Frank Spear
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How to Deal with IMPOSSIBLE Employees

December 29, 2017

There are many different types of people that you will work with throughout your career.

Some of the people that you encounter will be friendly, helpful, and willing to trust and follow your leadership abilities. On the other hand, there are some employees that are going to give you trouble. It could be in the way that they work, their attitude, or even their behavior. In order to prepare for a management role, you need to understand how to deal with these seemingly “impossible” employees.

Due to the almost unlimited number of personality types, there are thousands of ways to interact with people that can help you make the most of these encounters. Understanding a little bit of psychology can help make this process even smoother. However, you don’t have to be a psychology expert in order to see real results in your interactions.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to spot these trouble employees before a confrontation occurs. Once you have them in your sights, you can start going through different processes to try and achieve the desired results and get them to peacefully work alongside you and everyone else in the business.

Spotting an Impossible Employee

We have all had that encounter with an employee that made even the simplest of requests awkward. When this happens, it can be troublesome, particularly if there are other employees are around to see the situation unfold. In order to avoid these confrontations, you need to start by being able to identify employees who are going to give you trouble early on.

The first sign that an employee is going to give you trouble is if they seem to be generally unhappy all the time. You don’t have to partake in a conversation to see it; you just need to pay attention to their facial features and mannerisms. People who don’t want to be there are extraordinarily obvious. Remember, everyone has an off day. The key is to notice a trend – simply put, if they are unhappy day after day, there is a chance that they are going to be an impossible employee.

Second, you are going to want to listen to them talk to others and note how they interact with you during casual encounters. If you hear an employee ask someone how their day is going and they roll their eyes and give a scathing response, they are probably going to be troublemakers.

The last way you can tell if an employee is going to be easy to talk to or impossible is in their behavior. Everyone has had that employee that comes back late from break every single day. These are the same ones who look bitter every day that they are there. You can also search for subtle signs of aggression and irritation in their body language.

De-escalating Impossible Employees

Despite these employees seeming like they are impossible, don’t worry: they CAN be properly trained and dealt with accordingly!

The most important thing to keep in mind is you need to be professional and respectful. If they stare at you bitterly, smile at them and continue the conversation. In some cases, that’s all it takes. Some people find it impossible to resist someone who is smiling and happy during a conversation and that, in turn, makes them smile and ease up.

Acting as a respectable leader is essential in making sure that trouble employees loosen up and start seeing you as a leader instead of an oppressive manager. You should remember the critical rules of communication:

  • Make sure you make eye contact
  • Use their name at least once when speaking with them
  • Smile often
  • Keep a strong posture

These small changes can turn a troubled employee’s attitude in the opposite direction.

You should also ensure that you give these employees time if they need you. Many of these types of employees have had bad past experiences at other jobs, or even with other managers in the same business. If you can win them to your side by being attentive when they need something you are giving them a reason to respect you and want to work hard for you. It could be something as simple as making sure that they get a requested day off if they ask you to specifically look into it. Small gestures go a long way towards de-escalating employees.

If it gets to the point where your employee starts to cross the line and you need to have a sit down with them, you should get it done as soon as the incident occurs. This “coaching” will help let them know what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, and most importantly, give them clear instructions on what you expect from them. You have to be both firm but flexible.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a theory that states that small actions can cause huge responses as a “ripple effect.” Typically The Butterfly Effect refers to something on a grand scale – usually globally. However, you can view this effect as a much smaller scale within the business where you work. If you are willing to stop a troubled employee in their tracks and start correcting the issue people will notice.

For example, if your other employees are being made uncomfortable by an impossible employee, being able to loosen them up may make them easier for your team to work with. This process will allow your team to work together fluently and achieve more overall.

The same can be said for other managers. If you can get the troubled employee to stop being impossible, you will make the lives of other managers exponentially easier. This will allow them to have smoother shifts and, by default, make everyone happier. Plus, let’s not forget the benefit of allowing your company to get more work done quickly, you can reduce turnover rate, and keep employee morale boosted.

It can be a daunting task to imagine interacting with some of these employees face to face. You have to remain strong and remember that the purpose of this is for the better of the company and the overall success of everyone involved from employee to CEO.

You were hired as a manager due to your skills. The longer you work with people, the more natural tough conversations will become. Before long, you will be able to turn any impossible employee to an invaluable asset for the company!

Do YOU have any extra tips for dealing with “impossible” employees? Share this post on Facebook and let us know — we’d love to hear your suggestions!

