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Managing people made easy

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Managing people can be the hardest aspect of business ownership. Technology, balance sheets and budgets are things you can wield some degree of control over. People, on the other hand, are business wildcards you cannot accurately predict how they will play out when dropped into your business environment.

As David Brent, clueless manager of UK TV series The Office says, “Avoid employing unlucky people – throw half of the pile of CVs in the bin without reading them.” A fictional character (and an incompetent one at that) may not be the best source of business knowledge but it has some truth to it recruiting is largely based on luck. How a new employee will react given different circumstances, the team environment and workload can barely be covered in the space of an interview. And an employee’s cultural fit will largely impact upon how well you deal with managing people.

Don’t rely simply on a question and answer format for recruiting new employees. Go beyond the resume. Focus on determining a potential employee’s values and select an applicant whose values align closely with your company’s. Essentially, this means learning to identify the applicants who talk the talk and those that walk it!

Managing people through value identification

Terri Kabachnick, employee behaviour expert and founder of US-based management consultancy The Kabachnick Group, says values and beliefs play as much a part in managing people as training and experience. An employee with the right skills but wrong attitude will not be sustainable to business culture.

“You will never get peak performance from a person whose beliefs and values are not consistent with the beliefs and values required by the job you are hiring them to do,” says Kabachnick.

In essence, managing people requires more than gaining the results from your employees. It is also ensuring staff are performing to their full potential. This means in the recruitment stage and ongoing evaluation process, beliefs, values and attitudes need to be assessed alongside work output, productivity and job performance.

“Beliefs and values are not trainable issues. They are fundamental human qualities, as individual as fingerprints,” says Kabachnick. “Only when you’ve defined them can you align your people with those positions to which they shine.” 

Managing people through value alignment

To align employee’s values with that of the company, begin by defining the beliefs and values intrinsic to you, as the business owner, the company and the industry as a whole.

Then, determine the values absolutely essential to someone working in your company.

Finally, before interviewing potential employees or reviewing staff, evaluate the systems and processes for the task. Elaborate on questions to uncover a person’s values. For example, if you ask what an employee’s reaction was to a challenge at work, find out why they reacted in that way.

Other questions, which evoke value-revealing responses, could include:

  • What kind of experience was that for you?
  • Is that the way you prefer to work?
  • What was your biggest frustration with that situation?
  • What did you think of that decision?

Essentially, when it comes to determining values in your employees, both current and potential, you should extend your questions into ‘why’ and ‘how’, rather than ‘what’.

Managing people involves shifting your business approach from results-orientated to cultural cohesion. Only then can you become completely in control of your business and become a pro at managing people.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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