Are You Managing Your Staff Or Do They Have You on a Short Leash?

Are You Managing Your Staff or Are They Managing You?

Do you have trouble getting your staff to carry out procedures?

When you make requests of your staff does it feel like it falls on deaf ears?

Do you find yourself performing tasks your staff is responsible for because if you don’t do it, no one will?

You are not alone.

I frequently hear from clients that they are hopelessly frustrated and cannot figure out how to get people (their employees) to do what they want.

This is not ok.

Repeat after me:

It is NOT ok if the people you are paying to do a job are not doing their jobs.

You are the business owner.

You are the one paying their salary (and benefits).

You are the one assuming the risk of running the enterprise.

Being abused by your staff is not part of the bargain.

If your staff is ignoring your requests or defiantly thumbing their nose at your authority, something is wrong. The longer you put up with it, the worse it gets. It is akin to letting the inmates run the asylum (though lets hope your business doesn’t feel like an asylum!).

If you want to experience a blatant disregard for your requests and outright indifference, adopt a cat. (I may be a cat lover, but I am clear who is REALLY in charge in my house!)

How to Get Your Staff to Do What You Ask Them to Do

Let’s be clear –you can’t “make” anyone do anything. You can only lead, teach, guide, and provide an environment complete with consequences in which for others to either step up or step out.

Step up or step out might sound harsh. But is it really a harsher reality than having you and your business suffer (and potentially crash and burn)?

I even had one client tell me – you are so tough! Do you have a heart of stone? Absolutely not! I am someone who literally puts spiders onto a napkin and escorts them out of my home rather than squish them. I have the heart of a teddy bear. I also believe as business owners we have an obligation to serve. The only way you can serve fully is if your team supports you and everyone is pointed in the same direction and rowing.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It is NOT ok if the people you are paying to do a job are not doing their jobs.” quote=”It is NOT ok if the people you are paying to do a job are not doing their jobs.”]

Clients and audiences I speak to will give me an endless stream of reasons why they couldn’t possibly get rid of employees who aren’t performing:

  • My employee is a single mother/father with <insert a variety of life challenges> and they need the money.
  • It’s hard to find qualified staff.
  • It’ll be too hard to find a replacement.
  • I’m afraid my unemployment insurance will skyrocket.
  • I don’t want to be mean.
  • I want my employees to like me.
  • I hate conflict.
  • My customers really like this (troublesome) employee.

I contend that all these things might be true AND you still have a responsibility to your business, yourself, your customers, and your employees to step up and lead them.

Each situation is unique but there are some solid strategies for nipping this civil disobedience in the bud and taking back the reigns.

  • Communicate with employees:
    • Do you understand why they aren’t doing what you ask?   Maybe they want to but something is getting in the way.
    • Is there lack of understanding? Lack of buy-in?
    • Can you reframe why it is important and help them take ownership?
  • Aim to be respected; being liked is optional. That frees you up to have the difficult conversations and take necessary action.
  • Set boundaries and expectations: you teach others how to treat you based on what you allow and do not allow. How have you allowed this sort of behavior to be acceptable?
  • Have clear employment policies and procedures that are applied consistently to everyone. Document performance issues thoroughly.
  • Give employees the opportunity to understand what you need and change behavior. They deserve the opportunity and space to step up.
  • Be willing to let go of staff that is not stepping up. You are doing both of you a favor.

Many of the people I work with and present to do not have a business background. They may not have supervised staff prior to owning their own business. It can be challenging to make that shift from worker bee, technician, and practitioner to leader. You don’t have to do it all alone. Get a trusted guide to help you navigate these waters from both a practical standpoint as well as a legal one.

You Decide

Ultimately you decide what type of business you want to run and how you want to lead.   You get to choose how much crap you are willing to put up with.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. Stepping up as a leader requires confidence you aren’t sure you have and demands you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You may even need to cycle through several employees before you find the perfect fit for the position. Hire people with character that are willing to learn, change, and grow.

Take Back the Reigns

Need help taking back the reigns so you can lead your team rather than have them manage you? Contact me and let’s talk about your challenges and explore if working together is a fit. You deserve to have someone in your corner.



Scroll to Top