Does Your Management Style Remind People Of Something They Read In Dilbert?

By: Jeff Altman

With thanks to Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian who does the "You might be a redneck series of jokes.

If you really believe people in your group are lucky to have a job, you might be a jerk.

If, when you call a meeting, people suddenly call in sick, you might be a jerk.

If you tell people, "It's my way or the highway," you might be a jerk.

If you think your staff is lucky to have a job, you might be a jerk.

And, there are a million more and I'm sure you get the idea.

The labor recession is over. people are returning to work in IT and not all your problems will be solved by ourtsourcing jobs to India, Ireland, China, Eastern Europe or Canada. You are going to need talent. And if you treat your staff poorly, you will be losing people that you are going to need because they understand your business and your systems and someone else will pay them more and treat them better.

So here they are. Five simple points that will help you succeed. A five point framework for finding and keeping good people.

1. Identify your key people and treat them well.

This doesn't just mean paying well or above scale but inviting their input and paying for training. Remember, the web means that if you have a bad day, they can send their resume to 400 firms in 2 minutes and get paid more by someone who needs what they have in the way of skills.

2. Identify what attributes make someone a terrific employee. Being a terrific employee is only partly skill based. It involves a huge amount of character and the right personality fit for your firm. What are the common attributes of your best people and your up-and-comers? When you interview, how can you find out whether the candidate will fit your culture.

(Comment: "Fit your culture" does not mean that everyone in your group should be Italian, Pakistani, Jewish or a part of any ethnic or religious group. It's probably the last way you should compose a group).

3. A team of "yes-men and women" won't support one another stretch. Teams need to grow as leaders and if everyone is alike then how will creative thought be fostered?

4. Don't scapegoat anyone. Instead, foster the best qualities of your staff. Mentor people. It may take more time but you'll get better results.

5. Show some kindness and heart to your people. They are not machines but people with families, bills and bad days, just like you. An occasional, "Is everything OK," and really listening to the answer can go a long way to building staff loyalty.

About the Author:

Jeff Altman has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is also co-founder of Your Next Job, a networking group focused on assisting technology professionals with their job search, a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist. For additional job hunting or hiring tips, go to If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at (If you're looking for a new position, include your resume).

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