“Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?”
So said Henry Ford referring to employees who just don’t seem to do what you want them to.
And guess what, he was right! Organisations are full of incompetent people that can’t understand exactly what needs to be said and done to keep the customers happy and the revenue flowing in rather than leaking out.
So to help you poor, unappreciated bosses out there, I’ve compiled a tried and tested list of actions to keep the rank and file doing what they’re meant to do, to keep everything on track:
- FEEDBACK – When people screw up, tell them! Don’t beat around the bush, tell them exactly what you think of them and what the consequences will be next time. Do not, however, take any action as you’ll then have to replace them – better the devil you know. If the miscreant continues to misbehave, up the ante with more threats.
- S*!T SANDWICH – for the sensitive wallflowers among your staff, union members and those with a lawyer, use the S*!t Sandwich technique: Tell them something nice (you like their shoes or perfume) then give them both barrels and end it by asking them if they had a good weekend. Never fails!
- MANAGE THEM – most cock-ups occur when the boss takes their eye off the ball. In this case the ball is your staff. So make sure that you know exactly what they are all doing all of the time – get IT to help you on that one and intervene whenever you have the slightest doubt over what they’re up to. Any problems, refer to point 1.
- CRUSH INITIATIVE – you’re paid to take the initiative, they’re not. As soon as they think they can get creative or start ‘owning’ stuff, you’re in trouble, so nip it in the bud. You employed them to tell them what to do, not the other way around as that bloke from Apple seemed to think.
- USE HR – all those human resources people need something useful to do so when you have too much to deal with, offload all the above onto them. They’ve learnt how to have ‘difficult conversations’ so should be good at it. Much better than all that culture and engagement piffle.
- MEETINGS – attend as many meetings as you can. Pop in unannounced if possible and if everything goes quiet, you’ll know they were up to no good. Never chair a meeting – let someone else do that so you can leave when something more important comes up. As the boss you can have your say anyway – make sure you do.
So there we have my top tips for keeping your employees in line. The beauty of this strategy is that, over time, as people leave – and they will – you can replace them with others that will thrive in this kind of regime and ensure that everyone tows the line.
Finally, on a ‘personal development’ note: this management style needs physical, emotional and mental toughness. To help you develop that kind of strength here are some more tips:
- Forget the gym, you won’t have time, but do make sure you have a few drinks at night to help you relax. If sleep becomes an issue, take pills – they work well.
- Warn your family that it’s work/life not life/work balance for a reason. You can watch TV with them on Sunday night if you’re not asleep.
- Get health insurance – you never know.
- Keep your phone with you at all times including at night – under the pillow is good.
- Emotions are a sign of weakness. If you find yourself getting sentimental or having second thoughts about running a tight ship, pull yourself together and man up.
- Everyone needs some rest so make sure you zone out with some reality TV or some social media – particularly when you’re not sleeping at 2am.
Follow this and you can’t go wrong. So good luck and if, through pure misfortune, it all falls apart, I can put you in touch with others who, in spite of their best efforts, have had similar bad luck.
You just can’t get the staff these days…