on a Friday afternoon. Employee Dave emails his report and is out the door before you can even download it. You spot obvious mistakes, a bunch of problems for you to solve and it seems like Dave hasn’t listened to a word that you said. Cherry on top Dave said he can’t work this weekend. Your stomach sinks as you realise you can kiss your weekend goodbye. You wish that your employees would listen to what you say, take more care, solve their own problems and take ownership of their work. WWW.BOSS.CAMP will show you how. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.