Blanchard had a major presence at the 2012 ASTD international conference and expo in Denver, CO, USA last month. In-booth presentations, by yours truly and other fine Blanchard colleagues, were very well received. During one of his presentations, Scott Blanchard made a comment that really stuck a chord with me.

Scott quoted his better half, coaching.com co-founder Madeleine Homan Blanchard, as pointing out that “every workplace problem has hair on it’s head.” Yes, you may have players on your team who don’t have MUCH hair on their heads, but let’s not be distracted from the power of Mad’s statement.

Leaders often spend time (and angst) attempting to manage processes or results or what not. Mad’s point is that people are at the core of workplace problems. If leaders’ efforts distract them from addressing interpersonal issues and addressing “people not playing well in the workplace sandbox,” those issues erode the creation of a high performance, values-aligned culture.

Let’s examine what separates lousy and even good bosses from great bosses: effective management of people.

The Three Keys to Effective People Management

  • Trust & Respect – great bosses know that strong, healthy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. When leaders consistently honor team members’ skills, experience, contribution, and tenure, trust & respect grows. When leaders redirect behavior without malice, without tearing down the player in the role, trust & respect grows. Followership and application of discretionary energy only happens when trust & respect exists.
  • Clarity of Expectations – great bosses know that all good performance starts with clear goals. When leaders define what a good job looks like – in the form of specific, measurable performance standards – contributions improve. When leaders also define what great corporate citizenship looks like – in the form of behaviorally-defined values – team member’s are drawn to behave in those ways. Great bosses define both performance and values expectations.
  • Alignment & Accountability – great bosses know that they must act on their responsibility to ensure their team delivers on the promises made to company peers, customers, and stakeholders. With trust & respect as a foundation and with expectations clear, leaders focus on aligning plans, decisions, and actions to those expectations. Great bosses invest time and energy in checking in with staff, observing how internal and external customers are treated, and monitoring both performance and values in day-to-day operations.

It doesn’t matter how savvy a leader is technically if they are unable to effectively manage the organization’s human resources. When leaders inspire teamwork, dedication, performance, AND passion, they’re “great bosses.”

How do you or your leaders manage people well? Tell us in the comments section below.

Get your FREE EXCERPT from my new book, #POSITIVITY AT WORK tweet, written with the delightful Lisa Zigarmi. View our video on why we wrote the book, understand the research on positivity in the workplace, and more!

Photo © iStockphoto.com/yuri_arcurs

S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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