How Can I Help One of My Team Leaders?

August 9, 2009

Q: I own and operate a small Missouri based manufacturing firm with
85 employees +/-. I have a “number 2 guy” who has been with me for
many years and has done some excellent work for us in multiple arenas.
But I’ve come to realize that because of his management style we have lost
many outstanding employees over the years that equate to well over 200
years of experience. I was told recently that the word on the street is; “we are not an employer of choice” and this cut to my inner core. I want to help my organization and this individual without losing him. Can you provide me with a few easy, yet effective suggestions to follow? (Name withheld by request; Columbia, Missouri)

A: If this were “easy” I would have bottled and marketed the solutions years ago. There are many questions that come to mind to help me with logical solutions for you. But without the advantage of those answers, allow me throw out points or ideas, mostly rhetorical in nature to stimulate your thinking process;
1. Have you allowed him to operate unchecked?
2. Is his management style a mirror of yours by him living vicariously through your eyes?
3. Have you counseled with him on a regular basis?
4. Have you requested he set company and personal goals that he shares with you?
5. Do you have a method in place to monitor those goals?
6. Have you personally completed exit interviews with employees who have terminated whether it was voluntary or involuntary, so that you can ascertain just what is going on within your company?
7. Have you taken the time to identify what this executive is doing or saying in your absence that causes these human resource difficulties?
8. Are you confident that you are not a micro-manager and have forced him into his current mode just so he can please you?
9. What is your intrinsic trust level in this individual?
10. Are you blinded by his personal sales/accomplishments and fail to see the big picture?
11. Do you truly believe that running your business is ALL about the people and not just the success of one narcissistic individual?
12. Does this individual know how to “play you” and finger point to keep the real heat off of himself?
13. Do you believe that he is irreplaceable and without him the company would fail?

I would subscribe to you on this beautiful Sunday morning that you soul search your own personality, goals, intended results and growth of your company by the thirteen points above. Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy, but it can be accomplished and if you help this person become aware of the deficits within his management style, your company will see a growth pattern THROUGH and WITH ALL employees.

CAVEAT: He must be sincere in wanting to change as well. Employees see through smoke and mirror talk. Attitudes that are condescending, replete with “I” and not “us” and “we” will typically will work in a negative manner and be extremely counterproductive.
Hopefully these thirteen points will help you get on the right track. Have a tremendous week If I can help, call or write and I will respond immediately!.

George Mancuso