Several years ago I read a quote about Sam Walton. It said that he was hard on performance, but easy on people. That quote always stuck with me, and I’ve tried my best to apply it to my own role as a supervisor.
I want to look at these two principles and show you several ways that you can apply them in your own role as a boss and leader.
Be hard on performance.
Have the hard conversations. It isn’t easy telling someone that their performance isn’t up to par, but you have to do it. You are doing a disservice to that person, your team, and your business if you don’t.
Talking to them will help you determine why their performance isn’t up to standards. Do they need retraining? Do they not fully understand what the job requires? Are they having issues outside of work that is effecting their job? Once you have these conversations then you can determine what you need to do next, which in some cases will be some form of a coaching process. Because…
You have to hold people accountable. When you give someone a job to do, follow up to make sure that they do it. If they haven’t, find out why. Don’t let them get away with not completing their tasks. And make sure that they’ve done it correctly. If they haven’t, take the time to teach them how to it. Set the expectations high.
Consider that they may be in the wrong spot. Sometimes we put people in jobs that they aren’t suited for. If this is the case, move them to another job to see how they do there. I’ve had people that weren’t suited to stocking but I moved them to cashier or maintenance and they shined. With one associate, being a cashier suited her outgoing personality more than stocking, which she found to be boring. She was happier as a cashier and so she performed better.
I also want to add that you shouldn’t move a problem person around because you don’t want to deal with them. That’s the wrong action to take. You have to deal with them. Sometimes though you have a good employee who is in an area that doesn’t suit their strengths.
Finally, sometimes you have to recognize that some people will never meet the standards, and you have to let them go. Firing someone is the hardest thing to do, especially when you know how hard it is to find jobs these days. But if you keep someone around who doesn’t do their job, and in spite of your best efforts never will, then you will hurt the morale of your team.
Be easy on your people.
What most people want is to have a job that makes them feel useful and needed. They want to have a sense of pride in what they do. And you can help give them that by recognizing that everyone has different levels of skills and abilities. You wouldn’t expect a catcher to be able to throw a baseball as fast as pitcher would you? They each have their role to play, and so do your employees. It is your job to recognize which role best suits each person’s strengths and will make them the most beneficial to the team.
You also need to appreciate your people. A simple thank you goes a long way. Recognizing that someome did a great job on even the samllest of tasks, makes people feel good about themselves.
You also need to talk to your people. Get to know them. I remember one store manager that I worked for, he wasn’t that great at running a store, but he was great with people. He would always call people by their names. He remembered the names of their spouses and children, and would ask how they were doing. His people loved him for that. Build those kind of relationships with your people.
Besides talking to your people, you also need to listen to them. Your people need to know that they can come and talk to you about any issue that they have. They need to know that you will take the time to listen. Learning to make small talk with them, and letting them see that you’re an actual human being, will help them to feel more comfortable coming to you with issues.
You also to find the balance between taking care of the needs of the business and taking care of the needs of your people. I have one associate that works two jobs. She was always worried that I would be upset when she needed to change her schedule. But my willingness to work around her schedule, without giving her a hard time about it as other managers had, has given us a strong working relationship. Allowing her to come in an hour or so early so she could leave early doesn’t hurt the needs of the business, and it helps to make her life a little easier.
Are you a boss? Was there a piece of advice or quote that helped shape your approach to being a boss? How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your people? What advice on being a boss can you share? Let me know in the comments!
Picture from Stock Snap