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Working With Employees

By Dr. Robert Sullivan

Dealing with employees (contracted or yours) is always challenging and will tax your best management and leadership skills. The following listing, based on a good deal of experience, are items to consider that will help keep you out of trouble when dealing with your employees:

* Be willing to pay for the best. Remember, you get exactly what you pay for ... no more and no less.

* Everyone has their own way of doing things. We all seem to forget this and insist it be done "our way." A better approach is to give instructions as to what is needed and allow the individual to provide the method.

* Remember to always criticize in private and to praise in public.

* Remember that EVERYONE needs to feel appreciated. Talk to your employees and make certain they know they are providing a valuable service.

* Stay visible. Make certain all your employees see you at least once a day. Your employees need to know you're involved and interested.

* Keep your promises. If you say you're going to do something, do it! There are no good excuses in the eyes of your employees.

* Ask your employees for suggestions on a regular basis. Do this personally ... not just with a "suggestion box."

* Allow your employees to fail! It is well documented that successes are generally preceded by one or more failures. The employee who is afraid to fail will be less likely to be innovative. It is up to you to see that none of these failures is fatal to the business.

* Every employee must know exactly what their responsibilities are and what authority they have for carrying out these responsibilities. This usually is accomplished by very precisely written job descriptions.

* Manage by objectives. Each of your employees should be assigned (by mutual agreement) specific goals to be obtained within a certain period of time. These goals must be measurable and you will periodically review them so that corrective action, if needed, may be taken to get back on track. Managing by objectives stresses real results as opposed to a job description which only lists the individual's responsibilities.

* Constantly motivate your employees to do a good job. Talk to them about their job and its importance to the business. Maintain an "employee-of-the-month" program with an appropriate certificate and a traveling trophy. Make the monthly presentation with fanfare.

* Implement an effective training program to encourage promotion. Any employee who thinks they are in a dead-end job will not perform up to expectations.

* Remember the "Peter Principle"... to paraphrase: Everyone rises to their level of incompetence. See that this does not happen in your organization.

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This article is an excerpt from "The Small Business Start-Up Guide" by Robert Sullivan, which is available from the publisher, Information International, Box 579, Great Falls, VA 22066, at $16.95 plus $3.50s/h. 800 375 8439. Visit "The Small Business Advisor" at http://www.isquare.com

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