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Bay Jordan


This is an exceptionally great post. A simple solution that would make such a difference if every manager practised it!

May I tell a personal story to illustrate how effective it is? (Spot the rhetorical question!)

More years ago now than I like to count, I was employed by a major life assurance company to sort out the mess they had created through bad computerisation practices. This necessitated recruiting a professional team which I duly set about doing. I was happy with the 3 people I recruited, but had 2 that I was more comfortable about.

As the demands/expectations were great I felt it was important to build a sense of team through creation of a mutual support system whereby we could all reinforce one another's efforts and share problems and solutions. I also felt it was important to recognise that they had lives outside work - and that these were not something distinct and separate. So I introduced a departmental activities which inncluded not just the team, but all their wives/partners and families social club. This, I hoped, would make their families relate better to what they were doing and not make my team's work something that was "out there" and something in which they had no part.

At the first of these gatherings I spoke to the wife of the team member I was most concerned about and asked her how she felt her husband was settling down. Her reply remains one of the most rewarding things I have heard in my life. She said, "I don't know what you have done, but whatever it is it has done wonders for (his) self-confidence." That comment removed any doubts I had and justifiably so, for he became my best team member and has subsequently had an extremely successful, high-profile career.

That experience is what makes me wonder about how much human potential is wasted in the workplace and why I am so passionate about alleviating this "human economic waste."

Rhett Laubach

Steve, as always, insightful stuff! Thanks for the continued heavy lifting to make things a bit easier for your readers...

Keith Bossey

Great post Steve. Can I add one.. Why is this important? Even though we don't want to confuse things with visionary language, everybody wants to feel that what they're doing has an impact (big or small). I also believe that making sure that we, as leaders, ask people to do things that have meaning, makes us better, makes us prioritize limited resources.

Steve Roesler


Wonderful story that also shows the importance of viewing work and life as a whole, then doing something about it. Kudos.

I'm struck by the importance of the conversation with the spouse that led to an understanding of how her husband was really feeling about the job. There are those who would frown and say, "Oh, but you should have known. There's something wrong with your managerial communication."

It would be wonderful if humans operated according to textbook theories as if we were all part of some Pavlovian work model. We don't and we aren't. We choose to share information in ways that we are most comfortable with whom we are most comfortable. A new person is going to share information with those closest to him until he gets used to things and sorts out who is trustworthy and who isn't. And that takes different lengths of time for different people. So, the notion of including family-related activities for those who want to participate can prove helpful in a number of ways.

Steve Roesler

Rhett, thanks for stopping by.

Steve Roesler


Being a context-oriented guy, I'm all in with "Why is this important?" Giving that context along with "Here's what you are supposed to do" would certainly satisfy the "meaning" partt.

Thanks for the addition. . .

Vish Agashe


What a great post. Talk about simplicity, you have distilled days worth of "How to manage employees" training class I attended in my early management days into four points. And you points are much more valuable/direct than what I learned in that training :)

Keep up the good writting/thinking.

Vish Agashe

Roy Atkinson

Steve - This really hits it squarely, simply and truly. I'm stunned by so many reports of managers and 'leaders' who speak so infrequently to their employees and who cannot seem to let people know what's expected of them. Great post, especially the final question, "What would happen if you--or your boss--paid attention to these four questions?" I'm hoping we can find out...

Aloke Saha

This post is really Appreciable.yes, Every Employee Wants to Know The Four Things. For more help visit please

Careers India

Steve Roesler


I'm pleased to know that this matches your own training experience. And I appreciate the encouragement!

Steve Roesler

Hi, Roy,

Well, the idea was--and is--to keep things simple to the point where people can DO it, without losing the meaning behind it.

Let's see if we can make a difference, eh?

Coach Poppy

You might not be able to control the occasions, but you'll be able to compose your response. It is possible to turn your pain into profanity -or into poetry. The option is as much as you. You may well not have selected your hard time, but it is possible to pick how you will react to it.

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