Your Employees Are Not Clairvoyant

Does your team have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations for performance? If it doesn’t, it’s a recipe for confusion and misunderstandings. Think about it: if people don’t have clarity about what their supposed to do and how they’ll be evaluated, they’re walking around in the dark.

Consider these examples

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Do You Think You’re Always Right? Well, Think Again…

I was facilitating a management offsite with a goal of improving communication among leaders. During the discussion, one of the participants enthusiastically said that she was open to the ideas of others as long as people realized that her opinions were the right ones.

What?!?

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Leaders on Parade

One of the questions I’ve received over the years is whether a leader needs to be “on” all the time. When the question arises, it’s usually because the person is uncomfortable needing to be “on” when they are not officially on the job.

In a nutshell, yes, you need to be on. Like it or not, it’s almost like being “on parade” when others watch you from afar.

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The Dichotomy of a Beloved Employee

One of my friends is the managing partner of a busy medical practice that has several doctors, a variety of specialists, and an often-hectic reception area. One of his employees has been a front desk icon to the patients.

This person, who I’ll call Greg, is the epitome of client service. He is exactly the kind of employee who makes a medical practice shine, especially during times of stress. He is warm, compassionate, efficient, and always has a good sense of humor.

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Connect the Dots

Your employees go through a maze of “dots” every day that are directly related to how they can and will perform on the job. Unfortunately, rarely are they equipped to find the answers on their own. To set the stage, here are some examples:

+ People begin a new job and it’s up to them to figure out how to navigate through the firm’s unique culture.

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What Has Happened to Civility?

Have you noticed that more people are behaving badly these days? I’m not going to speculate about the triggers, but how to deal with bad behavior has crept into many of my conversations with clients.

It seems that the offenders don’t hesitate to be contentious, whereas previously they would have been more patient or conciliatory to reach consensus. Here are a but a few of the examples that have surfaced recently.

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Good Old-Fashioned Dialogue

How do you engage your people to be more involved in their work? The old cliché about the carrot and the stick comes to mind. Some managers feel that they need to be tough, demanding, or unrelenting in their approach.

Well, barking at your employees or dictating to them or condescending to them is usually more detrimental than effective. And if you randomly schmooze with them, people may feel good, but this doesn’t portend more engagement.

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Can You Recognize Emotional Labor?

A recent article in The Washington Post discussed the concept of emotional labor. This is described as “the work someone does to regulate, modulate or manipulate their feelings to affect the emotions of people around them.”

The author, Rose Hackman, suggests that most emotional labor is provided by women. She contends that those who embrace emotional labor in the workplace are not being compensated for these behaviors.

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Don’t Manage by Telepathy!

A recurring management theme is leaders who assume that their people know what’s on their minds. I call this “managing by telepathy”, as these leaders often neglect to articulate what they want.

This is rarely intentional. After all, you don’t sit in your office and think about how you can avoid good communication with your people. But you can get swept up in the busy-ness of your day and simply think that you said something when actually it never left your mind.

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