Take the stress out of managing your workforce

Five tips for getting the most out of your workforce without losing your mind

SAN FRANCISCO, CA May 3, 2016/ Troy Media/ – It’s not easy being a manager. Besides feeling that you need a degree in Abnormal Psychology to understand your most eccentric employees, you also need to manage logistics if your workforce is not in the same location.

Fortunately, logistics are the easy part. Programs like [popup url=”http://www.asuresoftware.co.uk/” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″]Asure Software[/popup] give you a versatile platform to manage almost any type of remote workforce, whether you’re outsourcing to freelancers or working with mobile employees. Automation has made logistics a refreshingly logical task. An added bonus to simplifying logistics is that this gives you more time to focus on the more challenging task of thinking like a behaviour psychologist when dealing with people.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of your workforce without losing your mind:

  1. Don’t keep trying to improve your theories

People are difficult to manage.

It doesn’t matter if you use the System Approach, the Quantitative Approach, the Total Quality Management Approach, or the Learning Organization Approach. It doesn’t matter if you use Team Building Theory, Chaos Theory, Open System Theory, or Contingency Theory.

If people, as a rule, had positive attitudes, enjoyed collaboration, and worked hard any of these theories would work. And they would work even better if you were managing exceptional talent.

While management theories are elegant, [popup url=”http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2014/06/09/6-tips-for-managing-people-who-are-hard-to-manage/#4eb5427c796d” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″]difficult people are hard to understand[/popup].

Why are a few people happy, diligent, and highly motivated while others like to gossip, milk the clock, and glumly question the meaning of life?

Here are some common paradoxes you come across as a manager:

  • · Some are easy to manage, others hard
  • · Some are talented, but don’t collaborate; others collaborate, but lack essential skills
  • · Some are too mild-mannered, others too aggressive
  • · Some are champions of focus, others get distracted by gossip and smartphones
  • · Some are sweet and honest but low on competence, others think like basket cases, but do an amazing job

So the first thing to do is recognize that you don’t have to find a better theory or improve employee training. Instead, recognize that human beings tend to be unpredictable in a work environment.

  1. Don’t ask for fewer frustrations, ask for more patience

When you have high expectations, you see potential just waiting to emerge with the right stimulus. Consequently, you do your best to get people to feel more engaged. When people don’t respond to your [popup url=”https://www.troymedia.com/2016/04/12/guide-motivating-unmotivated/” height=”1000″ width=”1000″ scrollbars=”1″]motivational strategies[/popup], you get frustrated.

On the flip side, you also feel the pangs of disappointment. Perhaps perfectly competent salespeople blow sales that could have made the company a fortune. Perhaps normally astute accountants make egregious errors that cost the company money.

At the end of the day, you feel highly frustrated. Things just aren’t going the right way, and, what’s worse, you’re somehow responsible for it all.

While motivation is a good thing, you can also be over-motivated. As a manager, you may put a little too much skin in the game and walk away bruised.

The secret is to take a more Zen approach. Don’t take things personally. Stay calm. Stay positive. Behave like a scientist observing unusual phenomena and taking careful notes.

  1. Don’t complain, don’t explain

When things aren’t going your way and when people are not doing the things they should be doing, it’s easy to become bitter. As a result, you complain to colleagues and develop a sour disposition. Instead of trying to solve the problem by finding ways to make people more productive, you contribute to it by treating them harshly.

You may also veer the other way, trying to be fair and even-minded about everything. Instead of issuing orders and getting the job done, you spend a lot of time explaining to recalcitrant employees’ company policies and why things should be done in a certain way. You’re assuming that people aren’t doing the work they should do because they don’t grasp the full picture. While this may be true in some instances, some people just don’t like to take on too much responsibility.

  1. Approach conflicts impartially

Conflict is an inevitable part of management. As a general rule, managers tend to take one of two approaches. Either they try to dominate the situation with force of will or they back away, hoping that things will settle down in the fullness of time. Neither of these options is the right way to approach a volatile situation.

When handling conflict, try these logical steps:

  1. Don’t take it personally
  2. Don’t side with one party or another
  3. Look at the situation from an objective perspective
  4. Apply the most logical solution
  5. If you are out of your element, get help from someone who knows how to deal with the situation better
  1. Choose empathy before discipline

Sometimes people are hard to manage because they are dealing with personal issues that you know nothing about. For instance, if a top salesperson consistently underperforms, it may not be due to lack of motivation but due to health issues that are making him fumble with his presentations.

When people behave in a way that is contrary to their usual performance, stern rebukes and punitive measures aren’t going to help. Instead, find out what is going on behind the scenes before taking disciplinary action to correct their performance. When employees feel understood, they come around and do their work properly.

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