People Management

Whether you are a chef, personnel manager, non-profit organization director, etc. chances are you have people to manage. While you may be well versed in business management or quality control, you still need to rely on people to achieve the desired  results in your endeavors. To be successful, you will need a good relationship with your work force.

Definition of RELATIONSHIP

1: the state of being related or interrelated <studied the relationship between the variables>

2: the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship: as

a : kinship

b : a specific instance or type of kinship

3: a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings <had a good relationship with his family>

If you are passing through a town for the first time and you stop at a convenience store for a bag of chips, you will have to deal with a person. When dealing with people, there is always a desired result of the interaction. You intend to pay for your snack, get your change and leave. Upon exiting the establishment, if you are approached by a law official that asks what your relationship is with the store clerk, you reply would probably be, “All I did was buy some chips from her.” That is the extent of your relationship with the lady behind the counter but, by definition, it is a relationship.

If you help a blind man – a perfect stranger – across the street, that is also the extent of your relationship with him. What must be understood is that we all seek something in a relationship. At the store, you simply wanted to purchase your chips and get back on the road. When assisting the blind man, you just wanted to get him safely across the street because it was the right thing to do.

There are may examples of relationships. For demonstrative purposes, I will use the example of a restaurant manager. As the general manager, you would have many responsibilities and a staff to manage. You have a relationship with your crew and a specific relationship with each individual of that crew. In these relationships, you desire certain results. You want people who come to work on time, work hard and get along with everyone. These employees are an extension of you. A well-managed group will insure that mechanics of the restaurant run like a well oiled machine. In order for this to happen, respect must be reciprocal between your staff and yourself.

Gaining Respect

One gains respect by doing or saying something that he or she does not have to do. If the store clerk is genuinely courteous and even compliments your attire, she is doing something that is not necessarily required of her. The blind man may thank you for assisting him but if he says, “You are so kind! God bless you. I will never forget this,” chances are you will never forget it either. You have literally been blessed by both the store clerk and the blind man. You now have respect for them both.

It is essential that you praise your employees for a job well done. Everyone knows that there are restaurant managers who do not praise their personnel so when you bless them in such a way, you will be doing something that you do not have to do. This does not mean that you make your rounds every shift dealing out compliments, but make certain to acknowledge a job well done. It’s also a good practice to be specific. Saying, “Good job,” on occasion is fine, but addressing details tailors a compliment for the individual. For example, you may tell the cook that he garnished the entrées like a five-star chef. A praise is a blessing and it does wonders to lift one’s spirit.

Helping out with the dishes on a busy night will attribute to gaining respect from your crew. It’s something that you don’t have to do as the general manager. If you bus a couple of tables for the new waitress, you are also doing something that is not required of you. Might I add that you should do what is not expected of you. If you help out with dishes every Friday night, it will be expected of you.

Losing Respect

The easiest way to lose the respect of a member of your staff is to jump on his or her case in front of everyone. It will also make the other employees uncomfortable. In such an instance, it doesn’t even matter what the issue is. You are humiliating someone – plain and simple – and you are sure to lose their respect. By taking them aside and telling them what they did wrong, you will actually gain their respect because you are once again doing something that you do not have to do. Of course, there are times when it is not convenient to wait for the opportunity to have a private chat. In such situations, your delivery is the key to maintaining a good relationship.

There is a particular dish on the menu that is topped with nuts. During a frantic lunch rush, the cook presents the final product with the customary garnish. Unfortunately, the order calls for “No nuts.” You ask the cook to “Please, make it without nuts. The customer may be allergic.” In the mayhem, the tone of your voice may denote a sense of urgency but without the simple insertion of “please,” you may come off sounding like a jerk. Furthermore, you offered a quick explanation of why it was imperative that the dish be completed without nuts. Once again, you did something that you did not have to do. You are not required to give your employee a reason for your demand but you did.

Likewise, you are not required to ask him to do anything. You are well within your rights to make demands instead of suggestions. By asking people to do something, however, instead of ordering them you will gain their respect. Besides, it still works both ways. You can just as easily fire someone who doesn’t do what they are asked as well as you can terminate someone for not doing what they are told. So why not just say, “Please?”

Another way to lose the admiration of your employees is to lie to them.

Bob has an issue with tardiness. You finally take him aside and tell him that if he is late one more time, you will have no choice but to let him go. Sure enough, Bob comes to work again after his shift has already begun. You must terminate Bob! Rules are rules and you cannot be walked on. This is where the line is drawn. After all, these are relationships that we are dealing with here and you can lose respect by being too soft.

You must also have respect for others. If you have enough compassion, then is should come naturally. So if Bob gets down on his knees and begs for his job, you should do the right thing. If the rules are in direct conflict with your beliefs, if the rules go against compassion then you should break the rules simply because it is the right thing to do. In short, respect and compassion will help guide you in any relationship whatsoever.