  • Culture

How to Be an Inspirational Leader at ANY Business

November 27, 2017

We’ve heard it all of our lives: “you can be a leader or a follower.”

That saying is true regardless of what aspect of our lives we are examining. However, it is particularly true when we are talking about careers. Every single job you have ever worked at has had a leader (or perhaps you yourself were the leader). As someone in that role, or striving to get to that role, you need to understand how to be an inspirational leader at ANY business.

Once you understand the following techniques, you will be able to implement them in virtually any field. This will allow you to sharpen your leadership skills and make you more than just a manager, but someone who admired and respected by fellow managers and employees alike.

You should always strive to inspire the people around you in whatever ways you can — both on and off the clock.

Practice makes perfect, so don’t expect to show up at the office tomorrow as the most respectable and inspirational person in the business. Filling the shoes of an inspirational leader means being patient and willing to grow and learn with the business. As you become more comfortable in your role as an inspirational figure it will become second nature and you will find yourself taking on new roles and being the leader that you have always hoped you would become.

The Importance of Inspiration

Think about the last job that you had where you were a low-level worker. Did you enjoy your position there? Why or why not? If not, there is a good chance that the manager was not acting as a true leader and inspiring you.

You have to dig deep and learn how to inspire if you want to be taken seriously and become a successful, productive, leader. Let’s take a look at the definition of word inspiration. Google defines it this way:

Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

In order to be an inspiration to others, you have to be able to mentally stimulate them through your words, actions, and behavior. While this might sound like a daunting task at first, you will soon discover that the following methods can be applied to almost any job.

When you are able to use your leadership abilities to inspire others, you are going to see an increase in employee morale and productivity, lower turnover rates, and overall smoother operations. All of these factors are paramount to a successful business.

Methods of Inspiring

A simple tip that you can start using immediately consists of telling your employees that you appreciate them. It sounds like something obvious, but it is shocking how many employers walk by their employees every single day and don’t give them a simple “Thank you for working hard.” This kind of language does two things:

First, it makes them feel valued, which boosts their morale. They will feel like they are doing well by you and the fact that you showed appreciation for them will make them WANT to work harder for you.

Second, acknowledging their hard work is going to push them to work harder because you subtlety set the bar for them. They know what you expect and will happily strive to improve and exceed the bar that you’ve set.

One of the best ways to be an inspirational leader is to “get your hands dirty,” so to speak. If you are willing to work just as hard as your employees, this will push them to do better. We have all had managers who sat around and watched us work even in the most trying times. When the going gets tough, you have to be willing to pull your sleeves up and dive in with them.

You will not only be an inspiration, but you will also gain the respect of the people working underneath you. It is a cycle, inspiration lends to respect, and respect helps inspire employees that want to be there and WANT to work with you. Be the employee that you want THEM to be at all times. 

Trust is without a doubt one of the core building blocks of every single relationship in our lives. As you can imagine, it is equally essential for manager-employee relationships. If the trust is broken, on either side of the aisle, the foundation crumbles sometimes in a matter of days.

However, if you build a strong trust bond with your employees, they will be inspired by you and strive to want to give you that same level of trust and respect that you have given to them. It is not difficult to build trust with employees: all you have to do is keep your word.

When an employee asks for a day off, and you promise them they can have it, make sure they get it. If an employee has an issue and needs to talk to you, set a meeting and be ready for them when the time comes. Little gestures like these will build trust, and the end result will be inspired and productive employees. If you work for them on a management level, they will happily work for you as an employee.

Why Do These Methods Work Virtually Everywhere?

You may be asking yourself why these methods work well regardless of your career of choice.

The simple answer is it plays on human nature rather than specific occupations. People want to feel valued whether they are an accountant, janitor, cook, or working in sales. This sense of value breeds respect and inspiration for those who appreciate them.

Respect and trust are also factors that are human in nature (as opposed to career specific). You have to be able to use a touch of psychology while remaining sincere. People are inspired by those who hold true to their word and respect others. Think of yourself and the people that you look up to in your life — what did they do to earn your admiration?


Being an inspirational leader is something that many managers strive for regardless of what field they work in. It is not a short process, depending on the people you are working with regularly. Some people are quick to look to others for inspiration, while others take time and need many reasons to give you that much-desired respect.

