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When Managing Your Team Gives You Sleepless Nights

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a simple template to work through with regards to effectively disciplining a member of your team – something you knew would cover all the bases and help you move things forward positively?

It would have definitely helped me back when I got my first sales management job – there were far too many evenings when the frustrations of my working day ended up coming all the way home with me.

One or two people on my team always seemed to be making my life so much harder than it needed to be – as opposed to making my life easier, which I thought was clearly spelled out in the job spec.

So I would stop off and have a beer on the way home and tell all my friends about them.

Then I’d walk through the front door and be grumpier than I should have been with my kids – and later I would become distant and withdrawn around my wife as I quietly fumed about the day that I’d just had – letting it replay over and over through the night, wondering how I might have handled it better, been stronger, taken a more managerial stance.

The irony was that I was getting cross with my children for acting like kids (which kids really should be allowed to do), when I should have been venting my frustration towards a small group (in their twenties, thirties and forties) who were all acting like they were the eight-year-olds.

But – if I’m honest – I found the thought of professionally disciplining people quite daunting, scary even.

I’m not the kind that goes out looking for confrontation – and I certainly didn’t choose to go into management because of some deep psychopathic need to control and belittle other people.

Management was  just my next step up the career ladder, the natural thing to do, a promotion, a new improved job title, better money – and maybe a chance to share my experience with others so they could get ahead too.

But after a few very long months I was at my wits end – and so I went to see my boss to get his take on it all (and probably also to have a good old moan).

His advice was brilliantly simple – he said;

“Do you know what your problem is Chris? When members of your team are in the wrong – you go home and worry about them. Do yourself a favour and turn that around. If a member of your team is in the wrong from now on – make sure they go home and worry about you instead!”

OK then – that seemed easy enough – I’ll just help them to recognise the potential consequences of their actions while stamping my managerial foot a bit.

But, how do you do that professionally?

Back then, I didn’t even know where to start, so I began consulting management books and business websites for the best way to effectively deal with underperforming members of a team.

What I was really looking for was some kind of one-sheet checklist, an easy-to-follow template, something that would give me the confidence to hold a formal meeting, bring up all the issues that were bothering me, and then move positively forward and deliver the results that my boss wanted to see.

For all my efforts, I couldn’t find anything I felt I could count on to achieve what I wanted.

But the good news – for all you managers who find yourself in a similar boat – is that I’ve created an acronym to do just that A.B.A.C.U.S.

(An acronym you can count on called ABACUS- did you see what I did there?)

Actually, one of the most interesting pieces of information I picked up from all that reading and research was regarding  the origins of the word discipline.

It turns out, the word discipline comes directly from the Latin word for training(disciplina) – which can also be translated as instruction, teaching, education, science and knowledge. It’s where the word disciple comes from too.

Read On…

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