- Listening too much
- Caring too much
- Telling too much
1. Listening too much
It’s tempting to listen to your star employee who tells you the inside scoop. You’ll hear inside info of what everyone else thinks and who isn’t working hard enough. Don’t fall into this trap of playing favorites. Everyone else knows what’s going on: You have gotten addicted to hearsay and storytelling and this blinds you to the facts and truth.
What to do: Make sure that you are fair. Let the policies be the bad guy. Make sure you require everyone to represent himself or herself. If Sally comes to the office telling you how unhappy Maria is with the schedule, ask Sally to fetch Maria. This should stop the hearsay and make each employee responsible for himself or herself. Seek out the facts rather than accepting at face value the stories, feelings and opinions.
I talk more about this in the Manager’s 4-Pack. (If you have this program you might want to listen again.)
2. Caring too much
When you care more about their success than they do, that’s a problem. It’s called rescuing. When you keep covering for poor performance, making exceptions for bad behavior, or allowing excuses, you are contributing to the victim mindset.
What to do: When you feel resentful for all you have done for someone, it’s time to step back and see the role you played. Have a talk with the individual. Clarify your expectations and give them the tools to succeed and to be responsible for their own success.
3. Telling too much
When your employees just can’t catch on, you’re probably telling them what to do instead of training them. Training is as much as about thinking as it is about skill development, and as they say in ASTD, The American Society of Training and Development “Telling ain’t training.” You have to give your employees the training needed in order to be successful. Big corporations know this, entrepreneurs, family-owned or privately owned small businesses often do not
What to do: Develop formal training programs for every position and test the new hire, or newly promoted until they prove their skill, ability and understanding. (Yes, you need to measure it.) Create a standard operating procedure and document it, so that when it changes, it can be updated, or when the person moves on to another position, there is a training manual in place. Also, instead of the urge to tell, learn how to ask questions to see if the trainee can answer to your satisfaction…this is how you know that the mindset is also in alignment with the skill set.
Take the Challenge
1. Decide how to put a stop to tattling and hearsay.
2. Make a list of ways you rescue and don’t allow others to step into responsibility.
3. Keep a journal of the times you tell versus the questions you ask.