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  #41  
Old 06.05.2011, 20:05
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

So you are in management with people skills to get to this position yet come to an online forum seeking advice on what to do?
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  #42  
Old 07.05.2011, 13:54
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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So you are in management with people skills to get to this position yet come to an online forum seeking advice on what to do?
I would thank my boss to do something similar .

IMHO Too many managers think they know it all, just coz they have an MBA or something.

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  #43  
Old 08.05.2011, 09:51
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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I agree with Wattsli that its not a question of culture or nationality. Its the ego. I had someone in my team with the exact same problem - whinging that she has alot of work, looks through rose tinted glasses about her performance and is resistant to feedback and not a team player.

It was only when I sat down with her and showed her a comparison of her productivity versus the rest of the team that the message: "you are not pulling your weight, the team requires people to perform at a certain level. Shape up or ship out" sunk in. The message was further reinforced with a mini-review with certain KPIs for her to meet in within the next 3 months. Was her choice on whether to throw in the towel or rise to the occasion. You'd be surprise how much faster some peopel move when a fire is lighted under their arses - and how dispensible they can be.
This has been my approach in the past and it has worked in all but one. The key is to be fair, tough and consistent. Good luck.
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Old 08.05.2011, 10:18
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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This has been my approach in the past and it has worked in all but one. The key is to be fair, tough and consistent. Good luck.
I'd agree with that mostly... But I'd exchange "tough" with "clear and objective". I think adults respond negatively to bosses who interpret their job to be to 'control' others.

I see their job as more to communicate direction and manage resources (time/information/tools etc) that enable the team to concentrate on their core competencies.

Perhaps this could be a new thread topic?

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  #45  
Old 08.05.2011, 11:00
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

Well, I suspect that you can't just sack him. There are legalities that probably need to be worked through, and presumably your company also has procedures to work through.

The advice of making his life so miserable that he resigns, is a nasty manipulative way to work - and also leaves you vulnerable to law suits.

You hvae been given good advice by others though: know in you mind, exactly what the person's job description is and be aware of exactly where he is failing to meet any of those descriptors. Then arrange to meet with him to discuss performance appraisals. Be objective and help enable him to also be objective with strengths and weaknesses. Also, do listen to him - he may have constructive ideas that you can incorporate. Together, negotiate a plan that will help him to meet the negotiated goals, including a review date.

"tackling him" is probably not a very way to deal with the issues.

By the way, there could be one of several reasons for his current attitude - could actually be bored, undermotivated by the current work; could be intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of being given more work...... Be a good listener, which will then put you in a better position to manage and resolve the situation, hopefly without the need to sack anyone. Good luck.
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  #46  
Old 08.05.2011, 15:39
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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Hi rackiec,

I agree with those saying to spell out clearly what you require from your team member. My experience with managers is that they sometimes have trouble communicating their vision and needs so the team feels directionless and 'between a rock and a hard place'.

I'm sure you're not a bad manager at all. I don't want to say that you're not able to do your job.
Agree very much. I've seen this from both sides, though admittedly only as a very low-level manager without much real power.

I've worked for many managers, both good and bad, and of different nationalities and both male and female and the fault that I would say they all had in common was too much focus on leadership and too little on the actual problems at hand. I don't think micro-management is a good idea but sometimes it can be good when managers step down from their high horse and forget the leadership and motivational mantras and sit down with their subordinates and share some of their real workload with them. Sometimes this brings to light problems and challenges and inefficiencies and stumbling blocks that are so easy to scoff over while you're telling somebody else off for being useless but then discover you can't fix all that easily yourself. There are also problems that subordinates don't like to mention because they are afraid their inability to address those could be interpreted as incompetence or being out of their depth, and so they keep on trying in silence rather than asking for help - with the result that managers wonder why they are taking so long and categorise them as inefficient or disoriented. That's why it is important to create an atmosphere of confidence and openness so that even stupid problems can be addressed openly without fear of repurcussions.
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  #47  
Old 08.05.2011, 15:50
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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Talking sweet to the rattlesnake in the grass doesn't make him any less
poisonous. Some employees poison the morale for the whole team, and
it is just better for them to move on.
I wouldn't say that.

