You Can’t Make Me

get link Do you like people to tell you what to do? I don’t. Never have.

go When people tell me what to do, a wall goes up and I stop listening. “You’re not the boss of me!” is what goes through my head. The more the other person talks, the less I pay attention to them and the more I pay attention to my emotions.

This article is a follow-up to my blog of June 7, 2011 about managing relationships, not people. I had a discussion recently with a good friend in management. As she detailed conversations she’d had with people on her staff, I realized why they weren’t responding as she had hoped. They responded to her requests, but something told her they had much more to offer than they were showing. In addition, she told me that morale was low and productivity was suffering.

The issue was obvious to me. She was using a “push” management strategy rather than a “pull” management strategy. What’s the difference? It’s all in the presentation.

No one really likes to be told what to do, and most people don’t like to be “managed”. Oh, there are some – those lovely folks who are happy to be handed paperwork and do data entry, for example. But the rest of us seem to have an automatic and negative gut reaction to being told what to do. So how else are we supposed to do it? Isn’t this how managers manage? It is, and that’s just the problem: how can managers increase productivity and morale at the same time?

That’s easy. Give your employees the opportunity to think.

Push management strategy language is full of demands. “Do this.” “I’d like you to…” “Make sure to…” “Here’s what I want you to do.” Pull management strategy language turns that on its head. A pull strategy brings the answers and activities out of the individual and engages them in the process. Rather than tell the person what to do, help that person to come up with the solution, the next step or the next challenge on their own. The difference is powerful.

When one manages by engaging the brain of a subordinate, that person becomes more motivated because they participate in the process. They develop solutions on their own rather than robotically waiting for you to tell them what to do. Now they are engaged. Now they’re thinking on their own. That person owns a piece of the challenge and because he came up with his own solution, he’s┬ámuch more motivated to act on it. (The best part is that he or she may well have a better solution than you do!)

As a manager, you have an obligation to drive productivity. Positive morale is your responsibility. How can you build both? Stop “managing” and start asking.

This entry was posted in 3. The Power of Capacity, 4. The Power of Relationship and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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