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Category >> Managing Your Staff
May 13

When Employees Delegate Up

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Most positions involve knowing how to delegate work and responsibility to others. You can’t do everything, every time. Moses provided a model when he instructed, “The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.” (Deuteronomy 1:17, NASB)

Apr 30

When Interviewing Applicants, Ask For Solutions

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When interviewing for high level positions, I like to pose realistic situations and ask prospective candidates for solutions. Asking a candidate to offer real answers to real problems is very helpful in assessing ability and learning how they think.
When someone leaves a position, they usually leave problems that the next person will need to solve. Management is wise to present one or more of these problems to prospective replacements. Existing managers want new senior people to start contributing immediately.  Asking for solutions as a part of the interview process is one way to gauge how a candidate might perform.  

One time I was considering several internal candidates for a high level position that had been recently created. As part of the interview process I made an assessment tool. I outlined the major problem this new position needed to solve and gave each candidate four days to write out a plan to address the issue. I received very useful feedback, helping me in the assessment process.

You can use the same process for a variety of positions. If you are hiring an executive chef, ask the candidate to critique the current menu and suggest changes. When interviewing a sales manager, outline your current process including results.  Ask how they would improve the plan.

Jesus said, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly." (John 7:24, NLT)   Using real workplace situations in your interview process will provide you with great insight, and help you judge applicants effectively.

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Apr 24

Evaluate Staff on Key Points

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Evaluating staff performance is always challenging. It is easy to focus on small details and lose the big picture. When working with clients, I suggest they stay focused on the important issues:  the quantity of work, its quality and dependability. To do that you must establish expectations for each key category.

Apr 16

Address Problems with the Whole Group

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Often we experience a problem that only involves one person. How do you work through the issue?  If the issue applies to the larger group, I prefer to address the issue with the entire group as a first step rather than with the individual.
For example, if the issue is late arrivals for meetings and one individual is consistently late, I would write a reminder to the group about the importance of being ready to start on time. If you hold staff meetings, you can reinforce this to the whole group during your meeting. If the infraction continued, I would take the issue up with the individual, referencing my recent reminder.

The advantage of this strategy is that it avoids unnecessary personal confrontations, which usually prove unhelpful. Second, those who already comply with your policy understand that deviations to this standard are unacceptable to you, and you will deal with infractions. This helps keep everyone else in line without involving more interventions.

Moses gave the law to the people and said, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness.” (Deuteronomy 1:1a, NASB) Copy this model by communicating with the entire group.  You will build a better team ready to help your business grow.

Feb 27

Should I Reduce an Employee’s Pay?

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I received the following question from a reader: “Steve, I have a staff member who has been salaried for about 4 years.  Due to a financial situation and some declining in her work performance, I'm thinking about putting her back to hourly wages.  However, this will decrease her take home pay about $45 and I am struggling with this. I want to make the right decision and do it right.”