A friend and business colleague recently asked if I would serve as a reference for a position she is seeking. I was honored she asked and, of course, said “yes.” Several days later I received an email from the recruiting firm with a very long list of questions, as well as a copy of the position description.
One of the questions intrigued me: “What advice can you give us that will help us successfully manage this candidate?” Quite frankly, I’m not sure I understood the question; I think it was open to multiple interpretations. So here is how I answered.
I don’t believe any of us “manage” people. I believe we create an environment in which people can manage themselves. We create that environment in several ways:
- First, we must genuinely care about the people with whom we work. Notice the emphasis; that’s because people don’t work “for us,” they work “with us.”
- Make sure everyone’s expectations are clear, not just yours.
- Schedule quarterly conversations so you know what is on each other’s mind—no assumptions.
- Be available so people have access to you. Don’t smother them by micromanaging—have an even exchange of discussion.
- Give feedback quickly, both positive and negative. Provide the former publicly and the latter in private.
- Working with people does not mean you are their pal or they are family.
Creating this type of environment moves your team, your company forward. And remember, your personality or style doesn’t matter—just be you. What does matter is the first point in the list—you must genuinely care about your people and be committed to them—that is non-negotiable.
One of my favorite Jim Collins’ quotes is “The moment you feel like you have to manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.”
In case you are wondering, I didn’t pontificate to this extent in my response to the reference question! I sure was tempted, however.
Managing people can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. The roles, responsibilities, expectations and job descriptions are often unclear due to structural issues. EOS®gives you the tools you need to create an accountability chart, make sure you have the right people in the right seats, and that those people get it, want it, and have the capacity to do the job.
Do you have a workplace environment that allows your employees to manage themselves? If not, let’s set up a time to discuss how you can get there. Just fill out the consult form below to request a free, 15-minute, no-obligation phone call with me. I look forward to helping you lighten your load and build a company your employees will thrive in and won’t want to leave.