People Management skills for all types of managers — Page 50
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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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Gus, a director at a natural gas utility firm in the Northeast, discusses his attempt to preserve morale amid the latest in a series of companywide reorganizations.
Motivating people doesn’t need to involve giving rah-rah speeches and dangling prizes for stellar performance. Sometimes, the best incentives are silent and invisible.
One of the most endearing traits of a good manager is a willingness to ask for feedback from peers and employees.

Supervisors and managers MUST report harassment to higher-ups. But what are the reporting obligations of “team leaders” or “leads”? These are people who have more responsibilities than employees but less than full-fledged members of management. Leads live in that “gray zone” somewhere in between. So what are their obligations? One court recently clarified it: Train them like managers to report suspected harassment. Staying silent will create liability.

Talking with employees about their performance problems can be an uncomfortable moment for any manager. But it’s also a crucial part of the job and, if done well, will ultimately make a manager’s job much easier. Here are seven steps to planning and executing such discussions:

If H1N1 flu threatens to shut down businesses nationwide, employers are going to need contingency plans to make sure they keep running. Flexible work schedules, temporary shutdowns and telework can all help—but all have unexpected wage-and-hour implications. Here’s guidance from the Department of Labor on how to handle these tricky issues.

When hiring employees, especially off-site workers, streamline the orientation process by sending an e-mail with everything they need to know.
Social media evangelists are in love with Twitter, Facebook, and their ilk because these networks enable continuous “naked” conversations. Robert Scoble, I believe, has stated that his goal is to have at least one naked conversation a day.

A progressive discipline system is the best way to correct employee performance problems. It’s also the best way to protect against wrongful termination lawsuits. It allows you to ensure that any employee fired because of inferior performance was treated fairly and in accordance with your company’s policies. Here’s a five-step model for progressive discipline:

We're considering starting a "leave donation" program in which employees could contribute accrued sick, vacation and personal leave to co-workers whose ongoing health problems drain their own leave banks. It sounds like a great idea, but I want to make sure we do it right. For those of you who have such programs, what issues should I consider as I draft the policy? Have you experienced any unintended consequences?—Bill, Colorado
We're looking to create an incentive plan for all rank-and-file employees who bring in leads that help us land new business. (That's already part of our sales force's job, so they would be excluded.) What kind of incentives work best? I'm assuming cash is popular—so how much? How should we track our incentive program?—Bill M., Las Vegas
You work with another manager, Margaret, who doesn’t carry her load. She tends to kill time, procrastinate and operate at about 70 percent productivity ...
Got a morale problem? You may get lucky if it dissipates quickly and a brighter outlook prevails. But don’t count on it.
Raise accountability by asking “one year from now” questions.
In your eagerness to sell your idea to your staffers, you list reason after reason to build a convincing, airtight case. The only problem? You talked too much.
As our company’s only HR staff person, I’m in an awkward situation. My immediate supervisor reprimanded me for the way I handled a recent change in our working hours. Employees were confused, so I sent e-mails to various managers seeking the correct information. That exposed some serious disagreements between the managers and executives about the new hours. My boss said I should not have been so public about it, and then wrote me up for this alleged “infraction.” I think I handled it correctly and want the reprimand removed from my file. What should I do? I’m afraid the company president will take my supervisor’s side.—No name, no location (because I need this job)
True or false: Employees are either creative or they’re not—creativity isn’t a skill you can teach. The answer: False. Some employees are more naturally creative than others. But managers can play a key role in creating an environment in which employees will want to look for new ideas.

Sometimes, it takes a new manager or supervisor to see how poorly an employee is performing. If an employee who has been getting good reviews suddenly appears to slump under new leadership, don’t jump the gun and discipline the employee right away. Here’s a better approach ...

I have two part-time security guards working at the same location. One of them works four nights a week; the other works three nights a week. We need security coverage at this site seven nights a week, 365 nights a year. How do I handle giving them the "holiday" time off they're entitled to if someone has to be there all the time?—Lisa D.
With some employees, the problem isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. This can manifest itself in everything from quiet disobedience to outright insubordination. How should you respond? Rather than becoming entangled in a debate about the employee’s dysfunctional attitude, address the situation strictly as a behavioral problem. That way, it’s not […]
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