BILL LEE: Threats to Your Business Relationships

By / 1 year ago

Management indifference is a major threat to business relationships. How seriously your business’ relationships will suffer depends on how effective your management team is at controlling each threat before it gets out of hand.

Belittling Your Employees
Your company’s best and most productive employees have more options than ever before, and with so many options, employees have the luxury of demanding respect. So if you observe managers belittling, putting down or otherwise showing disrespect to members of your company’s work force, take corrective action immediately.

Experience has taught me that education is one of the most effective tools to ensure that your best performers feel appreciated. Recognition programs are also effective. Consider investing in an annual awards dinner to recognize the top achievers on your sales team…and include spouses. Make your best salespeople feel appreciated.

Seeing More Negatives than Positives
Is the glass half full or half empty in your organization? When employees break rules, make mistakes or violate company policies, they certainly need to be dealt with. However, when employees do something that’s over and above the call of duty, they also deserve praise.

In the little management book, The One-Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Johnson, the “one-minute praising” is recommended when employees are observed doing something right. To be most effective, “praisings” must occur as soon as possible following the positive behavior and should be as specific as possible.

While it is also recommended to perform “One-Minute Reprimands” when an employee’s behavior is inappropriate, these reprimands should always be performed in private…and never in the presence of customers and/or employees.

Failure to Provide Employee Feedback
At least annually, employees deserve to know where they stand in a professionally managed organization. Is employee turnover a problem in your organization? Are your operating expenses higher than necessary due to excessive employee churn? If so, it is a sign that your hiring procedures need a makeover, your people are not earning a competitive wage or management is not communicating clearly.

These two questions can provide eyeopening insight:

1. What would you have to do to qualify for double the raise you typically receive?

2. How is your job measured; that is, what would you have to accomplish in measurable terms to receive an A+ grade from your boss?

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Bill Lee

Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at, or 800.277.7888.