It is hard to work with dimwits.
It is hard to lead idiots.
It is hard to manage incompetents.
Especially when you're angry with them.
Especially when one or two of them really should go, for the greater good.
But is is essential that you do. Otherwise your feelings spill out and seed discontent, which in turn can seed mutiny.
Sounds extreme but I've seen it time and again.
Happily, there is a solution.
SEE > DO > GET
This is another of those annoying rules of management that sound silly but are remarkably true. My thanks again to performance coach Struan Robertson for helping me improve my management with this.
If you allow yourself to see your staff as incompetent idiots (SEE), you begin treating them as such and expecting nothing more than that from them (DO). And it is therefore no surprise if that's all you get from them (GET).
If, however, you discipline yourself to see each of them as potentially high-achieving members of your dream team, you will begin to talk to them and treat them as such. And it will probably surprise you when they perform well.
In fact, in time they'll excel.
Sounds too simplistic to be true doesn't it?
You will certainly still need to deal with one or two people whose performance or negativity has the potential to drag everyone else down, but I promise that you'll be happy you adopted this mantra.
And your people will appreciate it too.
Clearly, it begins with the decision to see them differently, and when you take this step, another hidden benefit emerges. The mantra could be expanded as follows...
SEE > FEEL > DO > GET
...you start to feel better about working with them.
Developing mental self control like this is what I like to call 'mind-gyming'. (Wish I'd registered mindgym!)
When you mind-gym yourself, coaching yourself through challenges, you take your performance to a different level. And this is never more valuable than when you're managing people. How you are on the inside affects how you are on the outside. And people notice it.
So start 2009 with a new resolve to SEE everyone differently, measured by their potential not by their shortcomings.