How to love managing people

I’m excited that you are back, going through this seven-part lesson series. What we’re going to talk about today is how to love managing people. Some of us naturally love interacting with people, but many others really don’t like it at all. They’d rather go to the dentist. Not that there’s anything wrong with the dentist, but they’d rather sit through the drilling and discomfort than manage those on their team.

So, I’m going to go over one area managers naturally despise. But before we start, let me just tell you that once you get good at this process, and once you set expectations for the people on your team, over time you’ll absolutely fall in love with management again. This idea is loosely based on the One Minute Manager, which is a very simple book that discusses one minute goals, praises, and reprimands. The first two, goals and praises, are definitely instrumental, but we’ll be focusing on that one thing people hate doing – reprimanding their people. Leaders and managers just don’t like that task at all.

What I want to do is give you a simple but effective process to follow when reprimanding someone. And while it’s based mainly on One Minute Manager, there are a few tweaks here and there that I implement. Again, this reprimand is not a write-up; it’s not a formal documentation of a serious offense. It’s for minor issues, such as if you see one of your employees doing something that doesn’t fit with or isn’t in line with the direction you had in mind. They know they’re not supposed to be doing it, and maybe they’ve made similar mistakes in the past.

The first thing you have to do is this: you really have to directly tell them exactly what they did wrong. Don’t worry, they’ll get used to this process after a while and it becomes more comfortable for them. I’m going to give you a little example. Let’s say that someone shows up late. Try saying something like this: “Susan, you’re late today. You know you’re supposed to come in at 8 o’clock, yet you got in at 8:15. That is completely unacceptable.”

And then you pause. You have to give them a little period of uncomfortable silence. Let them feel that you’re truly unhappy. This is direct, and it lets them know exactly what went wrong. That’s the hardest part right there. But you always follow up with a positive statement, such as: “Susan, the reason I tell you this is because I believe in what you have done for this company, and I’m so thankful for everything.” So you leave them on a good note. To recap, first you hit them with what they did wrong right off the bat in a kind, loving, straightforward way, then you pause a little bit, let them really feel it. Finally, you leave them with something positive, maybe mention that you appreciate one of their recent accomplishments.

I want to contrast this strategy with something called the sandwich approach, which is quite different, but a lot of people are trained on this method. Basically, you’d start with something positive, follow up with the reprimand, then leave on another positive note.

To continue with our simple example, you might say, “Hi Susan, you’re great. You were late today, and that’s unacceptable. Oh, by the way, you’re amazing.” And so what happens is this kind of sandwiching tactic dilutes the effectiveness of the reprimand itself. The best thing to do is to be honest and to-the-point when you let them know what they did wrong. This is just one small tidbit of information, and I help people on a much deeper level based on individual needs. But this is one thing to think about and eventually, over time, it’ll streamline communication between you and your employees, as well as help you love managing people again. So please take action and give it a try. Make it happen.