Nobody is intentionally useless.
Sometimes the cog that squeaks the loudest is the safety valve that is indicative of problems that the others are keeping mum about because we live in a society where complaints are considered poison. We all want good reviews and there is nothing managment types love more than docile yes men so we keep on smiling and bite the bullet and management don't get to hear of the 99 percent of issues that employees can succesfully sweep under the carpet. In times past kings used to keep mavericks and court jesters to tell them the truths that the comon people were too afraid to speak. Today we fire those people because we don't want to hear those truths.
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  #48  
Old 08.05.2011, 16:59
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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So you are in management with people skills to get to this position yet come to an online forum seeking advice on what to do?
That is a completely unfair statement.

A manager get usually promoted because of her/his skills at whatever task the department is performing, and no training is provided (and no training can provide that insight).

And, yes - none is intentionally useless. I am sure he honestly believe to provide a fair share; now the trick is to show him what is missing.
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  #49  
Old 08.05.2011, 17:57
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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Nobody is intentionally useless.
Maybe, but Bloody Hell, some sure do look like they are trying hard...
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Old 08.05.2011, 18:42
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

This thread reminds me of a time my manager came to me about my apparent lack of productivity.

The thing is, she was looking at a record of the sales that day and the licensed optician on staff had the vast majority of the sales. So, looking at that record, it sure looked like I hadn't done a thing.

Meanwhile, it had been a busy day that day and I had been working my butt off too, while he was selling (and making some bonuses) I was adjusting and repairing eyeglasses. While he was selling I was doing troubleshooting for folks who came back with glasses with which they were having some troubles. Sometimes this was a quick and easy fix, sometimes they did actually have to select something new as the frame fit was bad or something else was "wrong" in some way.

So, while he (who was making more money than I to begin with) was making bonuses by selling eyeglasses, I was spending my time performing the after-the-sale duties... which got me nothing that showed on the report at which she'd been looking. The other thing about that event was that we each were doing the part we did best, even though our job descriptions at the time would have pointed out that we each were doing what the other one "should have" been doing.


Along with everyone else, I'd say to sit down with him and find out what he's doing, particularly as he says he's very busy and for one reason or another it isn't visible.

In my case, there was a different report I knew where to find and print which showed how busy I really was. Maybe your guy doesn't have such easy proof of how he spends his time so that conversation could be invaluable to you both.
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  #51  
Old 08.05.2011, 19:17
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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... it is important to create an atmosphere of confidence and openness so that even stupid problems can be addressed openly without fear of repurcussions.
Absolutely. Instilling fear is the fastest way to lose leadership and trust ever. It just embitters people. I think this style of people 'management' went out of fashion a few decades ago. The minions are savvy to this now.

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The advice of making his life so miserable that he resigns, is a nasty manipulative way to work - and also leaves you vulnerable to law suits.

Be objective and help enable him to also be objective with strengths and weaknesses. Also, do listen to him - he may have constructive ideas that you can incorporate. Together, negotiate a plan that will help him to meet the negotiated goals, including a review date.

... Be a good listener, which will then put you in a better position to manage and resolve the situation, hopefly without the need to sack anyone. Good luck.
I agree, fully.

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In times past kings used to keep mavericks and court jesters to tell them the truths that the common people were too afraid to speak. Today we fire those people because we don't want to hear those truths.
Unfortunately I have been witness to this on several occasions over the last couple of months. All the good staff with the know-how (and external, because the big bosses want to keep internal head count down ) pick up and leave. The rest of us are left to compensate / take the blame for their lack of management skills.
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  #52  
Old 08.05.2011, 19:56
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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A manager get usually promoted because of her/his skills at whatever task the department is performing, and no training is provided (and no training can provide that insight).
That happens a lot, huh.

I would be interested to see what would happen if the TEAM got to choose who was promoted... I strongly believe true leaders are best chosen by those who should follow them.
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Old 08.05.2011, 20:05
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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That happens a lot, huh.