Throughout your journey try to remember that all people are different. Their motives and struggles might not be evident at first glance, but they may still be there and holding them back. You have to be willing to go that extra mile and prove yourself to these people to achieve the desired results, but it is entirely possible. Make sure you work hard, are always respectful, and never forget to smile and make eye contact when speaking to others!

What kind of traits do YOU find inspirational in the people that are in your lives? Share the post on Facebook and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

  • Career

How to Lead Through Other Managers

November 13, 2017

Being the manager of a company can be a daunting, yet rewarding task.

If you are the head manager at any business, the odds are you have other managers that work underneath you. Leading through these people can be a tool that makes your business more profitable and efficient. The simple truth is these people are more valuable than gold, especially if you want a positive business environment that thrives — even under pressure.

The lead manager in any business will tell you that the list of things that need to be done in a day is virtually endless. It is impossible to get everything done without the help of your management team.

In order to make your business run the way that you want and need it to, you have to learn to lead through other managers. This may sound challenging, but quite the contrary: with a little practice and preparation, you will have a staff of managers that can run your business your like clockwork, even if you are not around that day.

Build Your Team

Leading through other managers first requires you to have a team. If you have the option, you should build your management team from the ground up. There is no reason to fret: a couple of simple rules will ensure you put together a group of individuals that will help you lead your company further than you ever imagined.

The first thing you should do is find people that you “mesh” with naturally. We have all met people we’ve instantly clicked with. These are the kind of people you are going to want to bring on board. BE AWARE: there is a difference between meshing as friends, and meshing on a business level.

Typically, someone who works well as a manager understands and honors your expectations as it relates to day-to-day operations within the business. Preferably, this person is someone who is not close friends with or in a relationship with any of your current employees. This precaution will minimize the chance of conflict of interest.

The potential managers should be reliable, clean, and hard-working. In essence, you want someone who has values that reflect and compliment your own.

Managing Through Others

Once you have a management staff that you want to utilize, you need to communicate to them clear expectations. Let them know that there are things that you are going to be looking for on a daily basis. They should understand that anything less than your expectations will not do.

Next, you need to delegate. Assign managers to positions that emphasize their strong points. For example, if you have someone who worked for 10 years as an accountant, you are going to want them to do the end-of-day money deposit and paperwork since they have an unmeasurable amount of experience in such areas.

You should consider taking some time to go down and talk to your full-time employees and let them know that you are not going to be around as much, or that there will be someone new in charge of their particular area. You do not want to drop the surprise on them and make the situation awkward for everyone — not only is it bad for business relationships, but it can also throw a wrench in productivity.

Now that all of your management team knows what is expected of them, understand their job, and have been formally introduced to the employees at some point, it is time to move on to the next step. They need to shadow you.

The process of “shadowing” involves them following you and taking notes as you do what they will soon be doing. You should have your managers shadow you for no less than a week. This will give them time to ask questions, learn about problems that could arise, and, basically, learn how to do the job the right way.

It is easy for you to sit in a boardroom and tell them what you want, but seeing it first hand is going to be the best learning tool possible, and it will help them mirror your “voice.”

Your “voice” is important because it doesn’t just reflect you, it reflects the overall attitude of the business. If the person shadowing you notices that you are loose in the way you talk, but enforce rules when they are broken, they are likely to mimic that style when they are by themselves on the job.

Day One

Fast forward — but not too far! — to the day when they are going to be taking the floor for the first time.

Your managers should already know that they need to show up a little early “just in case.” Once they arrive, give them any final notes, tips, and advice that they are going to need and then let them go and manage!

You should check around more often than you usually would during the first week to make sure everything is going smoothly. The odds are, once they are managing by themselves, questions are going to come up and they are going to be unsure of what to do. Your quick visit will be the perfect chance for them to learn what you would do in that situation so they can handle is appropriately.

Finally, you should do bi-weekly, or even monthly, “power meetings.”

During these meetings you will give them feedback on how they have done based on stats and observation. You can give them a chance to ask any questions that they might have, and, of course, give them any area of opportunities that you may have noticed. If you follow these steps, before long, you will have a staff of managers that work underneath you that get things done — the RIGHT way!

Overall, building a management team can be a time-consuming process, but one well worth it.

Once you learn how to lead through these managers, you will be able to apply these skills to virtually any business model and managers you come into contact with during your professional career.

Do YOU have any tips on how to lead through the managers working underneath you? Please feel free to share your ideas and tips on Facebook!

  • Culture

How to Give Negative Feedback Like a Pro

October 13, 2017

As adults, we are all accustomed to receiving feedback in one way or another. It’s a part of everyday life.

