Sign & Digital Graphics

July '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • July 2016 • 77 Likewise, I've had requests from business owner clients to allow them to covertly sneak into the back of a train- ing room during a session to "get an idea of how the training was going, but not inuence or disrupt the learning pro- cess." And, I've been mildly reprimanded for "blowing their cover" by announc- ing the arrival of and welcoming to the group anyone who enters the room mid- session. Is the information that could be gained by covertly monitoring the staff worth more than the fallout of mutual distrust that would surely follow? I can't see how. The Bait and Trap Technique The third—and most dangerous, in my opinion—managerial malpractice I've observed more than once recently involves a business owner calling in a trusted worker to "bounce an idea off of them." The employee is invited into the boss's ofce or taken to lunch, and asked "I've been thinking of trying out something and would love your insight." Except, little does the employee know that the decision to adopt the idea and put it into practice has already been made, and no further input is really welcomed. In fact, the only reason the owner is schmoozing this particular employee is to gauge how "on board" the unsuspect- ing person is and help him sell it to the rest of the shop. Innocently, the victim in this ruse offers what he likes about the idea along with some well thought-out and detailed ways to accomplish the same thing a totally different way—which takes the boss's great idea and transforms it into that worker's brainchild, not his. Sadly, the last thing this owner wanted was to have to give the credit to someone else. Again, I ask myself why a capable and gifted entrepreneur would stoop to such a conniving, deceptive way to garner support for one of his ideas. One answer I arrived at was that this approach is a controlling and dictatorial leadership style disguised as "the soft sell." Tried once is sure to render disillusionment and a feeling of being "set up" for the worker. Tried again—or with someone else who has been forewarned by a previ- ous victim—it could cause a permanent break in communications between the workforce and management. In other words, there would be no reason for any employee ever to offer a suggestion or new approach ever again, because "unless it's the boss's idea, it's not a good one." Lessons Learned Business ownership and management are hard—I'll give you that. And, part of what makes it so hard is the amount of self-awareness required to do it right coupled with the fact that, typically, employees won't confront an owner about his/her bad habits. If you are a frequent reader of this column, you've certainly heard the wise adage "People buy from people who they like, trust and with whom it is convenient to do business." The same goes for running an enterprise. People will work for people who they like—and are liked by—trust (and who feel as though they are trusted in return), and with whom it is pleasur- able and rewarding to work. So, if you are guilty of any of the above sins, rst admit your shortcomings and resolve to make a change today—before you lose some good people. You'll surely see an immediate improvement in your rela- tionships, productivity, esprit-de-corps and protability. Good luck! SDG You've certainly heard the wise adage "People buy from people who they like, trust and with whom it is convenient to do business." e same goes for running an enterprise.

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