I would be interested to see what would happen if the TEAM got to choose who was promoted... I strongly believe true leaders are best chosen by those who should follow them.
Can't say I agree with you there (although I have an MBA )...

Leaders sometimes have to make unpopular decisions and business is not an democracy - if you "voted" for someone to lead you, you might actually think you were "owed" by the manager. Added to which, why should the "workers" know who a good leader is? That said, I have been "interviewed" by people who I was to manage and I have been involved in interviewing my future boss (on several occasions).

However, on the flip side, I also don't think that just because you are good at your job means that you should be promoted to manage others. Good companies have ways of promoting people based on experience, but they keep doing the same kind of job (if they want to) as opposed to going up the management ladder.

It takes a particular skill to lead well (anyone can lead badly) - and it is by no means mutually exclusive to having been good at the job that the people you are leading are doing.

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So you are in management with people skills to get to this position yet come to an online forum seeking advice on what to do?
I don't think your implied criticism is particularly fair. The OP came asking for specific insights on how to manage a CH employee that she thinks may be acting in a "stereotypical" way. Whether or not that person is, I for one remain amazed at the way the Swiss conduct themselves in business - completely different to what I have experienced elsewhere.

With this in mind, what's wrong with asking others for their views - in particular in an anonymous way - who may have a similar experience?

These are often sensitive topics around the work place, and I for one would prefer if a manager of mine sought a number of different options before badly managing me. I'm not suggesting that the OP will find his/her answer here, but at least s/he tried.

If you know it all, which your post also implies, what's your suggestion?
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Last edited by Carlos R; 08.05.2011 at 20:23.
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Old 08.05.2011, 20:40
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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I would thank my boss to do something similar .

IMHO Too many managers think they know it all, just coz they have an MBA or something.

Puddy
Yes probably a bit harsh on my part, I just feel there are better people to source advice from on this kind of topic. People from within the firm or known external colleagues / mentors who also work in management. If the OP has run out of these kinds of options then fair enough.
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Old 09.05.2011, 09:13
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

Hi yes I have set him clear objectives and will go through it all again today...thanks for the advice regarding the Monday morning!

I will try to limit his work to a few key areas and then monitor that very carefully and try to give him some guidance...if that doesn't work then progress to next steps with the help of HR!
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  #56  
Old 09.05.2011, 09:24
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Re: how to handle a stubborn swiss employee

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Can't say I agree with you there (although I have an MBA )...

Leaders sometimes have to make unpopular decisions and business is not an democracy - if you "voted" for someone to lead you, you might actually think you were "owed" by the manager. Added to which, why should the "workers" know who a good leader is? That said, I have been "interviewed" by people who I was to manage and I have been involved in interviewing my future boss (on several occasions).

However, on the flip side, I also don't think that just because you are good at your job means that you should be promoted to manage others. Good companies have ways of promoting people based on experience, but they keep doing the same kind of job (if they want to) as opposed to going up the management ladder.

It takes a particular skill to lead well (anyone can lead badly) - and it is by no means mutually exclusive to having been good at the job that the people you are leading are doing.
Sorry Carlos R! Certainly didn't intend to imply that all those who have an MBA are unworthy of being managers .

It's funny. The political system in CH is very 'grass roots' oriented. Decisions are made and preferences are selected by the people at Gemeinde (community) level and communicated upwards. The govt offices then have a responsibility to respond. I realise the comparison of business and community may seem like comparing apples and oranges, in a way. But in business it's the same, just around the other way. The business pays the people's salaries, and it's the people's responsibility to deliver. In both cases, however, they are interdependent on eachother. Without govt services, we wouldn't have infrustructure etc planned and organized. In business, without the employees, these compnies would never be able to make the m/billions of $/CHF in the first place.

Is the team qualified to select a good manager? Maybe not from a purely management theory perspective, but you're going to have trouble getting your team to trust and follow an @$$L0773 of a manager. If this happens, I'd guess that staff turnover would increase and result in major loss of money and know-how. It's happening right under my nose at the moment

I definitely agree that someone with good specialist knowledge doesn't necessarily have what it takes to manage a team.

Puddy
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