Managing others is about…..YOU


September 24, 2012

Too often in my career I have the discussion with a manager that starts off, “Trish, my employee won’t listen to me.  He is disrespectful and undermines my authority.  He doesn’t do his job.  Tell me what I can do to get him to comply.”  To this, I explain to the manager that the approach should not be how to change that person.  Managing others is about YOU:

  • You have to give a critical look at how you interact with this employee.
  • You have to take ownership for what is working as well as what is not.
  • You have to figure out when and how to modify your behavior to elicit different responses from your staff or colleagues.
  • You have to tell the employee what the expectations are in a clear and concise manner.

You cannot change others, so don’t focus your time there.  If you rethink your approach to the person and try another way, it will elicit a different reaction.  It still may be a negative one, however, a majority of the time it throws that person off enough that they are more likely to actually show more respect or at least listen to advice on how to perform better at their job.

Managing others is not about how we get someone else to change.  It’s about how we change and adapt our approach for maximum success with many different personalities.  They ultimately have to take personal ownership for their behavior.  And, if they are not able to improve performance and respond positively to your approach as the leader, they will face the consequences of their own behavior.


  • Yes, yes, yes!!!!!

    Most of the time (with some exceptions), the supervisor is generally guilty of a “one size fits all” management philosophy. This generally elicits little to no respect depending on the personality of the minion in question.

    This approach could be good for sales, as well.

    Good stuff, as always.

  • Great blog Happy Anniversaries to you and Ben.
    Yes great message. It was always about the “YOU” in life!

  • Great comments; always relevant to people managers. I do however think that once an organisation reaches a certain level of size and complexity it needs to provide management processes and structures to assist/guide/encourage people managers to these behaviours.
    Having a HR model that incorporates such Management frameworks and is integrated with the business model/strategy is very important. For example, incorporating structured feedback and appropriate competency dimensions could be one way.

    There is some interesting insight in IBM’s HR study reflected in this article that I found interesting:
    How can companies build, allocate and deploy their workforces to capitalise on opportunities wherever and whenever they arise? IBM held an ‘online’ discussion/event you may find interesting; whilst now closed, the online environment still exists with recordings, white papers, and other materials:

    The study incorporates the survey of 700+ HR leaders from both mature and emerging markets and found that key gaps exist in the ability of their companies to develop future leaders, to rapidly develop and deploy workforce skills and capabilities, and to effectively collaborate and share knowledge.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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