I think the common mistake I see all over the country is managers and supervisors not taking actions they knew were right quickly enough. They wait and hope changes occur. They hope someone changes their attitude, hope someone comes to work more timely, hope they become a better team player. They hope, and hope and hope. And they need to remember that hope is not a plan. Change can only occur when both sides know and clearly understand what the expectations of management are and are also very clear on the level of accountability they will be held to if they don’t hit the expectation.

Now I don’t want to sound too crass because before you can ask someone to be accountable you have to give them the skills to be accountable. This is where I see managers and supervisors fall down on the job. They use the “Plan” of hope, osmosis and it’s just common sense to develop and excite good workers. The Plan they should be using is the one that knows the weaknesses and strengths of each employee and works to improve and enhance both. This ability, of course, is driven primarily by good communication and leadership skills. The ability to: listen, coach, plan for success, encourage, nurture, confront positively, and re-direct all fit into communication and leadership.


Listening is first because nothing builds trust like listening. The one thing that is irreplaceable that we can give is our time. When you give it to a co-worker then they understand the value of the gift.

Coaching skills include illustrative stories, the language of high expectations, and clear plans. If you want good people to stay then they need to see what the future holds for them and why staying with your business/department is good for them as well as the organization.

Nurturing and encouraging comes through regularly planned and spontaneous contact with all staff members. You need to speak honestly, and openly with staff as possible, don’t break promises. If they make a request of you they need to see you as their advocate no matter which way the request goes. Staffs members need to feel connected to you and your organization and they need to see you as in their corner and the conduit to their successes.

Finally, the ability to confront positively and re-direct successfully is an art unto itself. The right time is anytime you see issues that need to change course, with a positive word, a reminder of past successes or a willingness to pitch in physically or organizationally and help them achieve success builds trust. Performance evaluations are a great time for more formal re-directing. . If you have been working the other points listed above then performance evals go much more easily. If you have been a good communicator and leader then this is a time for honest evaluation on both hard and soft skills. It gives the opportunity to find ways to improve old behaviors and skills levels as well as learn new skills that will prove valuable to the sustained success of the employee.

Employees that feel connected and have a supervisor that is there advocate it substantially more likely to stay and succeed than one who feels disconnected and unsure of the future.