Understanding and Dealing With Employees More Effectively

Strong leadership skills are critical to the success of any supervisor or manager. There are several factors that contribute to good leadership practices. This article explores various thoughts on what makes a good manager and how to deal with employees more effectively.

Perhaps the most overlooked dimension of managing people is the understanding of what motivates people and what satisfies people about their work and their employer. The best managers, without question, are adept at reading people and knowing how to push the right buttons. People are complicated and everyone is different. That’s what makes managing people so challenging. If we could use one standard method of dealing with everyone, it would be much easier to be a manager/supervisor. Unfortunately, this is impossible.

  • Your job as a manager/supervisor is to get work done through others.
  • To maximize the amount and quality of work that your people put out, those people must have the appropriate skills.
  • Even if the people have the necessary skills, but are not consistently in the proper frame of mind, the level of productivity will suffer.
  • Cracking the whip or “Gestapo type” management simply does not work!

What Do Employees Want from Their Bosses? They Want:

  • To feel like they are part of the decision-making process…to feel like their opinion counts.
  • Their company to show a genuine concern for its employees.
  • To be paid a fair and competitive wage for the work they perform.
  • Feedback on their performance on a consistent basis.
  • To feel like they are as important as any other employee.
  • To work in an environment that encourages open communication.
  • Their manager or supervisor to keep them informed about what’s going on within the company, department, etc…….where are we going?
  • Some degree of recognition for a job well done.
  • Clear communication of what is expected of them.
  • To be treated with respect.

The Importance of Understanding People

All of your employees have a unique personality. Personalities are generally formed by the age of seven so changing someone’s basic personality just won’t happen. What you will strive to change is behavior as required. Managers/supervisors must be keenly aware that this diversity in personalitiesrequires adjustments in how they deal with various individuals. People have deeply ingrained sets of values. These values tend to drive our thought processes.

Managers need to learn how to read people. This requires good listening skills and good observation skills. It also means taking a genuine interest in other people. Managers must spend time with theirpeople to get to know them. One-on-one sessions with your people will help in at least two ways:

  1. They will help you better understand what is important to the employee and what motivates them and
  2. It will strengthen the rapport between you and the employee assuming that you deal with the employee in a manner that is relationship developing…..not relationship destructive.

What Motivates Employees?

We have heard for years about the various theories about what motivates employees. But, what really motivates employees? This is a difficult question to answer in a general way. Because everyone has different personalities and different value systems, there are some differences in what motivates people. Let’s start with the basic motivators that would probably apply to all of us:

1. For many people, the most motivating factor in a work environment is money. However, for others, money might be second or third or lower in terms of what motivates them the most. Money motivates by fulfilling the needs (paying bills) and the wants (nice home, car, boat, clothes, savings, etc.) of the individual. The more money, the more wants that can be fulfilled.

2. For some people, money is a temporary motivator and for others it is a constant motivator. People with high dominance factors in their personality tend to be the most highly motivated by money. Money motivates best when performance is directly linked to monetary gains, i.e., increased salary, bonus, commissions.

3. For many people, the most motivating factor in the workplace is reinforcement of a job well done. This comes in the form of praise, opportunity for advancement, high scores on performance evaluations or some other form of recognition. And everyone appreciates a bit of praise for a job well done.

4. For most people, there is more than one factorthat provides motivation. Motivation means to provide a motive….in the business world this is a motive for higher performance. Or, higher performance equals some reward. The reward then is the motive. If an individual has high conformity factors in his/her personality profile, a pat on the back might be more motivating than money, however, don’t underestimate the motivating power of money especially if it is directly associated with performance. Job security is probably a bigger motive for someone who has more patience and conformity factors than dominance and extroversion factors. Why? Because someone with more dominance and extroversion factors has high levels of confidence and inner security and believes they can go anywhere and do anything. And because they tend to be more materialistic.

In terms of motivation, it is important to recognize that motivation does not occur through one single reward. It is a package of rewards……money, recognition/praise, job security, being included in making decisions, etc. A good manager is a good motivator. He/she understands that employees are motivated in different ways, but all employees can be motivated to some extent by recognition, praise, money, lighthearted, but productive work environments, being included in the decision-making process when appropriate, being treated fairly and with respect and, in general, enjoying working for the company.

You want your employees to get up in the morning and feel good about coming to work rather than dreading it. If they dread it, there will be low or no enthusiasm and, therefore, low performance and productivity.

Understand clearly that employees listen to and hear virtually every word a manager speaks. Does this mean they understand what is being said or that they don’t interpret what is being said to their liking? Absolutely not. Learn to recognize that employees are interested in a manager’s communication with them and choose your words and carry yourself in a manner that establishes good rapport. Also, if you tell someone something, you can bet they will remember what you told them, albeit perhaps to their benefit at times.

What Traits Should Managers Possess to Help Gain the Respect of Their Employees?

  1. Show an interest in them as people.
  2. Are consistent and fair in administering policy and procedure.
  3. Are humble, honest and trustworthy.
  4. Remember what they told (or promised) employees and stick to their word.
  5. Set clear and realistic expectations/goals for their employees.
  6. Base decisions on sound reasoning and logic and not on ego or emotion.
  7. Would do, or attempt to do, whatever they ask their employees to do.
  8. Act maturely.
  9. Have a can-do, positive attitude.
  10. Lead by example and not by “do as I say, not as I do”.
  11. Allow employees to have input into at least some decisions or gather input from employees.
  12. Don’t have a know-it-all attitude and out of control ego.
  13. Interact with employees and don’t hide in their offices.
  14. Don’t look down on employees.
  15. Don’t constantly change priorities.
  16. Know how to laugh and aren’t all business all the time.
  17. Don’t appear to be out for themselves.
  18. Provide reasonable opportunities for employees to advance.
  19. Know how to praise in public and constructively criticize in private.
  20. Understand where the company is going and share as much of that information as is feasible or allowed.
  21. Deal with problem people and situations expediently and fairly.
  22. Show no favoritism.
  23. Don’t self-promote.
  24. Work hard.
  25. Share successwith employees and are not greedy.
  26. Can admit they made a mistake and don’t transfer blame.
  27. Can apologize sincerely.
  28. Attempt to develop their people and don’t see those who work for them as a threat.
  29. Don’t overreact.
  30. Show respect for employees.

Study this list carefully and live by it. If you do, you will very likely gain the respect and cooperation of your employees.

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About the author

I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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