Manage Your People

That’s a picture of Eddie, the newest addition to the Stewart household. If Eddie looks a little guilty, it’s because he just chewed up our living-room rug. When I caught him in the act, I did the logical thing: I sat him down and said “Eddie, I’m disappointed in you. You need to perform at a higher level. After all, we’re building the best household in the neighborhood, and I’m counting on you to step up to the challenge.” Then I gave him a pat on the head, told him I was confident he could be a great puppy, and sent him on his way. Eddie was totally confused, but man did I feel like a great leader!

I didn’t really say that to Eddie (I can’t repeat what I said, my mother reads these). But if I had, and by some miracle he had understood me, it wouldn’t have made a difference, because my “pep talk” was all fluff and no help. That’s no way to treat a dog; if I love my dog, I’ll give him the training, direction, and management he needs to be successful. And I bet you agree with me, so answer me this: if you wouldn’t treat a dog that way, why do you treat your employees—God-created human beings with purpose and infinite value—that way? Why do you use shame and persuasion to try to get your employees to perform, instead of giving them the management they need to be successful? Could it be that you’re so focused on leading, that you’ve forgotten about, or are afraid of, managing?

As a leader of an entrepreneurial business, you must lead and manage. If the word “manage” conjures up images of micro-managing bosses, critical parents, or former spouses, rephrase the prior sentence like this: “As the leader of an entrepreneurial business, you have to lead and equip the people around you to successfully execute their part in reaching your goals.”

With this new perspective in mind, here are four things you need to do to make your employees successful:

  • Show them where they fit. Graphically show their position in the organization, their main accountabilities, who’s responsible for making them successful, and who they are responsible for making successful. When we do EOS, we use a tool called an Accountability Chart that makes this crystal clear.
  • Give them a clear process. If you want them to execute to your expectations, you need to show them the steps that will get them there. Don’t spoon feed them, the process doesn’t need to be a detailed 30-page document that tells them every little task; it does need to be a 1–3 page checklist that shows the main steps that make up the “way” you do it in your business.
  • Measure them. They know you want results, and you know you want results, so make it clear with numbers. Measure key aspects of the process they perform like quantity, speed, quality, and service, so they know how they are doing.
  • Give them your time and attention. Yes, if you want them to be successful, you have to give them time. Stop being so “busy”. Slow down and listen, and schedule regular time to check up on metrics and solve process issues. If you have the right people, your time investment will pay off many times over.

You can be a great manager, just follow the steps above. They will create the clarity your employees crave, and with clarity will come the thing you desire most: accountability.