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What NOT to do if you want good engagement!

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This summer, we have had the opportunity to work alongside two smaller organisations and observe the management and employee relationships.

It has reminded us of some key things about management that we wanted to share with you.

People are doing the best they can with the resources that they have at the time

  • Very few people actually intentionally want to do a bad job or want to do something wrong.
  • If they are not doing it the “best” way, then it is most often because they don’t have the appropriate resources (knowledge and experience). Think of what they need, and as a manager it is your responsibility to provide help to them.

We have different learning styles, what fits one employee may not fit another

  • We learn in different ways. Some learn well watching or being shown, others just need to be told or read instructions, where as some people actually learn by doing.
  • If someone isn’t seemingly “getting” it, try a different way of teaching it.
  • Simply repeating the same thing will not work....especially if you turn up the volume!

Being in tight control of a working situation can be stifling to creativity

  • Tight control works in some industries (military, heavy industry, etc.,), but as a manager if you keep too much control of your people they will be stifled and you lose the opportunity to use their creativity.
  • If your employee demonstrates a will to progress, create and improve, let them try it. Set boundaries, but don’t control.

Spending time listening to employees is the key to understanding them

  • One study showed that Doctors (GPs) interrupt and state their opinion (diagnose the problem) within 18 seconds of the patient starting to explain the symptoms.
  • Do you do that as a manager? Do you interrupt after 18 seconds to say what should be done or give your opinion?
  • Have you given your employee enough time to express what the situation is and to potentially use the experience as a learning tool or for them to come up with their own solution?


A manager who constantly gives out the next instructions will develop employees who will not be able to take responsibility.

  • A de-motivated employee will end up waiting to be told what to do rather than being encouraged to think on their feet.
  • Have you ever given some feedback to an employee along the lines of “you need to take more responsibility”? Think about it and make sure that you are not the reason!


Although I am not a big fan of over using quotations, I felt I have to put this down. It is a quotation from Dee Hock (CEO & founder of Visa Credit Card systems).


“make a list of things done to you that you abhorred – don’t do them to others........ever. Make a list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always”


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Published on 24/09/2012 by Emma Harle.

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