If you go to college, you get feedback on your reports, for instance. And, as a child, your parents would give you feedback on what was right and wrong (“don’t touch the stove!!”).

The purpose of feedback from a manager’s perspective is to let an employee know how they are doing, and where they can improve. The ability to properly give this feedback is one of the most valuable tools in an excellent manager’s toolbelt.

The Importance of “Negative” feedback

It is easy to tell someone that they are doing an excellent job. If all you have to do is tell someone “Great job!” and go about your day, then what’s the point?  Make no mistake, telling someone what they are doing right can be a constructive tool, but nothing is quite as valuable as giving “negative” feedback.

When you tell someone where they can improve you’re doing not just a service to your business, but a service to them as well.

This system of improvement is twofold: If they can use your feedback to improve upon themselves, it will result in boosted confidence, better mood, and overall more productivity.  As you can imagine, all of those things will make them better workers and improve your business in terms of environment and production.

The Delivery Process

As a manager, you need to learn the process of delivering “negative” feedback to your employees. Like all things, as you practice relaying this information, you will become more fluent and confident in your actions.

You will first need to ask your employee to meet with you for a couple of minutes. You do not have to bring them to a secluded office or anything along those lines, but make sure that the conversation is heard just between the two of you, and an additional manager (if necessary) for documentation purposes.

Once you are sure that it is just the two of you, open the conversation by telling them something that they are doing right. An example would be: “Hey, Jeff! I just wanted to thank you for getting all that paperwork filed quickly. We appreciate you working so hard to make sure we meet our deadlines. Great job!” You always need to start off on a positive note and let them know what they are doing right.

The next step is to forget the phrase “negative feedback.” The connotation can bring negative feelings and can close the door of communication with your employees before the conversation ever really begins. Instead, use the phrase “area of opportunity.” When you word it in such a way, it lets them know that they are doing things right, but there is always room for improvement.

The amazing thing about improvement is that we are ALL constantly improving — yes, even managers! So let the employee know that you noticed an “area of opportunity.”

After you explain what they are doing right, you can continue by saying: “Also, Jeff: we noticed that you might have accidentally missed a file or two when you submitted that last batch over to us. I think a great area of opportunity for you would be to double-check your attachments next time so that you are sure that everything is there and good to go.”

Next, you need to follow up with them to make sure they understand. You can do this quickly by simply asking if they have any questions for you. If they look like they are unsure, you can gently probe them and ensure that they completely understand what you expect of them. You can even use this opportunity to uptrain them yourself so that if they have any questions they can ask you on the spot.

Finally, thank them for their time and let them know that you value them as a person, and as an employee. If you are willing to make it personal and let them know that you care it is going to encourage them to want to do better.

By the time your meeting is finished, they shouldn’t feel horrible and like they did something wrong. They should feel like they know what you expect, how they can improve as an employee, and like they have the tools they need to get the job done the way that you expect.

Important Tricks, Tips, and Notes

  • Mind your body language before, during, and after the encounter with the employee. Make sure you are postured, smiling, and making eye contact. If you are comfortable with them, they are more likely to be comfortable with you. This will free up the conversation path and allow for easier communication and a greater chance for success.
  • Document your encounter, if necessary. Some employers like to document these meetings so that there is a paper trail showing that the conversation occurred. This can be easily done by writing up a word document with the employee’s name, ID number, date of occurrence, positive feedback, and area of opportunity. Always make sure you sign and date the bottom and have your employee do the same.
  • Make your employee comfortable! One of the best ways to do this is by explaining that we are all constantly on a path of improvement. Let them know that improvement is paramount to success. If they know that you are doing this because you want to see them succeed, they are more likely to comply instead of feeling like they are being “punished.”
  • Follow up! This is one of the most important tips of all. After you provide your employee with their area of opportunity, pay attention to see if they are following through! If you notice that they are doing a great job and doing exactly what you suggested, let them know. Make a simple statement like: “I see you have improved since our last conversation. Great job! I appreciate you and everything that you do.” A couple of words of encouragement and kindness go a long way towards building happy, productive employees.

As you can see, it does not have to be complicated or intimidating to give your employees “negative” feedback! In fact, if you follow this method, your employees will likely gradually improve AND feel good about the fact that they are contributing to the company in a big way.

If YOU have any tips or tricks for giving your employees negative feedback please feel free to share the article on Facebook and let us know — we’d love to hear from you!