Have you caught yourself or other managers whining about staff, “They should have gotten that done but they just goofed off.”  Or “I expected them do that without direction but when I checked, they got it all wrong.  And look at what we pay them.”  Or “I have to do everything myself; no one trained them and I can’t trust them.” Stop whining and start managing; the buck stops at your desk.

To read the rest of this article from the Denver Business Journal, see: Managers – Evaluate Honestly and Consistently or Fail


Whether you have inexperienced or experienced people, train and manage them so you’re thrilled with their work.  There are no excuses – it’s your job.  Learn to do it well or do something else.

The key to management is honest, consistent evaluation – and all the steps that go into effective and appropriate course correction.  If you don’t track consistently, you’ll spend much more time picking up the pieces.  Sporadic or dishonest tracking reinforces poor performance, fear, hostility, anger and lawsuits.

Some of the keys to successful managing are (see the original article for details):

  1. Know each person.  Estimate how long you think each task will take.  Integrate, prioritize and agree on professional and personal goals, and standards of behavior and communication.
  2. Clarify what the final product or service will look like.  Determine milestones and timelines, final goals and deadlines.  Don’t wait until the last minute.
  3. Specify responsibility, authority, support (resources, personnel) and constraints.  Clarify what they can do their way and what must be done your way or the company way.  Clarify accountability.  Clarify rewards and consequences.
  4. Determine what to do if there’s a question, problem or new information to be taken into account.
  5. Now manage – oversee the project. Give accurate, honest feedback.  Keep records.
  6. Remove poor performers, trouble-makers, bullies and people with low attitudes.

You can’t manage if you’re afraid, lazy, a control freak or too busy.  What you don’t evaluate, won’t matter – you’re telling them that it’s OK if they blow it off or do it poorly.

Stand up for the standards – set the tone and do the work.  Of course it’s hard - if it was easy, anyone could do it.

Often, individuals need coaching and organizations need consulting to help them design and implement a plan that fits the situation.  To get the help you need, call Ben at 1-877-828-5543.

As reported by Reid Epstein in Newsday, New York teenager, Denise Finkel has sued Facebook for $3 million because, she claims, it carried a fictitious Facebook chat group to bully, ostracize, ridicule, abuse and disgrace her.  The lawsuit states that former high school classmates, Michael Dauber, Jeffrey Schwartz, Leah Herz, and Melinda Danowitz created the chat room in which they falsely claimed that she had “inappropriate conduct with animals,” and had AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. I want to focus on two related areas that I think are more important in the long run.

Of course there will be a lot of furor over whether any or all of the accused four did it and whether Facebook is liable for content that’s not obviously pornographic.  Did Finkel complain to Facebook and did Facebook turn a deaf ear to Finkel’s complaints?  And are the four people guilty as accused?

The first area that I think is more important in the long run is the ongoing effort to make new laws in response to new crimes, especially using new technology.  The natural way that we make new laws begins when some people commit acts not specifically covered under the old laws that have terrible consequences.  We respond by specifically labeling those new actions as crimes, and attach what we feel are appropriate criminal penalties.  Then we see, by trial-and-error, where to draw better lines.  The legal system is inevitably slow, inefficient and never perfect.

Given the increasing number of lives ruined by cyber bullying, emotional harassment and abuse, especially in schools, and the number of suicides stimulated by cyber bullying, I think that our society will make laws specifically stating that false and malicious statements and postings, in addition to pornography, are illegal.  I don’t think we’ll hold carriers like Facebook, MySpace, etc. liable for their postings.  But I think we’ll hold them liable for ignoring complaints about specific chat groups and postings that they continue to carry.

Many states and school districts, including Kansas, Oregon and California are considering such laws to protect children and teenagers from cyber bullying.

One stumbling block in making such laws is where to draw the lines and the hidden assumption that cyberbullying laws can and should be made “just right” for all situations – never too lax, never too harsh.  But the letter of the laws can never cover all situations with “just right” justice.  We always depend on human wisdom in the law’s application to specific situations.  That’s just the way it is – for better or for worse.

And I think that in this area, safety should triumph over cyber freedom.

The second area that I think is more important in the long run is parenting for the specific situations involving our kids and teenagers.  Our job is to monitor our children:

  1. Do they look like they’re having a hard time (maybe being attacked by cyberbullies)?  How can we help them stop bullying on their own or do we need to intervene?
  2. Are they witnessing cyber bullying and are they struggling to know whether or how to intervene?
  3. Are they cyber bullies?  How do we stop them and help them develop the character to make amends and do better next time?
  4. Should they even be on MySpace or Facebook or any social networking sites?  What else would be a better use of their time and energy?

And of course there are no easy answers.  No one is really dumb enough to think there are easy solutions.

There are no safe environments.  Schools and the real world have never been safe.  Schools and social networks are testing grounds for the real world.  And the real world is not and should not be safe.  Facing risks and danger helps us develop good sense, good character and the qualities necessary to survive.  Imagine growing up on a farm, in a wilderness village or in the middle ages.  Not safe.  I grew up in New York City.  Not safe.  Millennia ago we had to learn what a saber-toothed tiger’s foot prints looked like and how long ago they were left.  The world still requires survival skills, even if different ones.

Our job as parents is to teach our children the skills and grit to survive in whichever jungle or battleground they live, and to protect them when they’re over-matched.

For practical, real-world tactics designed to stop school bullies and bullying, please see “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids.”  Individualized coaching can design action plans to fit your specific situation.  Also, the strong and clear voice of an outside speaker can empower principals, teachers and other students to stop bullying and abuse.