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Hello internet-land,

How are your twitters, instagrams and chat snaps?  I hope they are well.

Today I wanted to talk about two different managers, Gunderson and Kassandra.  Gunderson and Kassandra have very different views on how to manage their staff.  The main difference between the two managers is that one is kicking ass at their job, moving on up, and the other is a so-so manager.  Let’s look at Gunderson’s and Kassandra’s management styles and you tell me who is the high performer and who is Mr. or Mss. So-So.

Gunderson

Gunderson believes that in the world of people there are high performers and low performers.  Gunderson’s responsibility is to make sure his team is stock piled with high performers and to weed out the inherently low performers.  Gunderson places almost all of his efforts during the recruiting process, making sure he asks the right questions to properly pluck out the high-performers for hire.

Upon hire, Gunderson waits to see how each of his new staff perform.  It becomes apparent in the first 90 days who is motivated, achieving goals and high-performing.  Unfortunately for Gunderson he knows these are hard to come by so he does his best to retain his high performers and interview to replace the low performers.  When issues crop up, or department goals aren’t achieved, Gunderson point right to a specific staff.  “This staff doesn’t care enough”, “that staff can’t communicate with clients”, “this staff is irritable and hard to work with”, “that staff isn’t work hard enough” are common statements by Gunderson.  When big issues surface, firing or reprimanding are provided by Gunderson to his staff (guilty until proven innocent).

Kassandra

Kassandra believes that staff and their performance are 100% a function of their environment.  Kassandra believes that all staff inherently have the ability to be high performers.  Her main responsibility is to listen to each of her staff to determine what their motivators are and what type of personality they have.  By learning these things, Kassandra can better create the environment to which her staff will flourish.  Kassandra always gives her staff the benefit of the doubt, even when the issues are large and very important.

Kassandra believes that when an issue occurs or a staff is underperforming, it is always 100% Kassandra’s fault.  If a staff is unmotivated she believes that she must have not given a reason for the staff to be motivated (or doesn’t know what motivates the staff).  If a staff underperforms she believes that she hasn’t given the staff the proper incentives to make them perform.  If a staff isn’t achieving department goals, it’s because Kassandra hasn’t given the staff enough direction.

Thoughts

Through my career I’ve seen many Gundersons and very few Kassandras.  Of the Kassandras I have seen, 100% of them were high performing managers, who managed high performing teams.  Let’s be clear- it is much more work and it takes much more guts to be a Kassandra then a Gunderson.  It’s very easy, even intuitive, to point fingers; it is difficult to take blame and analyze the personality types of your staff to fix the issues.  My recommendation is to take the harder road.  Your staff will look up to and respect you.  You will have more high performers on your team and your staff’s development will be awesome to watch.  In summary, when in doubt- be like Akon- just blame it on me.

Eric