“It’s Not My Fault” – Six Imperative Rules of Management

Guest post from Ruth King:

How many times have you heard “It’s not my fault” from an employee when it really IS that employee’s fault? He is making excuses about why he didn’t do his job. If he really can’t do the job either training is necessary, or a career readjustment is necessary (my euphemism for firing someone). He has to do what he was hired for or you don’t need that employee.

Employees must be personally responsible for their work.  This is one of the toughest things to teach employees because most of them have grown up not taking personal responsibility for anything…and the media promotes this!

In addition to employees not taking personal responsibility for their actions, managers being friends with employees also drives me nuts.

Welcome to the world of management.  Here are six things managers MUST remember and manage by:

1. You can’t be friends with the employees who work with you.

This is probably the toughest lesson to learn. If you’ve promoted from within or a new manager is hired from outside the company, the manager must be friendly but he can’t be friends.  If he goes to lunch with an employee, he has to go to lunch with all of the employees on his team.  No favorites.

Managers must be objective and once fellow employees see that someone is promoted they will treat him differently.  This former friend has hiring and firing authority over him.  They won’t tell this person the mistakes they’ve made or complain to him anymore.

New managers, if they are working for the same company, often have to develop a whole new group of friends.  And, it is very lonely at first.

2. Bad news doesn’t go away.

Many times, people do not like to deal with the difficult things.  They think by ignoring it, the problem will go away.  A new manager must learn that he has to deal with the problems immediately.  If he ignores them, they usually get worse.  So, he has to deal with the tough issues first.

When you give a person the responsibility, authority, and accountability, the accountability is the tough part…many times there are negative things to deal with in accountability.  He has to learn to confront the issues quickly and resolve them!

3.  You don’t have to be nice.  You just have to be fair. 

A manager has to do things that are fair for everyone.  Some people will like the actions.  Some will not. However, your decisions must be good for the group as a whole. A manager cannot make a decision that will favor one person over another.  For example, if a good employee demands a raise and says that he will quit if he doesn’t get one, many times it is better to let that person quit.  If he gets a raise, everyone will know that they can threaten to quit if they want a raise.  This is not the environment you want.

4.  You have to return telephone calls.

If you have an unhappy customer, you must deal with it and resolve the issue.  Letting messages sit only makes an unhappy customer even more unhappy.  An issue that was small could escalate into a major problem.

Make sure that the customers are taken care of and solve their problems.  Try to return telephone calls immediately and resolve problems within 24 hours. After all, customers write your paychecks.

5.  You have to make the hard decisions…which are sometimes unpopular.

Managers and owners get the privilege of seeing the whole picture. If things aren’t going well, then they get the privilege of dealing with them.  So, it is important that managers and owners see the total picture so they can make informed decisions.  If this means no overtime for a while, shorter hours, layoffs, etc.  then they make and implement those choices.  If it means firing someone who isn’t doing their job, then they have to do it. 

6.  Behaviors don’t change by wishing they would change.

If you need to change someone’s behavior (or a group’s behavior), then you have to clearly communicate the desired end result and the rewards for changing (or consequences if they don’t change).  Often this is a slow, long term process.  However, with patience and continuous follow up, changes in behavior can be made.  If someone absolutely refuses to make the desired changes, maybe that person doesn’t need to be working for your company.  This is one of those unpopular decisions that you have to make at times.

These are six things that all managers must manage by.  If you don’t, the great employees won’t put up with poor management.  They will leave and find other jobs.  You will be stuck with bad employees who will stay.

Profitability Master Ruth King has been helping companies get and stay profitable for more than 40 years.  She is the #1 best-selling author of The Courage to be Profitable and just released its #1 sequel, Profit or Wealth? You can reach Ruth at www.ruthking.info.

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