first started offering my Dealing with
Difficult Peopleseminars, I assumed that “off the wall”
clients would be the most difficult group in the workplace. My second guess –
was difficult workmates or colleagues. Was I wrong in making those assumptions!
I found that overwhelmingly, their supervisors and managers were the most difficult
people faced by the 55,000 participants of my seminar!
Why is this
the case? Because most of their supervisors, managers, foremen/women, department
heads, executives and even C.E.O.s of companies had not received the basic
training necessary for them to successfully supervise others. This is a
difficult supervisors made the following mistakes:
Embarrass their staff by disciplining them
in front of workmates or clients.
Label staff’s behaviour (stupid, dumb) or
make sarcastic remarks, instead of trying to correct the actual behaviour of
the staff member.
Don’t give recognition for a job well
done. Instead, they concentrate on the two percent of the things their staff do
incorrectly, instead of the ninety-eight percent they do properly.
When dealing with customer complaints,
they don’t back up their staff and don’t give employees a chance to tell their
side of the story before acting. (Who should say to the client, “Let me investigate this and I’ll get back
Don’t provide an up-to-date job
description with key performance indicators and standards of performance for
the tasks performed by their staff.
Don’t provide the necessary training to
fill the gap between job requirements and employee’s skills.
Conduct performance appraisals on staff
without a proper job description upon which to base their evaluation. (If the
employee doesn’t know what’s expected of him/her, and the supervisor doesn’t
know either – how can a fair evaluation of the performance be conducted?)
Have one set of company rules for staff –
another for themselves. Bend the rules when clients go over the head of
front-line staff, causing embarrassment for staff members.
No set policy and procedure manuals
available. Rules and regulations of the company are not clearly defined.
Harass staff (either through bullying or
Do nothing to improve the employee’s
interest in their jobs. Some are afraid their staff are now ready to compete
for their job, so do as little as possible to develop their skills for their
next step up. (It’s a proven fact that more supervisors are not promoted because there is nobody
prepared to take over their existing job.)
Are not available when their staff need
their help. They say they have an “open door policy,” but are always “too busy”
to deal with their staff’s problems.
Won’t listen to their staff’s suggestions
about better ways to complete tasks. The person doing the job normally has the
best ideas on how to do the job better, faster, and more efficiently.
Are perfectionists and expect everything
to be done perfectly. Just because they can do the job in ten minutes (they
have fifteen years’ experience) they expect the newcomer to do it in the same
amount of time with the same amount of accuracy.
describes the actions of your supervisors / managers, seriously consider
providing them with the necessary tools to do their jobs properly – otherwise
you’re setting them up to fail! If this is you making these mistakes – get the
training yourself or you too will fail.
If you are
not able to obtain the training, you might consider buying Roberta Cava’s book Survival Skills for Supervisors and Managers – Guidelines for
Business Success that she has written
that discusses all the topics (plus more) that are covered by her seminars.
covered in this book are:
1 – The Role of the Supervisor / Manager
What is a supervisor/manager?
Qualities of a good supervisor
Why supervisors/managers fail
Role of the supervisor/manager
The person in the middle
My role as a supervisor
Supervising former peers
Socialising with your staff
2 – Leadership Styles
Use of leadership skills
What is your leadership style?
Theory Y vs. Theory X
Getting to know your staff
Alternative leadership approaches
3 – Delegation
Excuses for non-delegation
Risks of delegation
The delegation process
Delegation Do’s and Don’t’s
Sample delegation problems
Standards of performance
Knowing your employees better
Analysing your job
How much do you delegate?
4 – Motivation
What motivates most employees?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The need Hierarchy at work
Common ways we see anger expressed at work
Keeping an employee’s desire to contribute
How often should performance appraisals be done?
How do you motivate your staff?
5 – Time Management
The Busy man
Areas of life
Principles of time management
Different kinds of tasks
Swiss cheese approach
Complex long-term assignment
How to choose priorities
Bring forward file
Reward vs. punishment
Daytimers and “to do” lists
Solutions to time wasters
How to manage interruptions
How to prevent interruptions
Are you at fault?
How to control crisis
Assistant’s suggestions to bosses
Five types of procrastinators
How much time do we have?
6 – Interpersonal Skills
How to listen
Blocks to effective listening
How do you rate as a listener?
Improve your listening skills
Qualities of a good listener
How do you rate as a speaker?
The communication process
Message loss through repetition
How to avoid being misunderstood
Skill of paraphrasing
Skill of feedback
Process of feedback
Employee’s body language
7 – Problem Solving and Decision-Making
Three criteria required for problem solving
Dealing with your own problems
Problem solving and decision-making guide
Driving and restraining forces
Planning for problem solving
The importance of planning
Jobs skills inventory chart
The change process
Meeting objections head-on
Making change happen
Creative problem solving
8 – Training and Development
Qualities of a good trainer
Characteristics of adult learners
Differences in adult/child learners
How to ‘lock in’ training
Determining training needs
Testing abilities of employees
Training needs of supervisors
Learning a new skill
Training of others
Retention of information
Training vs. development
Identifying costs of training
Methods of instruction
Methods I use
Preparing for a seminar/workshop
Group vs. individual activities
Technical vs. life skills
Theoretical vs. practical training
Timing of training segments
Use of training aids
Re-enforcement of training
How to keep participants motivated
9 – Meeting Skills
Role of the chairperson
Planning a meeting
Using and developing group’s unique talents and
Overcoming cultural or personality differences
Preparing for a meeting
Avoiding planning blunders
The use of questions at meetings
How to chair a meeting
Types of meetings
This book and 60 other titles by Roberta Cava are
available world-wide with Amazon Books. Just go to www.amazon.com website and type in Roberta
will bring up all her books.