Years ago, the woman had worked as a barista at a coffee house. The holidays were just around the corner and she was asked by her manager to get the store ready for the holidays. It was almost closing time and she told her manager that she was happy to stay late and get it done, but also that she had never done displays before and wasn’t quite sure what to do. Her manager responded with a quick, “You’ll be fine,” and left for the night.
She stayed for a few extra hours after closing and put all of the holiday decor on display. It took awhile but she got it done and thought it looked good.
That’s why she was so surprised when she walked into the store the next day and saw that all of her displays had been completely rearranged. When she asked her manager about it, the first thing he said was, “You set it up all wrong—you didn’t follow the book.”
“What book?” she replied.
“The book that is in my car—I guess I forgot to give it to you.”
Use behaviors that help (and especially don’t hinder) performance
As you might expect, this young woman walked away feeling frustrated. The sad part is how many times this happens to people in their jobs every day. I don’t think managers intentionally forget to give employees the book, but unfortunately, employees don’t know what your intentions are—they only see your behaviors.
If you are a manager, keep these three things in mind to set your people up for success:
- Do your homework. Check to see if employees have experience with what you are asking them to do. And if they don’t, teach them.
- Praise employees’ progress or redirect them if they are still learning.
- Never reprimand a learner.
Don’t frustrate, or even lose, good employees because of your lack of leadership. Remember, your first and most important customers are your employees.
About the author:
Kathy Cuff is a senior consulting partner and one of the principal authors—together with Vicki Halsey—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Legendary Service training program.