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How Managers Can Get Results Without Losing Their Soul

How can you manage wholeheartedly? How can you do the toughest things at work, and still be tenderhearted?


That’s what I recently asked two distinguished leadership thought leaders, Karin Hurt and David Dye. Karin is a former Verizon executive who’s now a leadership consultant, author and speaker. David is a former non-profit executive, who now works as a leadership consultant, speaker and author.


Their new book is Winning Well: A Managers Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul. I recently interviewed Karin and David to get their advice on how to get results without losing your soul in the process.


Kevin Kruse: The hardest thing a manager ever has to do is to terminate someone. If you have to do it, what’s the right way?


Karin Hurt: I think it starts by being really honest with the person. If you’re letting them go because of a downsizing, that’s one situation and you want to make clear that it has nothing to do with them. But if you’re letting them go for performance, you want to make sure that they’re leaving with a feeling that they did something wrong or they were not a good fit for the job but not that they are something wrong.


You want to leave them with their dignity intact. I was an HR for a number of years, so unfortunately I had to be the center of a number of these conversations over the years, and I can’t tell you how meaningful it is if you do this well and you approach the situation with compassion, and you help people to fail forward. They’ll come back to you a couple of years later and say, “You know what? Thank you. That really made a difference in my ability to rebound from this terrible part of my career.”


Kruse: You have a chapter called Inspire Your Team To Double Productivity. How do you do that?


David Dye: Well, the first step is you’ve got to know what’s most important. We all have the same amount of time and in any given moment of time; we can only do one thing. One of the things we really invite every leader, every manager to do is identify what is the most critical behavior that a team member can do to contribute to whatever results you need to have happen.


Hurt: Right. Make sure that you are crystal clear on your expectations. We find that so often when people are faced with performance challenges, they could have been more clear about what they were expecting. If you can take the time to have one very clear conversation about expectations, it will save you 14 why-didn’t-you-do-this-the-way-I-wanted-to conversations.


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