The people in your team may feel a bit uncomfortable when
you sit down and spend time with them, particularly if
they’re not used to it. They might not be used to you doing
it or perhaps a previous manager didn’t do it. It’s often
the case that people are uncomfortable because they
associate their manager sitting down with them as a prelude
to a reprimand.
As Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson say in their book
‘The One Minute Manager’ – “Catch people doing something
Too many managers think that their job is to – “catch people
doing something wrong.”
Many old style managers believed that their job was to check
up on what their people were doing and “sort things” as
required. Many employees today still feel that’s still the
situation. If a manager comes close to you then they’re
checking up. If you’ve got that culture amongst your team
members, then you need to change it.
Think of it this way – are you the kind of manager who
spends time with your team to find out what they’re doing or
to find out how they’re doing. Make sure it’s the latter.
Some of your people may even be a bit scared of you
particularly when they first join the team. You may believe
that – “you’re much too nice a person for anybody to be
scared of little old you” – however I used to believe that
One day I was discussing a new salesman with John, one of
the more experienced guys. “Young Patrick’s scared of you”
he said. “Don’t be ridiculous” was my reply, “What have I
ever done to make him scared of me, I’m always really nice
to him.” – “Well he is scared of you and just wants to
please you” said John.
This was something that really made me think because there
was no way I wanted any of my team to be scared of me. Now
that I was aware of it I took more care in my dealing with
Patrick and our working relationship worked out okay.
So always be aware of the impact you’re having on your
people; you may think that you’re the nicest most reasonable
person in the world but how do they see it.
Sadly, there are some managers who quite like the fact that
their people are a bit scared of them and they see it as a
positive situation. These are also the managers who spend a
lot of time recruiting new people.
I can remember times when I’ve taken over a new team. I’ve
had many strange looks and defensive body language when I’ve
stopped to have a chat with some of the team.
Some field sales people would get extremely uncomfortable
when I told them I’d be spending some time with them
visiting customers. However, I always knew that I was
getting it right when at later date a salesman would ask –
“When are you coming out with me again Alan to see some
There’s always going to be members of your team who are
really keen to spend time with you and others who are less
so. However, you must spend time with everyone – more with
some and less with others. If you do it right, then your
people will start to get used to it and start to see the
benefits to themselves.
Discover how you can generate more business by motivating
Alan Fairweather is the author of “How to get More Sales
by Motivating Your Team” This book is packed with practical
things you can do to get the best out of your people .