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People Skills Test: Personnel Management


By Greg Crosslin
May 1, 2008

It doesn't matter if you're a good or a great manager, or whether you're awful at it. Success comes down to your people skills and your organizational abilities when it comes to handling employees. After all, our employees are the ones that handle our most important aspects of our business — our customers. How we serve our customers is often directly affected by how we manage our employees. Thus, the Personnel Management quiz is set forth below. See how you do:

 

1. DO YOU CHALLENGE EMPLOYEES?
  • Do you set daily goals for your employees?

  • Do you have quality assessment guides to ensure they meet their daily goals?

  • Do you give your employees the proper tools to meet their daily goals and requirements?

 
2. DO YOU COERCE EMPLOYEES TO DO THEIR JOBS?
  • Is it "Do as I say, not as I do?"

  • Do you threaten or belittle employees to perform?

  • Do you constantly remind them there are other employees out there?


​We often forget that the difference between a bad employee and a great employee can be our own management of them. We hire people because we think they can perform a certain job. It's our job to make sure we properly interview, select and hire employees, and then properly equip them to do the job we selected them to do. The vast majority of the time, employee failures are management failures, either at the beginning, middle or end of the hiring process.
 

3. DO YOU COACH, OR DO YOU CRITICIZE YOUR EMPLOYEES?

 

  • Anyone can critique, criticize and be an armchair quarterback. Are you on the sidelines coaching the employee, giving them the tools they need to be successful, or are you waiting until they fail and then critiquing them?

  • Do you have a game plan you've given your employees that you coach along the way and develop and modify as their daily challenges are met or are changed?

  • Do you coach through problems with your employees, or do you wait until they make a bad decision before you intervene?

  • Does your coaching give employees the confidence to make their own decisions, or are they constantly running to you for answers because they fear failure and your wrath?

  • Does your involvement with your employees encourage collaboration among members of your team, or does your style and lack of support lead to confrontation among employees?

 

While it's true that the employee must make the play, for the most part, it's the coach — the owner or supervisor — who creates the game plan for the company's goals, implements the structure for delivery of the company's plan, and calls the individual shots on a daily basis for servicing the customers.

 

4. DO YOU LET EMPLOYEES CONTRIBUTE, OR DO YOU WAIT UNTIL FAILURE AND THEN COMPLAIN AT THE RESULT?

 

  • Do you let your employees invest in goals and solutions for the development of your business, whether it's on their daily routes in dealing with individual customers or overall company goals?

  • Do you let them buy into your company's program, goals and plans, or do you instead pay them off as workers who are hired just to do a job?

  • Do you allow your employees to contribute to the decision-making process of your business when it comes to service delivery, customer service and production so they're a member of the process and your team, or do you sit in the stands and wait for them to make a decision, good or bad? If it's bad, do you criticize and if it is good, say that's what you expected and hired them for?

 

5. DO YOU COMMUNICATE TO THEM OR CASTIGATE THEM FOR THEIR FAILURES?

 

  • Do your plans, priorities and requirements of your daily delivery of services include a way to communicate all of these to your employees on an understandable level they can then be turned into a daily implementation plan?

  • Do your employees know what your expectations are for them on a daily and annual basis because you have explained it to them?

  • Do your employees understand their jobs, your customer service requirements and where they fit in with your company, or do they merely look forward to cashing a paycheck every 15 days?

 

Remember, their expectations are driven by your management style and decisions — so the type of employees you have in place and their attitude toward your company generally is created by you.

 

6. HOW DO YOU HANDLE CONFLICT IN YOUR COMPANY?

 

  • How do you deal with conflict between employees? Is there a resolution process in place so all know how to deal with issues that arise from time to time?

  • How do you deal with conflict between employees and supervisors or their direct managers? Is the chain of command properly in place, and are there ways for employees who are not at the top of the chain to communicate without fear of retribution or termination?

  • How do you deal with conflict between employees and customers? (You're fooling yourself if you think this won't arise.)

 

How you resolve conflict on multiple levels has an impact on your business and your company's structure. Planning and management techniques dictate how your employees will deal with conflict when the circumstances present themselves. Do you manage conflict before it becomes a problem?

 

7. ARE YOU A CHEERLEADER?

 

  • Do you encourage, support or appreciate your employees at every step of their job function?

  • Do you reward good work?

  • Or is success just expected as performed for the job you hired the employees, for which you pay them their salaries?

 

8. DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR EMPLOYEES?

 

We have to remember that employees are just not just cogs of the wheels of the company. How we coach our beliefs, practices and management plans into play is seen and understood by employees on a variety of levels. Don't kid yourself. Your attitude toward your employees is understood and will be reflected in their work.

 

The issue of confidence begins not necessarily with employees, but within your own management system, business plan and organizational goals.

 

The bottom line is with your employees, what you see is what you get. The real questions are: What do you want, and what are you willing to invest to get what and who you need?