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Managing Editor, Network World Fusion

Managing your peers, Part 2

Feb 04, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Final thoughts on how to make the move from co-worker to boss; plus reactions on Christmas bonuses

Last week, management expert Steve Norman offered advice to those making the jump from co-worker to boss. It’s not an easy transition, but his main themes of communication and delegation can go a long way in combating any awkwardness or difficulty.

Here are three additional thoughts from Norman on the subject:

* “Be sure to find a balance between getting the job done and allowing for some fun at work. While you clearly need to be task oriented, you must also find time to make the working environment as fun as possible. Laughter is truly the best medicine.”

* “Be sure to recognize people for their efforts. Although you must be sure the recognition is justified, and thus not diluted, you should look for opportunities to recognize people for a job well done. This is especially critical early on in your tenure so that you gain momentum and commitment.”

* “Be positive and be sincere. You are now in the position to set an example for others and the team will surely be watching, and following.”

Now, onto another earlier topic of this newsletter: Christmas bonuses. In December, I shared with you the opinion of Gil Dwyer, associate dean and director of business programs at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va., who says tying bonuses to the calendar, instead of results and performance, is a bad idea. Reaction to his thoughts was mixed, and I thought I’d share a couple interesting e-mails I received.

One reader said he knew of many employers who stopped giving bonuses because their employees never thanked them: “As recipients of a Christmas bonus, we must remember that it is a gift, given through the generosity of the boss. It is not earned, and sometimes the generosity is more than some may deserve.” An excellent point: Just like any other Christmas gift, a thank-you note – or at least a word of thanks – is required. A sincere thank-you to the boss may mean more than any bonus he or she received.

Another colleague said Dwyer is missing the point: “Christmas bonuses are not performance bonuses. The performer makes more than the slacker not because of his Christmas bonus, but because his raises are higher and more frequent, and he gets merit bonuses when appropriate. Are good employees’ feelings hurt when everyone shows up to the office Christmas party? The slacker gets cookies and coffee, just like the performer. Should management have employees line up in order of performance, to prevent the slackers from slipping in front of their betters? Christmas bonuses, like Christmas parties, are not designed to reward excellent performance. They are for raising morale overall and for saying thank you to the workers who make the company’s success possible.”