Do More For Some People and Less for Others

Brought to you by RainmakerThinking

Most managers gravitate to "sameness" because it's easier. Whether it's hourly pay or a fixed salary, when employees are paid according to a set system, the manager doesn't have to make and justify difficult decisions, or stay engaged with every employee by making sure she knows what to do to earn what she needs or wants. The manager is more comfortable when employees are rewarded based on a rigid structure, because she can answer her employees' queries by blaming the "system."

You can't do everything for everybody. But why would you ever want to? Give all employees the chance to meet the basic expectations of their jobs and then the chance to go above and beyond — and to be rewarded accordingly. When your employees deliver on their commitments for you, you deliver on promised rewards for them. If they fail to meet commitments, you have to call them on that failure immediately and withhold the reward. When managers become de facto compensation officers, productivity explodes.

If you are the boss, one of the most important parts of your job is taking care of your people. Be generous and flexible. Some managers consistently do more for their employees. If you're not one of those managers, what is your problem?

Expand your repertoire of rewards and start using every resource you have to drive performance. Use your power over work conditions; scheduling; recognition; exposure to decision makers; deciding what tasks are assigned to whom, who gets extra training opportunities, where each employee works, and with what coworker; and so on.

Make a point of talking with your best people to find out what they really want or need — whether it's a special deal or a small accommodation. If you can fulfill a unique need or want, you will be doing something especially valuable for that person. When you need extra leverage with a particular employee — when you need her to really go the extra mile — there is no better motivational tool than using her "needle in a haystack" as a bargaining chip.

Make the quid pro quo explicit and help people earn what they need every step of the way.

Brought to you by RainmakerThinking