Sometimes our staff just don’t like part of their job.
And suddenly our job as a manager get’s difficult. I will tell you about why this happens and about one method to fix the problem.
This is a story about Tim
He’s a nice guy who believes in the mission of his company. He’s not lacking initiative - he ran his own business for 5 years. He is smart, educated, he cares about his work and generally does a great job. But when it comes to sales calls, his manager feels like she is pulling teeth. She’s ended up setting up times in his diary and micromanaging him in this area.
It’s a pretty common thing - you might recognise some of the signs:
An employee who leaves things till the last minute,
An employee who seems to drag their feet,
An employee who does other things first and,
When they do do something they don’t spend any extra time or effort.
Classic avoidance and procrastination. And the surprising thing is that even some of your good performers who are perfectly nice, smart and diligent do this. It’s unpleasant and challenging for the manager. And if this is an important deliverable, company performance will definitely suffer. In Tim’s case, it’s doing sales, so clearly this is a massive issue.
The reason why Tim drags his feet is because he doesn’t like doing sales. It’s not too surprising, he’s a technical person and his boss is sympathetic to his dislike. But sympathy doesn’t help, she is responsible for Tim and his sales. (See 5-things). Yes there are alternatives like hiring someone who likes doing sales but in this case it’s a small startup that can’t afford to. And there are some other Manager Foundation methods like Inspiring Performance Communication that you can use to motivate the employee to do their job. But I’m going to talk about another method which addresses the underlying problem. This is because there is a reason why Tim doesn’t like doing sales.
Doing sales can be a tough gig
It usually only suits certain personality types. There is a lot of potential for rejection, frustration and a high failure rate
The reason why Tim doesn’t like sales is simply because he isn’t good enough at it. He might even get ok results but he doesn’t have the correct technique that addresses why so many people dislike sales. Such as - being rejected, being ignored, not controlling the conversation, etc. I know because I used to feel exactly the same way. But then I did a sales course that addressed these items. And now I don’t dread sales but I actually see it as a chance to put what I learnt into practice. And because my technique and results have improved dramatically I get a lot more satisfaction from doing sales.
So in this case I recommend that Tim’s manager focuses on developing Tim's sales skills. The benefits will be:
That he get’s better at sales and does more sales,
He improves his work enjoyment and,
His engagement improves and retention risk reduces because his job is growing him as a person. This has significant long term benefits,
His relationship with his manager improves because she is investing in him.
The tricky thing in this case is that his manager isn’t a Sales or a training professional. And she’s a busy lady with limited time to spend training Tim. But that does not matter because a manager doesn’t have to be the trainer, who does the training. If you will allow a small plug for a moment: this is the system that we show you in the module Developing Your Staff
To find out more go to: DEVE101.
- Check: Sometimes there are other causes for a dislike. Talk to the employee and use your judgement
- Focus on Strengths not Weaknesses: People have different natural preferences & abilities. In general you will have better results by matching the right person to the right job. Trying to change someone into a totally different person is not a success strategy. Worst case you could alienate your staff. A good development process secures the buy-in of the employee before trying to change them
Employees are people who often dislike part of their jobs. This is bad for companies and a pain for managers. But often the underlying reason why staff avoid duties is because they aren’t good at them. Improving the skills of staff is an effective method to get our staff to do more of these things and to do them better. Using an analogy this method is getting your kids to eat their vegetables by making them like vegetables. Developing staff also has engagement and retention benefits. It is possible for Managers to develop their staff without spending a lot of their time, nor do they have to be subject experts.
Tip: Weekly one-on-one meetings with your staff are a good forum to focus on employee growth and development. A one-on-one form will help you keep track of these - get your free copy here.
P.S - If you think about it, the job of a Boss is to get people to do stuff. But getting people to do what you want must be one of the toughest things in the world. That's why I've made the www.boss.camp program. It shows you how to improve employee performance and make managing easy in just an hour a week, including proven techniques for employee selection, motivation and retention.
SPECIAL MENTION ABOUT ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS
Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are are not only an essential supervisor skill, but they are also the single easiest management practice. Weekly one-on-one meetings are also the ideal forum to focus on your employees growth and development. 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.
Developing your staff is a management system designed to increase employee performance by engaging them and improving their skills. This system will:
- Motivate your employees by tapping into their internal motivators
- Improve employee capabilities and productivity
- Prevent stagnation
- Increase employee engagement and reduce retention risk
The Manager Foundation technique is extremely time efficient and you do not have to be a subject expert. This technique is so important to managers that is one of the four Manager Foundation cornerstone skills.
To find out more about how you can use Employee Development refer to the “Management Sweetspot” series. Or see the Manager Foundation solution DEVE101
The Effective Feedback system
The other method to change staff behavior is to effectively motivate them to do what you want them to do. This is the Effective Feedback system:
Effective Feedback is a management system designed to engage staff and guide employee performance. Effective Feedback will:
- Motivate your employees to improve performance
- Effectively change employee behavior to fix problems
- Increase employee engagement and reduce retention risk
Effective Feedback is fast and non-confrontational. To find out more about how you can use Effective Feedback to refer to the “Management Sweetspot” series. Or see the Manager Foundation solution FEED101
I bet your staff would rather be at the beach than working hard. But you’re the poor boss who’s responsible for their work. Managing is hard. Find out how to make managing easy at WWW.BOSS.CAMP. 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.