Manage Employees 'Inside Out' for Greatest Reward, Experts Advise

Manage Employees 'Inside Out' for Greatest Reward, Experts Advise

Managing other people can be frustrating, difficult and a time drain or it can be rewarding, painless and relatively easy. However, there's one key tip management consultants advise when it comes to personnel: Instead of concentrating on the people you manage, concentrate on yourself as a manager. In other words, manage "inside out."

One technique for doing that, experts say, is to try to understand that, in a very real sense, you are on stage, and your employees are the audience. They're looking to you to see if you are honest, to see if you practice what you preach, to see if you reward quality and proper behavior, to see if you care about your own business. You need to act accordingly. You need to be an example. You must show people how you want them to behave by behaving that way yourself.

Do you trust your employees? Do customers and suppliers trust you? Do you fly off the handle during a crisis? Do you expect your employees to know what to do in a crisis? Each situation is a test of what kind of person you are and, by extension, what sort of people your employees think they ought to be.

If you operate with the mind-set that ethics must sometimes take a back seat to profits, don't be surprised if you catch employees stealing or lying.

If you make fun of your clients and reps behind their backs, don't be surprised if your employees don't respect you. Your workers are in some ways a mirror of you and, just as in a mirror, some things are reversed.

Do you think your workers are deadbeats? Do you think they spend their time goofing off when you're not watching? Do you think they're too dumb to be left alone without supervision? 

Well, guess what? You're not keeping them from being deadbeats, goof-offs and slackers. In fact, you're actually teaching your employees to be deadbeats, goof-offs and slackers by your behavior toward them.

A case in point is the kitchen dealer who watches his installation crew like a hawk. "Don't do anything unless you check with me first," he instructs them. The result, of course, is that his crew sits around, goofing off when the dealer is distracted. If he gets a phone call, all of the work comes to a halt. That's because he has trained his crew to do just that. They'd rather do nothing than risk making a mistake especially since they're getting paid to do nothing. If, instead, the dealer would structure that group as a team, with individual responsibility and the power to make decisions, they'd work effectively on their own.

People will work hard for those they respect, and disrespect those they do not respect. They will work hard for those managers who give, as well as expect, respect; for those managers who listen to suggestions and implement the good ones; for those managers who are consistent with regard to their priorities and their personality.

For the most success, manage from the inside out, experts suggest, and never fail to put yourself in your employees' place.