3×3 Management : 9 key things every manager should do – Part 2

In my first post on 3×3 Management I gave my thoughts Leadership and the three key ideas of management styles, effective recruitment and personal values.

In this post I will look at people management and the three key ideas of treating people with respect but setting limits, recognising good performance and addressing poor performance, and giving your people room to grow and develop.


People Management Idea 1: Treat your people with respect but set clear limits

I believe that to be happy at work we need two things: to feel respected and to know what is expected of us.

Taking the second point first. How would you like to be criticised for doing something when you had never been told not to? No, I wouldn’t like it either.

The lesson for managers is to make sure that everybody know what is expected of them and where the limits are. This is especially important where employees have discretion on how they organise and deliver their work.

The challenge is get the balance right between setting limits and being perceived ans micro-managing. My advice: start with tightish limits and look to loosen them as you get to know your people.

Respect for me is simply treating people how you would want to be treated. How hard can that be to do? My experience is that it’s easier to say than to do and I know that it’s dead easy to be unintentionally disrespectful.

Think about this: we all want to work in a clean and tidy environment, and yet I have heard the people who actually do this work described as “just the cleaner“.

To me nobody is “just” anything, everybody has a contribution to make and that contribution should be respected.

People Management Idea 2: Recognise good performance and address inadequate performance

The first question is: “what do we mean by recognition?”. I think this is an “it depends” question.

From experience, a young apprentice on the minimum wage will be very focused on financial rewards while a an experienced manager is more likely to value being included in higher level decision making.

However, even in the case of the apprentice, cash is only ever a short term motivator. That does not mean that recognition cannot be financial. However my advice is to focus on the increase being recognition of good performance, not the value of the cash itself.

So, if cash isn’t a get motivator for most people, what is? The evidence is that people want to do meaningful work, and be acknowledged as doing a good job. Not rocket science is it?

What does this mean in practice? First I would come back to the “just a cleaner” example I used earlier. It is critical that as a manager you create and environment where everybody’s contribution s recognised and valued. Without this you have nothing.

It might seem strange but many people are motivated by being given increased levels of responsibility. This does not mean that you simply burden them with more work, work that they may not understand or be able to do, but that you involve them in new areas where you think they can contribute.

What ever you offer by way of recognition it is important to fit the recognition to the individual. Some people, like me, would welcome a role change while other would shy away from it. Be careful and make sure you know what your people value.

If recognising good performance is importance then, in my experience, addressing poor performance by a team member is doubly so.

Are you surprised by this? You shouldn’t be. It can be as simple as a team member routinely arriving 10 minutes late for work or more serious matter like missing deadlines.

If you as the manager do not address such issues other team members will start asking “why should I break my back at work if another team member get away with bad stuff?“.

This challenge is why you have to challenge, and be recognised by your team as challenging, unacceptable performance. To use an age old analogy, you must stop the rotten apple affecting the others.

The subject of how to effectively address poor performance is a topic for another time, but remember to address the behaviour, don’t attack the person.

Is it easy to do? No. Do you have to do it? Absolutely. Just remember: if you do not address poor performance then you, the team manager, are accepting it.

People Management Idea 3: Give your people room to grow and develop

Going back to Idea 2 – “Employ Great People”. Your great team member was not born great, but had to grow and develop into it.

The challenge is that the kind of person who has become great at one level will want to become great at their new level.

At this point some managers will express concern that if they train and develop such a person they will use their new knowledge and abilities to find a better job elsewhere.

I think this is severely flawed thinking, and on two grounds. The first is that an ambitious individual will be frustrated by the lack of development and is more likely to leave.

The second is that if you do not offer training and development you will end up with an untrained team. Is this what you want?

My advice is to consider it normal to plan for a certain level of turnover in your team. To make this work you must make succession planning an integral part of of you job.

With a good succession planning process in place you will know who is most likely to leave and who should be developed to take over from them.

Then, If you do this you are well placed not only to cope, but possibly to benefit from the situation.

Yes you have the loss of capability but the situation will generate two positives: the chance to promote one or more team members (very motivating) and the chance to bring in fresh blood with new ideas to back-fill the lowest level vacancy.

What’s not to like?


Did you find this post interesting? Would you like to say something about it? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or start a discussion.


Bob Windmill

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