One of the great lessons that I got from Ken Blanchard’s best-selling book, “The One Minute Manager,” was to “catch people doing things right” instead of focusing on catching your employees doing something wrong. It’s much easier to reinforce an employee’s strengths than it is to correct a weakness.
Here are some of the positive management techniques that have worked for me over the years:
* Praise in public, give constructive feedback in private. This may sound very basic but most of the managers I know don’t always do this. No one likes being told they did something wrong but if you do it right, and do it in private, it can be done without lasting damage.
* Give the credit to your team, take the blame personally. Your associates will be loyal to you if you let them get all the credit when something goes right in your area. Conversely, when something goes wrong, a good manager falls on his or her sword and takes all of the blame for their team.
“No matter what kind of day you are having, be consistent when enforcing company policies and procedures.”
* Set clear expectation levels. When I was in the software business I learned the phrase, “It’s exactly what I asked for, but not what I wanted.” As a manager, give directives in writing and with as much specificity as possible.
* Make sure you have your facts straight before you criticize someone. More than once I have called someone into my office and started to express my disappointment in him or her about a project done wrong only to find out that I didn’t have my facts straight.
* Be consistent. No matter what kind of day you are having, be consistent when enforcing company policies and procedures.
* Don’t play favorites. Another managerial fault that destroys company morale is playing favorites. Most of us have seen this happen in the workplace during our careers. When one person can do no right and another person can do no wrong, everyone walks on eggshells. Strive to treat everyone the same.
* Be kind. Remember the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Sometimes an employee makes a mistake because they are distracted due to a serious problem at home, money problems, relationship problems, etc. When someone that reports to you makes a serious error always begin a feedback session by asking if something is wrong outside of the office that you should be aware of.
Jim Sobeck is CEO of New South Construction Supply, a building products distributor based in Greenville with nine locations in the Carolinas and Georgia. He is the author of “The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches.” newsouthsupply.com.