I am a small business owner and recently started listening to Manager Tools which has helped me a lot and I want to start implementing them.

Pre-pandemic I had 20 employees. I currently have 5. I have been in business over 21 years and want to re-start my business on the right foot.

My first quesiton is I actually have no formal management training. I haven't started One on Ones yet. I am kind of shy and private and I worry about the one on ones being awkward. And I tend to talk a lot when I get nervous. I also have one employee that isn't very talkitive and is very dry. She rarely talks unless asked a question and her responses are usually just "yes" and "no" with little elaboration. I am invisioning painful one on ones with her. Any suggestions? 

How do you handle confrontational and argumentative employees during one one ones? Or insults and criticism?

Also, I was sharing with one of my team leads Manager Tools and the feedback model. She asked how do the employees give me--their boss and business owner--feedback? I wasn't sure but told her I thought this would be something they would have the opportunity for in the one on ones. I also started roleplaying with her the feedback model which has helped me tremendously. After listening to the podcasts, I thought I would be better at it. 

Third, for rolling out the Trinity, does such a small business need to follow the same timeline? i.e six weeks of one on ones, before two months of positive feedback, etc. This seems like a slow timeline.

Do Michael and Mark have podcasts for small business owners with little management experience? Many of the podcast seem like they are for larger operations with many levels of management and larger budgets.

I'd really appreciate some quidance, especially on One on Ones.


pucciot's picture
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Hi and welcome.


There are many Podcasts here about each of the things you brought up.

All of the Podcasts kinda assume that you didn't get any formal training.

So don’t' worry.


Here are some short answers -- and then a list of Podcasts

* Don't worry about the O3's being awkward.  - Yes they will be - so what?  The important thing is that they will be effective.

Remember the reason for O3's -- to build relationship.  And that takes time.  They will not all be great meetings.

Remember the first 10 min is for the employee to start.  There are Podcasts about how to get that going.

After that, it is your turn.  And if you don't have much on that day - call it wrap.  Think of something for the next week.


Insults are not acceptable.  You need to set ground rules -- like

"Here I always assume positive intent.  And I expect you to do that as well."


Let them know that there are two reasons to get fired around here : 

1 - Continually Poor Results

2 - Tearing down the team.  - Insults tear down the team and they will _not_ be tolerated.

-- BTW You - and the other mangers and the CEO - are all included in that -- accept no insults of anyone in the organization. - Up the Org Chart or down it.


During an O3 - You are free to have some disagreement -- But you are the Boss.

If it digresses into an argument or a quarrel - then end the meeting and - Thank them for sharing their feelings and tell them that their time is up and you will see them next week.


Feedback is a Manager's tool - not an employee's tool

They don't get to give you feedback about your performance.  That is not their job.

If they try --- just smile and say Thank You.  Then excuse yourself from the conversation.


Rolling out the Trinity.

They have the timeline and the emails to help.

Honestly --- For me  It has been a year and a half and I still haven't completely rolled out Feedback.
You have got to be really committed to it.


It you do anything -  Do O3's - that will go a long way.


Resistant Directs  (to O3's)


What to say when a Direct Gives FeedBack


Assume Positive Intent


Two reasons to fire someone:


Good Luck 





TSchow's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

pucciot did a great job answer your question about. I am just going to add to it.

How I handle confrontational and argumentative employees during any meetings depends on the individual and what they are trying to contribute.

For instance, are they trying to make the company better, and they just could use a little diplomacy, or is it personal?
Ideally you just might have a high contributor who is passionate about the type of work, and wants the company to be successful. Hopefully this is the case and this person just could use a little training in assertiveness, and tact. Off the top of my head Dale Carnegie comes to mind.

Personally, insults are not tolerated or for that matter any other ad hominem. However professional criticisms can make the group better, and if presented with diplomacy this exchange can be pleasant.

In general speaking truth to power is risky, ie feedback to someone who controls your paycheck. This is normally done through attrition when managers do not listen to employees, and can be summarized in retirement speeches. Your choice is to listen to your employees and or lose your employee and possibly your company. Worse of all your company will quickly fill with yes men, and these people might be working against you.

Most of the time when someone brings up an issue, they want it to go away, and need help. It’s been my history when someone brings up an issue, they are assigned to fix it.

The ideas in these podcasts apply for any size of business, and are designed for all levels of management experience.
All the guidance you will need is:
1. One on Ones have them do most of the talking upwards of 28 minutes. This is where you can get a feel for the beat of your business.
2. With people take it slow, depending on your relationship you might have to extend the time frame.
3. You know your people when you can pass the acid test. What are the names of your employees’ kids?

Breanna_Ileen's picture

I love the set rules you made. I'm planning to have an online selling business with small crew handling it. I think this will sum all I need to discuss during interview. :)