Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Decision making stability!

  I was on the airplane the other day and visited with a lady that I had not seen in several months.  She had told me that she had left the firm where she previously worked.  When I asked her why, she said, "Because the owner could never make up her mind."  WOW, I found that interesting, because, as I knew the owner, she was a lady who could make a decision and stick with it--or so I thought.  Of course, I was always a customer, never an employee.

    As we visited more, my friend said that she really enjoyed working at the business, the owner knew a great deal about the industry in which the business practiced, however, she was a horrible boss and manager.  In fact, my friend said that the manager had also left the firm because of differences with the owner on decisions.
   As I began to think about what my friend told me, I became interested in why the employees were so frustrated, after all, the owner was the one who paid the checks.  My friend said that was never an issue, the boss is the boss, however, the staff became increasingly frustrated when they were given instructions to do one task, completed the task as they were directed, then were told to basically re-accomplish the task again in another fashion or form.  My friend said that after many times of that type of behavior by the owner, any fun or workplace enjoyment associated with being at the business had evaporated.
   When you give your employees direction, is the direction clear, concise and understandable?  Do you listen, really LISTEN to what the employees ask, understanding that perhaps the employees have some ideas that may improve the task and be more efficient?  Do you compliment your employees when the task is done?  If the task turned out different than what you had originally envisioned, do you blame the employees  OR do you reflect upon the direction you provided?
   My experience is that if you carefully reflect upon the direction that you initially provided, you may find that the task was completed in the way you explained, however, not what your original intention may have been!
   I have found that the best way to insure that all folks involved in any task are equally excited about how the task is to be completed is to insure that you have each employee "feedback" to you what your final expectation is.   If you give direction to the employees to paint the supply room red, and say no more, you may be surprised with what becomes the final product.  However, if you ask the employees if they clearly understand the task, I have found it better to have them repeat back what your expectations are, clarifying any misunderstandings before the actual task accomplishment is begun.
   In the case of my friend, she missed being at the store where she worked, however, she did not miss the constant changing of the owner's mind and having to re-accomplish a task many times.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, carefully look in the mirror before complaining to your staff.


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