The hardest part of any initiative or project is usually getting everyone on-board - mentally and physically. You need the go-ahead and the willing resources to make it happen.
Due to many interpersonal, generational, or behavioral elements — you will always bump into the troubled employee. How do you manage them?
Many times during my 20+ years of corporate management, I ran into certain team members who just didn't play by my rules. This is not a rare situation in business and there are three clear outcomes:
- You ultimately fire them. (bad)
- You understand how they 'operate' and then you integrate their style into your processes. (better)
- You teach them how to work within your management structure. (best)
Of course the first is the last resort, but I've had to do this on a number of occasions — usually do to the associate's disinterest of their position. In the end, it's better for the both of us.
The second outcome, being flexible, is a better outcome, but causes you to modify your management, their communication, work habits, delivery for each of your team members. That's okay when you have 1-2 direct reports, but it becomes unmanageable when you have 5-7. Now some will disagree with me (and I encourage your comments!) - and you might manage your team this way presently - but the personalized nature of this management style will cause you to spend more hours than necessary trying to understand, manage, and navigate each personality.
So, the third — have them work within your management style is the best. Why? They ascribe to your schedule, your input/output of communication, and they align with your measures of interaction with their teams. Another side benefit is that they learn another management method that might be better than their own, developing a flexible work style that will benefit them for their entire career.
One way I got my team to report to me is to use this basic template each time we had a status meeting:
- What did I accomplish?
- What is planned for next week?
- Long Term Projects (with deadline dates)
- Concerns & Issues (with solutions)
If each team member filled this out, I could immediately see what they got accomplished, what they will be working on, what is on the horizon, and what obstacles they are running into. The only two rules — they have to keep it to one page and the bulleted items underneath each area must be short phrases - not run-on sentences. This allowed me to review quickly and make comments. Our meetings were quick, focused and powerful.
In addition, they then review their week and slowly become more delivery focused. No more run-on projects without an end date. At the end of the year, it also makes their review soooo easy - they just review a summary of their sheets.