Managing people can be a difficult and multi headed beast. There is so much written on the topic, and sometimes it looks like good managers have a secret to success but the truth is that that there is no secret.

Everything important on this topic can be summed up in a few points and while there’s a lot of speculation about the business side of things, there really isn’t much in that area that affects staff as none of it relates directly to them.

That’s right! Profits, losses, margins, taxes, and assets – none of it matters to staff. The majority of staff members only care about anything in relation to how it affects them directly. There’s such a value to having staff who perform – it’s priceless. But it’s only priceless if they’re performing of their own free will! So how do you get staff to want to be effective and improve their performance?

Most employees (who have the option to leave) choose to stay with an employer because of the quality of their experience in the workplace. Their experience should be rewarding and balanced at the very least, but how do you make it that way? Here are some key points:


Not everyone is the same, so it’s not a “one reward fits all” scenario. It’s important to find out what your employees actually want. If you’re offering a fishing trip and some of your employees are vegetarians, it’s a no go. If you’re offering an iPad and everyone already has one, it’s not that great of a reward. Make sure you know WHAT will motivate WHOM in the workplace.

Setting Goals

It’s important to have a vision of what you want the company to be in one month, in one year, even in ten years. You can even break these goals down and figure out what needs to happen today in order to stay on track. Make sure you communicate this to all your staff, so everyone is on the same page. When everyone is working together on a common goal, that’s when the magic happens and when you can make great progress in your business.


Make sure you take advantage of any and all times to make your staff look, sound and feel good. Being made to feel good about oneself is not a common workplace experience nowadays so if you can do this, your staff and your company will be well ahead of the curve. Your recognition of their achievements will mean a lot and don’t be too harsh with criticisms as that’s not going to help anybody. Constructive criticism is the order of the day.

As a manager, staff members need to feel like they can approach you, both with problems and with ideas. Your HR department will take a lot of this heat (learn more here) but you need to walk the line between being approachable and enforcing company policies, while remaining professional. If you give them room to be creative, you never know what they’ll come up with. Remember, it’s the job of a leader to create more leaders, not make himself or herself look better. Make them look good, and that will make you look good.