Manage Arguments, Not People

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Do you have an employee who seems unmanageable?


Most people are unmanageable. I have rarely known anyone who was great at managing people. You can’t manage people. But you can manage arguments.


Managing people is like trying to herd cats. Managers try to manage people’s emotions and personalities. Then they try to take care of the staff who are most upset. This leads to poor time management and ineffective counseling.


Effective Managers


An effective manager doesn’t try to manage their staff’s feelings. A leader, instead, manages agreements. A leader creates agreements with their employees. Once agreements are made, you don’t have to manage people anymore, just the agreement.


For example, if you have an employee who always shows up late for meetings, many managers would deal with the problem by talking behind their back or try to intimidate with sarcasm or freeze them out or meet with them to play therapist.


The great leader, however, would enter into an agreement that the manager and the employee would be on time for future meetings. They would agree to agree and then keep their commitment to the agreement.


When people agree to keep their agreements with each other, it leads to a more openly accountable firm culture. It leads to higher levels of self-respect.


Remember, the most important precondition to good performance is trust and respect. You have to earn it. Simply having the title of manager or leader bestowed upon you does not necessarily entitle you to instant respect. Your staff needs to experience your willingness to provide support and structure to all situations in the workplace.


A great manager doesn’t bark out orders. A great manager is always serving. Always asking, “How can I assist you?” or “How can I help you succeed with this agreement?”


Because the true leader wants an absolute promise and an absolute performance. Once you have come to an agreement, you can then ask, “Can I count on you to have this done with 100& compliance?”

This way, both the manager and the employee leave the room with an agreement they made out of mutual respect. No one has to be managed…just the agreement!

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