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Thanks, I needed that

Twice last week, I've had conversations with managers who have challenges with a seller. Essentially, the issues were the same. The seller was a solid biller if not the top one, and they were taking shortcuts or not doing the things that made them successful in the first place. This had caused a deterioration of their attitude. Both managers indicated that they have talked about it with the seller and nothing changes. Knowing these managers as I do, I suggested that they had given up control (temporarily) to their respective sellers. They both admitted to being "too nice."

Being nice is not a sin. It's actually welcome. What happens too often is that we see that being nice and holding people accountable are in conflict. They are not. In fact, you are being nice WHEN you hold them accountable because the result is they improve. The mean and nasty thing to do is ignore the issue and let it fester and let them fail. That's not nice.

As we share in training, discipline is not something you do TO someone, it's something you do FOR someone because of your kindness and "love." Noel Burch, in his book Teacher Effectiveness Training, identified four levels of learning anything new:

Unconsciously incompetent.

Consciously incompetent.

Consciously competent.

Unconsciously competent.

No matter how many years of experience you have, disruption in the marketplace can throw you back into being unconsciously incompetent. You're doing something wrong, but you have no idea what it is or even if you are indeed doing anything wrong.

This is where a NICE manager helps guide you through the turbulence, holds you accountable to the basics that made you successful in the first place and helps you see the things you can't see that are likely causing you trouble.

The key to all of this is open and direct communication. That's being nice. On Friday, we shared the research that only 41% of the current workforce feels "valued" at work. One of the ways you can show your employees are valued is by holding them accountable for their own success. Helping them achieve greater success doesn't always feel nice in the moment, sometimes it can sting. But the results are greater achievement, greater fulfillment and the recognition that someone cares enough to help them get better.

Those of you of a certain age will remember the Skin Bracer aftershave commercial where the aftershave was "slapped" on the face of the man and his response was: "Thanks, I needed that." We are certainly not advocating violence, but sometimes correction, accountability or discipline can feel like a slap in the face. The results of you being nice enough to care and get involved will always be, "Thanks, I needed that."

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB