46 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
How can I deal with an angry employee?
How can I persuade people to listen to me?
How can I best utilize consultants?
How can I make my meetings more effective?
How can I motivate myself?
These questions will sound familiar to most managers who, at one time or another, would have had to face and resolve these issues. In The Smart Manager's F.A.Q. Guide, training consultant Rex P. Gatto offers a separate chapter on these and 41 other relevant questions for managers. The chapters are organized by categories, listed alphabetically. These categories include typical management concerns, such as change, communication, customers, leadership, performance appraisal, retention and termination and stress management. Each chapter ends with a list of resources for further reading.
The result is a well-organized toolbox for managers who can reach into this book and pull out specific advice on a variety of issues. Here is a sample of some of the issues covered, starting with the first question listed above.
How Do I Deal With an Angry Employee? When faced with an angry employee, the first step, according to Gatto, is to try to understand where the anger is coming from. Listen to the employee without rebuttal. Don't try to think of a way to respond. Instead, focus on identifying the source of the problem.
Situations of intrusion, imposition and infringement (in the eyes of the employee) are often sources of anger. These situations - which can include excessive time pressure or job workload, conflicts with people, or high personal expectations - are then amplified by inner thoughts, such as "This always happens," "These are unrealistic deadlines" or "I can't get anything done."
Once you've identified the problem, calmly paraphrase what the employee sees as the problem. Without getting angry, challenge the inner thoughts that have amplified the problem. Focus on a rational response. Listening, paraphrasing and sharing ideas is key.
In addition to offering steps for diffusing anger, Gatto suggests techniques to give employees who have trouble managing their anger.
What Skills and Knowledge Do I Require as a Supervisor?This chapter is a checklist of 23 key skills, such as:
- Explain what is expected and continually update employees. "The clearer the explanation, the less often the work will need to be redone," Gatto explains.
- Maintain a working environment that is safe, both physically and mentally. Workers reach a higher level of productivity when they feel emotionally safe.
- Encourage continuous improvement in processes. Supervisors must encourage employees to continually push themselves to improve. One suggestion: Walk around the work site to let employees know that you are interested in what is happening.
What Methods Can I Use to Generate Solutions for Problems? In this chapter, Gatto explains how to organize and lead brainstorming sessions and how to create fishbone diagrams (sometimes called cause/effect diagrams) to help employees uncover the root causes of problems.
What Are the Keys to Working with Customers? Gatto explains how to put in place the following six-point plan to get the most out of your relationship with customers:
- Identify What You Want to Accomplish.
- Be Responsible for Achieving What You Want.
- Establish a Focused Direction Along with Priorities.
- Develop Alternative Solutions to Come to Agreement.
- Communicate by Creating a Mutual Understanding.
No Right Way
Although Gatto acknowledges that there is no "right" way to deal with all issues, managers both new and experienced should keep the ideas, techniques and advice in these 300 pages handy for guidance and frequent consultation.