The secret to getting your employees to read your mind?

 In 7. David Militello, Employees

Authored by David Militello

Tuesday afternoon around 2:00 pm we were in our weekly managers meeting as I listened to my general manager (GM) and assistant general manager (AGM) talk about some less-than-productive employees. I had to listen intently in an attempt to interpret as if I am some sort of foreign ambassador. The story goes something like this:

“Can you believe John didn’t have the ice bins filled or the beer stocked when I came in tonight? And did you know when he closed the bar the other night he didn’t sweep before he mopped and on top of that, he used the greasy kitchen mop! I was so #@$#@$! So, I sent him home! I bet he won’t do that again!”

As the discussion began to heat up, I decided to join in and suggest an idea. I asked them, had this ever happened before? Was this person a repeat offender? A bad employee? Then I asked, “Did John know why you sent him home?”

The answers to all of these were a simple “no”. I said to my GM, “Can I ask you a question?” He replied, sure.

I said, “If a dog has an accident on the floor and you yell at the dog, what does the dog learn?” (silence) “Not to pee on the floor,” he said? “No, the dog learns nothing except that he really enjoys urinating in the house and that sometimes for no apparent reason you’re a jerk!”

We all had a chuckle, but the point was very clear. Are we clearly communicating your expectations?

That day we discovered how detrimental this really was! For example if your time is spent filling ice bins, you’re obviously neglecting your managerial duties which, as you know, span across the entire restaurant. You become that manager that always chases around the bad employees, doing all of their work for them. You get burned out. You’re underpaid because you do the work of 10 people. No one listens to you because you really don’t have anything positive to say. You never smile. And sometimes for no apparent reason, you’re a jerk!

Some time ago, I started managing my key people by objectives. Always asking myself the question, have I clearly communicated my expectations? What am I doing to follow up with these expectations? In the words of David Scott Peters, “Inspect what you Expect.” I have always known this saying, but this was really starting to hit home… What do I expect? Do I expect my managers to read my mind? Obviously that is impossible, but I can honestly say, now I don’t.
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David Militello is a multi-unit, multi-concept restaurant owner based in Southaven, Mich., www.lakeshoredining.com. Dave is a man of opportunity and music. If he wasn’t a restaurant owner, he’d probably be playing drums in a band touring the world. Dave is a part of the Smile Button coaching team and offers expertise in managing multiple locations, catering, employee development and systems implementation.

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