In an Oakland Warehouse, the TV show MythBusters, blows up, smashes up, crashes into, and lights on fire prevailing cultural myths. I don’t have a warehouse but I plan to smash up and otherwise burn up three prevailing myths about myth-busting graphic

Recognize any of these?

  • Myth #1 “If only I knew how to manage better, my employees would do what I want them to do.”
  • Myth #2 “I know my life would be easier if only I were a better delegator.”
  • Myth #3 “If I was better at motivating people, my employees would do a better job.”

Ready to be relieved? Let’s bust these @#)*&)#*$ myths!

Myth #1 “If only I knew how to manage better, my employees would do what I want them to do.”

People hate being managed.  Managing people is an unforgiving uphill battle.  People want input.  They want feedback and sometimes they want help but most of us are quite able to manage ourselves and our work.  The reason people often look inept at managing themselves and their output is that they need to be led to see the expected result.

My experience is that the prevailing culture of micromanagement, disrespect, or underappreciation matched with a lack of vision or purpose is what leads to people failing to reach the preverbal bar of job success.

If you want to raise the bar, shift from managing people to leading people, and let them manage their results.  When given a vision, a mission, a purpose, and most importantly if people feel a sense of value and respect, most people will rise to the challenge.

Stop managing and start leading. Myth #1 BUSTED.

Myth #2 “ I know my life would be easier if only I were a better delegator.”

My experience is that managers, by having all the answers and holding all the decision-making in their hands, hold employees hostage to constant oversight and scrutiny.  This creates the inability to solve problems because employees are unsure of their decision-making power. If they don’t think like the manager they feel criticized regardless of their decision.  

Delegation is telling people what to do.  While people may need some instructions or training, your job is to stop telling people what to do and start to support them by becoming a great communicator.

If you want people to have higher authority and the ability to “think on their feet” you need to stop solving all the problems and making all the decisions and start asking great questions, communicating well, and allowing others a higher level of authority.

Stop delegating and start communicating. Myth #2 BUSTED.

Myth #3 “ If I was better at motivating people, my employees would do a better job.”

Guess what? You can’t motivate anyone.  Motivation is an inside job.  Like the proverbial horse and water.  So what can you do?  Put the right person in the right job.  Find out what unique talents people bring to your organization and let them do it.  Figure out what behavior styles each job takes so that you aren’t putting round pegs in square holes.  And lastly, understand what drives and motivates each person and provide that intrinsic value to them.

My experience is that managers hire people into jobs based only on prior work history.  They promote people who are successful in one area without thinking about if they can be as successful in the new position.  They don’t look at the behavioral requirements of the job before they look for the right person to fill it.

If you want to motivate people, find out what they love and let them do it.  Create a team that enjoys each other and the value they bring. Look for alignment, not carrots and sticks.

Stop motivating and start aligning. Myth #3 BUSTED

Ruth Schwartz joined the Idaho SBDC in March 2020, She has been a lifelong entrepreneur and business owner. She spent 25 years in theRuth Schwartz, Idaho SBDC consultant music industry: radio, publishing, producing, and retail.

Most notably, Ruth started, built, and sold a $10 million, wholesale music distribution company. She has owned and operated a leadership training and coaching company, a debt collection company, and an Amazon store.

Ruth is a Professionally Certified Business Leadership Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation, an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Conference, and the author of the book, The Key to the Golden Handcuffs: Stop Being a Slave to Your Business. She is certified in over four assessment sciences and is the creator of the Fail Proof Hiring Program. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member of the National Speakers’ Association.

Hailing from the Sierra Foothills in Northern California, Ruth taught at the Sierra Commons Business Incubator and became a consultant with the California SBDC before her move to Idaho in 2017.

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