First of all, let me say that I am accountable for my DR's. My problem is that I manage the most experienced team in the office (20 years or more each), I'm younger than them with good experience. My problem is that they were never interviewed, but brought over from another company by a high level corporate Manager-who meant well.

The DR's are having a very difficult time adjusting to the 'urgent' style of this company. Their audit results are very bad. As a result. I've been given a verbal warning. How can I motivate this DR's? It's extremely frustrating.

bffranklin's picture
Training Badge

You being younger than your directs isn't a problem, it's a challenge! Anyway, "difficulty adjusting" is your opinion on the situation. Have you listened to the podcasts on feedback? What behaviors are your DRs engaging in that makes their audit results very bad?

Are you doing one-on-ones with your DRs?

US41's picture

First piece of advice, TELL NO ONE YOU WERE GIVEN A WARNING!!! It will diminish your reputation around the office and do damage to your team members' reputations. Suffer in silence alone with the noble dignity of a manager and keep it private.

This is going to sound harsh, but my intent is to drive you to think of a way forward...

If your folks stink, and you are their manager, you are accountable. It is your responsibility to design their jobs, divide up and assign work, set objectives, measure performance, etc. It's your job to fire their butts if they are incorrigible.

So, lots of really hard questions come to mind:

1. What are your objectives you have given your people?
2. Do their objectives drive them to deliver improved performance by a particular date?
3. How are you measuring performance?
4. How is it that the audit discovered something you did not know already? what did they use to determine performance during an audit, and can you drive your folks to perform in that way to pass the audit? (I personally hate that idea, but it will buy you room to develop as a manager if you can get yourself off the radar)
5. What are you doing every day with every person on your team to ensure they know exactly what they need to do to perform?
6. Are you coaching your people to improve themselves professionally so that if you botch things up and the department is disbanded all walk away better than they were before?

The answers lie in the recommended reading on this site. May I suggest
Peter Drucker's Practice of Management given your situation being urgent and this book being the definitive work on how to establish goals, drive to them, and what exactly to measure and fix.

This site's podcasts:
Listen to every one of them, starting with the first one "The solution to a stalled technical career." No matter if the title sounds interesting - the podcast will perhaps alter your perspective.

After you hear it, you might begin to wonder if your directs are not suffering not so much due to performance, but because your relationships are weak, so you are chum for the audit sharks. Shore up your relationships, and by this time next year, you might be able to politely smirk as the auditors come through and try to break through your teflon exterior.

Then move on to these on feedback:

Yep - you'll be listening for almost a full work day. Trust me, it will be worth it. Start practicing by giving only positive feedback to your folks. While you are doing that, read the book by Drucker, and learn to set goals and host One on One Meetings (aka O3's, aka 1x1's). That will get you going in the right direction.

All about O3's:

How to set goals for your team:

At least you will have goals to drive to, feedback to do the driving, and O3 meetings to review progress and encourage people to keep going. Then, as the nose of the plane starts to pull up, start reporting to management your success in doing this using the presentation skills shared here.

There is no way you can succeed if you do everything right and no one knows it. When measurements show progress, put together a very, very brief presentation with some graphs and charts (maybe 3 or 4 slides), and schedule 15 mins with your boss to present your improvements and ask for guidance. Your world will turn around that day. That will be your moment of truth, my friend.

I also would like to prescribe for you the following antidote to your team resigning on you en masse and humiliating you when you are down:

OK, so maybe it's too late and your destiny is already written in the stars for this job. You can still go out with style and lay the groundwork for an excellent reference despite your temporary setback in case you are laid off:

Get the famous interviewing series available here. They are a set of podcasts that will take you to the next level in interviewing them. People listen to them, and they land jobs when they get interviews. They have a price attached. After you listen to the stuff above in your car on a CDR you burned or on your ipod/mp3 player on the way to work, you will be sold. I promise.

For goodness sakes, back up and take home your outlook contacts NOW so you can call friends and recruiters you know to network your way into your next job. Prepare to lose your phone and laptop tomorrow morning and be ready to not have one extra minute of access and be fired at a second's notice.

I know you want a solution now that is three lines long. There is no such thing for your situation. You're in it deep. It took time to get there, and it will be hard work digging out.

I was in it deep. I dug out. I turned it all around using these techniques from the bottom to the top.

If I did not believe you could do this, I would not have spent the last 30 minutes pasting all of these crazy links into this post and finding them for you to organize it into an emergency "I'm in trouble" kit using Mark and Mike's brilliant podcasts.

Don't despair, it will take time, and even if you go out, go out in a blaze of glory, and the next management job will be so much easier than this one.

All you have to do is step in my footprints...

stewartlogan's picture

US41, that was impressive!

Somehow you managed to distill 3 years of Manager Tools into one excellent post. Kudos!

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Okay, that took a while to read, but it should probably go into an FAQ for "Managers in Trouble."

Nice work US41.

BBundy's picture

Excellent post US41. This will be very useful to all managers, not just ones in some trouble, but also to managers who need some helpful reminders and fine tuning.

If I may speak on behave of myself and many others "Thank you US41"