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How to Manage Newly Hired, Inexperienced Employees For Fun and Profit

A managers job with new, inexperienced hires is to, as quickly as possible, get them on the road to being productive.

There are two things the manager must pay attention to and know how to work with — competence and motivation.

A Competency is a measurable set of behaviors that indicates how well a person does a specific task. It may be a behavioral skill, a technical skill, an attribute, such as Emotional Intelligence, or an attitude that is deduced from a person’s actions.

Motivation is about making a personal, internally driven decision do something because I want to do it. Sometimes the “wants to do it,” must overcome the “don’t want to do it.”

If I am motivated to climb a mountain, I do what it takes to develop my competencies to do so, then I go out and give it my best shot. I may not summit to the peak but, if I’ve done my best then I can say I was motivated. Motivation is not talk. It is action moving toward a goal.

“Winning isn’t everything, but doing everything you can to win, is everything.” is how Vince Lombardi defined motivation.

The manager works with competence and motivation, two different, yet interrelated elements to increase a person’s or teams’ performance.

Performance is measured by the employee’s achieving, or failing to achieve, specifically assigned tasks or goals. This is the “what” — what did this employee or team accomplish as defined by what a job well done looks like.

So, the manager, with a new, inexperienced employee needs to Show, Instruct, Inform, and Check by:

  • Giving brief, clear instructions (Normally in chunks of about 2-3 minutes, maximum).
  • Asking the person to summarize their understanding of what needs to get done and what they need to do next.
  • Breaking complicated tasks into small learning steps.
  • Demonstrating, when applicable.
  • Having the employee practice, then giving her or him feedback.
  • Asking people to repeat back their understanding of what they learned and what they are to do next.
  • Staying in close with check-in’s until the employee can do it on their own.
  • Giving helpful, ongoing feedback — inspirational, praising, corrective and motivational.
  • Providing some just-in-time with just-the-right-amount of encouragement to help the person over their stuck points.

The success of this Showing Style is in the ability and willingness of a manager to make decisions, communicate those decisions and reward behaviors that are in line with the manager’s wants, which are in line with the company goals.

This Showing style is most effective when the manager has a vision of what s/he wants to happen, usually by when, and communicating that clearly to people. Showing is also very helpful in crises and/or when immediate successful actions are required i.e. “There’s a fire. get out now!”

Be Instructive, or…be Frustrated.



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