Engaging with staff

I enjoy engaging with staff. How else do you know what type of person they are? What they want to achieve in their life/career? What makes them tick? These are important bits of information to find out.

I think I’m a pretty easy going sort of person. I like to think I am approachable. A lot of the time staff will work at my desk with me. Surely that says I’m approachable. While we are working we chat about normal life subjects, like TV, movies, days off. I have learned a lot about my staffs history and in turn what they want in their future. I am always wanting to help that idea become a reality for them. Even if it means they leave the company. Because I know while they’re still around they will be giving their best.

I’ve had a couple of bosses that hate engagement. The thought of it, it seemed was like nails down a chalk board to them. They would avoid it at all costs. “I know we have meeting scheduled but I can’t talk right now. Come back in an hour.” How can any good come from that exchange?

When I talk with my staff I try to keep it positive. Positive feedback is the best feedback to give and receive. Sometimes negative feedback is required. It might sound lazy but my approach is the shit sandwich. I’ll start with one positive of the situation, then where they went wrong and end with how we as a team move on and improve things for the future.

Tough conversations happen from time to time. They can be very good conversations in the end though. Everyone comes out with clear direction and expectations. The air is cleared, we start a new chapter in our relationship. That’s what I try to get out of the tough conversations. We may not get everything that we want, but at least we know where we stand with one another. And we both move on.

In the end engagement is very important. If you don’t engage with your people how will you show your appreciation or help them be the best they can be.



Staff Meetings

I love staff meetings, but only when they are useful. For me, a useful staff meeting has an agenda, time frame and then outcomes/action plans.

First on the agenda: I asked the staff if they were happy with the way things are. It was a collective “YES”. Why is there the comment, “If you fuck up once, you”ll never do that job again”? Apparently it’s a joke. Action plan: It won’t be said again.

We also went through what was coming up up over the summer, who was doing what, where and when. Pretty standard, easy and simple. After the meeting, productivity was through the roof. Everyone is aware of the goal for the summer, and they are excited about it.

I’ve been in staff meetings where there is no agenda, time frame and in the end, no action plans. “A catch up”. What a waste of time and energy. Everyone comes out confused and deflated. After those meetings, productivity is zero. It’s because there’s questions. Questions about what’s coming up, who’s doing what and there’s no action plans and therefore no goals.

Staff meetings are simple, useful tools for managers. Only use when necessary.  Catch ups are for one on one meetings.

Agenda. Time frame. Action plans.




My first week back from 3 weeks leave was interesting.

We have two new hires that started a week before I went away. I had one on ones with them both when I returned, and their feedback was mixed. They are both enjoying the job, but not the people they are working with. They haven’t had a very warm welcome from the team. Lots of negativity from existing team members. My presence should help stifle the negativity. I’m going to call a staff meeting to ask why everyone is so unhappy with their job and what we can do to improve their situations. I hope I get honest feedback….

It’s time to set KPIs. I enjoy this part of my role very much. Setting goals and outlining expectations for direct reports is one the most helpful tools a supervisor can use. Having direction on where people want to go, not only in their career but also their lives makes everything so much easier. I asked the two new hires what they wanted from this job, and they both said that they wanted to learn as much as they could. That was a very refreshing answer as the other staff have said that they don’t really know what they want. I will add that the newbies are in their early 20s and just starting their careers. The rest of the staff are in their mid 30s and beyond.

Bring on next week!!!!


A new middle manager is created

My name is Chris. I am 34 and have been a supervisor for around a year.

This first post is for me to introduce myself. I have 8 direct reports, 2 peers and 1 boss in my office.

The purpose of this blog is for me to share my experiences as a relatively new people manager. So far i I’ve had only 2 people resign. The first quit because they wanted leave during our busiest time of the year and it’s a blackout time for annual leave. He quit to go camping. The second just resigned to be closer to their family, and to work 9 to 5.

The reason I call my blog A New Tyrant is because my boss and peers rule their staff with an iron fist, or they think they do. They manage using fear. I am trying a different approach. One that involves letting go of my old responsibilities, praise and communication.

I enjoy my position very much. The best job I had before this was a greens keeper at a golf course in the suburbs of Chicago.

I will no doubt have a lot to share in the coming posts.

Thanks for reading.