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Why Managers Need to Watch What They Say

3 Key Points in this Episode:

  1. The impact what a manager says has on employees.
  2. When managers send mixed messages, it is confusing for employees.
  3. Positive reinforcement and a culture of care will always produce better results.

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Let’s get started with episode 96, entitled Why Managers Need to Watch What They Say.

In today’s episode there are three key points we will cover:

  1. The impact what a manager says has on employees.
  2. When managers send mixed messages, it is confusing for employees.
  3. Positive reinforcement and a culture of care will always produce better results.

Managers are a critical part of a business, they provide leadership to individual employees in a way that the Leader just can’t because of the expanded responsibilities they have which often includes travel and more long-term strategic work.

A great manager is a leader that is constantly helping the employees in their charge to be successful while simultaneously helping the leader of the business achieve the dream and have the impact the business is designed to accomplish.

Over the years, I have had great managers and they have become mentors and even friends. They taught me, corrected me, and helped me to succeed while always showing me what role I needed to fulfill to accomplish the objectives of the business.

I’ve also had managers that were less than effective. They were unclear in their communication, had unreasonable expectations, lied to me, and used me to their advantage but to my detriment. Others were just checked out, they ignored me and when I asked for help, they accused me of being disruptive and told me to “get back to work and do my job.”

In all three of these situations, the commonality was that the manager had a profound effect on me. If you manage anyone, I want you to take some time to seriously consider the impact your words and actions have on your employees.

You probably are underestimating the impact.

Now I assume that since you are listening to the podcast today you are committed to improving your management abilities and that you care about your people.

It is critically important that you take this very seriously. I want you to embrace the fact that you can change someone’s life by being a great manager.

I want you to think of one employee. It could be an employee that is excelling, or it could be someone who is struggling a bit.

Do you have them in your mind?

Okay, now let’s brainstorm a little bit.

What could you say to them today that would make them feel amazing about themselves and encourage them to keep doing what they are doing or motivate them to make needed adjustments that would make them more successful?

How about something as simple as, “I care about you and I want you to know that I am always there for you. Thank you for all you do, without you our team just wouldn’t be the same.”

With an employee that is struggling a bit you could say, “I’ve noticed that lately, you seem to be struggling a bit, I care about you and you’re an important part of this team, what can I do to help you be more successful?”

Managers words have a huge impact and I want you to really think about what and how you communicate with your employees. Imagine if just by altering the way you communicate with your employees produced 10% more.

What would that do for your business?

A word of caution:

Mixed messages are very frustrating for employees, create needless stress for everyone, and can do a lot of damage to the culture of your business. It can also make employees care less because they don’t know what is important.

Let me tell you a story of how mixed messages can be very costly.

To protect the identity of the people and business involved the names have been changed.

Taylor is a sales professional who consistently performs well. Additionally, Taylor is a natural-born leader who consistently adds value to the branch he works at by going above and beyond what is expected in his position as a Sales Account Manager.

During an annual review Taylor was told that gross profit was going to be a priority and if the margins did not increase by 3% the executive of the business was going to be inquiring why not. The implication was that there would be serious consequences if this objective was not attained by the sales force.

Taylor understood why this was an important objective and he agreed with the general direction the executive was going with the business. He assured his manager that he would do everything he could to achieve that objective.

Taylor created a sales strategy that would achieve the sales quota and the increased profitability and went to work. The first quarter was a complete success and he exceeded his sales quota and achieved the gross profit objective.

As the year went on, the manager and the executive started instructing the sales force to slash prices and move as much product as possible with no explanation and no adjustment in targets.

Taylor was now completely confused.

The objectives at the beginning of the year were clearly communicated but the actions of the executive and manager throughout the year were inconsistent with those objectives.

This was a mixed message and it had some negative consequences including a decrease in morale within the sales force.

The lesson is, don’t send mixed messages to your employees.

Make sure that what you say is consistent with your actions.

As business leaders, we are always looking to build a better business and that involves creating the best environment for our employees, what is the best communication strategy with employees?

I will answer that after we hear from our sponsors.

Before the break, we asked the question, what is the best communication strategy with employees?

Have you ever heard the expression, “you get more bees with honey than vinegar?”

Positive reinforcement is more effective than going negative.

My recommendation is to always give genuine commendation even when you must have a difficult conversation. By keeping things positive and thanking them for the things they are doing well it makes it a little bit easier for the person to accept constructive criticism.

At the end of the day, if you must repeatedly “get on someone’s case” just to make them do their job, which after all they agreed to do when they accepted the job, it probably isn’t going to work out. So, why go negative on the person. The proverbial “vinegar” is not going to make them come around to your way of thinking, it’s just going to make everyone upset.

Remember that a culture of caring leads employees to care about their job, the customers, the business, and your dream.

If you have someone that after repeated efforts are not responding and they are not responding to the culture you have created in your business, then you might have to accept that this individual needs to go.

That might sound harsh, but I would like you to think about something.

Let’s say you keep a person on one-year longer than you should. You are doing that person a disservice because that is a year that they could have been working somewhere else. During that year they may have missed a golden opportunity to join a business and accept a job that is a perfect fit for them but because you held back from doing what needed to be done, they missed the opportunity.

I speak from personal experience here.

The first three years I ran my contracting business I had the tendency to hold back from letting people go despite knowing they needed to go. Once I learned this lesson the hard way I made an effort to use the “honey not vinegar” strategy but I was more decisive and I didn’t waste my time or the employees time if it wasn’t going to work out.

I am a firm believer that if you use positive reinforcement, which involves genuinely commending your people before giving constructive criticism, and you provide your employees with a culture that is predicated on caring you have created the environment for them to succeed.

If someone can’t make it work in that environment, they just aren’t a good fit and they need to be helped to find a work environment that is better suited to their personality profile.

So, all you managers out there, remember that what you say and how you say it can have a profound impact on your employees. Use positive reinforcement and create a culture of caring and watch the results. It’s all part of building a better business.

On Tuesday, in episode 97, I will introduce you to Dr. Glenn Livingston and we are going to talk about your health and how one rule can change your life.


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Thank you for listening and I look forward to working with you soon.

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