By: Jay Mittelman
Few people want to get ordered around by an employer, manager, supervisor, or team leader. So what’s better — and more effective — than issuing orders? Treating employees with respect, as professionals and meaningful contributors to your organization's success.
The following are ways to get the results you want without becoming a drill sergeant:
Make requests, not demands. Don’t say: “Put a hard hat on before going into the warehouse.” Instead, say: “Could you remember to put on a hard hat before you enter the warehouse?” When you make demands, you rob people of the need to decide for themselves.
Explain your reason or reasons. Example: “Our safety program requires that XYZ Company personnel wear hard hats when they’re in the warehouse.” This lets employees know your request isn’t arbitrary. Instead, it’s grounded in well-founded reasons, and both educates and empowers your team.
Appeal to self-interest. Example: “Wearing hard hats helps lower the number of work accidents. That means you get a bigger profit-sharing check at the end of the quarter.”
Include yourself in the request. Example: “Let’s put on our hard hats before we go into the warehouse.” It shows employees that you’re subject to the same policies they are. This is the tried-and-true "leading by example."
Explain the personal consequences (especially to an employee who has ignored previous requests). Example: “You’ve ignored the company safety rule that requires you to wear a hard hat in the warehouse. If you fail to do this from now on, I’ll have to change your job to a lower paid position that doesn’t require wearing a hard hat, or I’ll have to terminate you.”
Give the employee an opportunity to make the decision. Example: “Everyone here wears a hard hat in the warehouse. The alternative is working for lower pay in another job. Which do you feel would be best for you?”
While policies and procedures are typically set within the HR department, it is the managers and employees that have to carry them out daily. Being a manager requires more than just knowing the rules, it requires being a leader, setting the right example, and providing your team with the tools, skills and information necessary for their own success.