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How to win over underlings and influence the cubicles

In the corporate ecosystem, there are two species of boss: the nag who lectures the workforce, and the noble being who leads it.

In the corporate ecosystem, there are two species of boss: the nag who lectures the workforce, and the noble being who leads it.

“The goal of every manager should be to make people feel like they want to work for you, and not like they have to,” says Donna Flagg, author of “Surviving Dreaded Conversations.”

Yet asking employees to throw their all into the daily grind isn’t always easy. With that in mind, here are three principles executive coaches recommend when it comes to talking a downtrodden office into loving the work they do for you.

Three steps

» Encourage them to take the lead
“Let other people have the ideas,” says Barbara Frankel, a New York City-based career coach. That could mean holding onto your opinions longer, opening meetings up for more brainstorm activity or even sub-contracting out the art of idea-concocting altogether. “Set up a little task force where employees get together, talk and then bring their ideas in collectively,” she suggests.

» Recognize each individual
This involves appreciating the kind of colleague they are — both at work and after it. “Find out what’s important to them,” Frankel says. “What inspires them? What new projects do they want to be a part of? Why do they come to work?”

» Give clear instructions
“The more people feel that they can count on you, the more they do for you,” Flagg offers. But workers can’t trust you, she warns, if they don’t understand your expectations — and that means answering e-mails, explaining projects clearly and taking time to stop by a boss-shy worker’s desk. “You have to be a good communicator, and that comes from having a mindset that you’re one among them,” she stresses.

 
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