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People Management

With some employees, it isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. And while you can’t control someone’s horrible personality, you can decide how you’re going to respond. Use these scripts and strategies to confront problem employees and effectively manage employee discipline so you can bring motivating back to the forefront of your workday.

The first rule of people management is not to let one bad apple spoil your whole bunch. Difficult people can put a strain on the productive members of your team.

Make the most of your human capital. Browse our articles on the good, the bad and the ugly of People Management…

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Q. For years, we’ve motivated our sales and service folks with incentives. Our culture is built around contests, fun competitions for bonuses or other prizes and recognition. But the last few contests have produced acrimony. Those who don’t win gripe about the rules and resent the winners. Are we motivating the wrong way?
Forget the idle chitchat, hours of paperwork and orientation video, and make new hires’ first day on the job count. Take time to do the following on Day 1.
Q. During our staff meetings, it’s rare that employees look up at me. Instead of paying attention, they’re glancing at their phones or typing away on their laptops. I’ve set ground rules, but they ignore them. Any ideas?
Issue a command that people disregard because you’ve allowed them too much power to write their own rules and your demise as a leader will be slower and more painful.
For three months, James Reinertsen grappled with a tough question: Should we restructure the company? Everyone enthusiastically agreed they should combine forces and form a tight system. Yet in the weeks that followed, problems erupted.
America has built a reputation over the years for stingy vacation policies compared to European counterparts and for the reluctance of workers to use even their entitled time off. Here’s how you can help give employees the ‘unplugged’ vacation they need.
Even if you want to listen well, many obstacles stand in the way. It’s not enough to tell yourself, “I’m just not very good at listening.” Armed with that excuse, you won’t try as hard to concentrate on what you hear.
Part of a boss’s job is to listen to complaints about employees from their co-workers. For example, Jane tells you she often has to scramble near deadline because her co-worker Joe seems to drag his feet with the data she needs to complete her task. What should you do?
It’s difficult to tell solid performers that their hard work on a project isn’t quite good enough. How do you ask team members to take another crack at a project without demotivating them?
Being a manager requires that you strike a number of sensitive balances with your team and peers: You want to develop authentic and respectful relationships, while maintaining professional boundaries. It’s a tall order.
When employees trust each other and their supervisors, they collaborate more freely and communicate more forthrightly. Rumors don’t spread. There’s less malicious gossip. And people root for each other’s success.
Many employers and workers are re-evaluating their stance on this squirm-invoking subject. Might company-initiated salary transparency be beneficial?

Trying to motivate employees with games, incentives and pizza parties might work to some extent. But lasting results only come from fully engaged staffers who believe in the organizational culture.

The morning before announcing a big layoff, Jim Bryan made a call to his executive coach. And he received some invaluable advice.
Q. One of my supervisors rubs people the wrong way. Some colleagues complain that her comments bother them—and that she subtly cuts them down. What can I do to address the situation? I’m not even sure how to explain the problem to her, much less propose a solution.
The management challenge is to figure out how to keep the average employees motivated. Here are three principles managers should apply to motivate average employees—that is, employees who deliver on their objectives successfully and do not proactively seek additional tasks or challenges.
The hardest part of any job search is selling yourself. Even when you have years of experience in an industry this can be a challenge. How do you package your skills when you do not have experience?
The best way to keep employees from heading for the door is to hire right in the first place. Here are some guidelines to help you select job candidates who have the best chances of sticking around.
Zealous Puritan Oliver Cromwell, ruthless dictator and lord protector of England in the 17th century, sure knew how to minimize meetings.
Though it’s respectful to give thought to your letter’s content, writing a recommendation that’s personal, relevant and helpful to the requestor doesn’t have to be laborious.
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