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February 15, 2010

Perception Makes The Difference

The iris reader in passport control was out of order at Heathrow this weekend.

When I remarked on it to an official there (with care, as I had been delayed long enough), he smiled and said, ‘Well, it’s usually working 99% of the time’.

Since I’d only recently joined this scheme, designed to more quickly get you through the queues at passport control, I was disappointed.

I then reflected that 1% out of order for them was 100% out of order for me.

It’s about perception. What seemed a small outage for the people at Heathrow was my total experience, so, noticeable and a big thing for me!

In the work we do as managers, there are many issues we engage in with our people.

By its very nature, our perspective is very different from theirs – and here’s where we have to be careful and learn to be good managers.

Our insights into what is very important to them must be given extra focus, because otherwise we will miss things that make the biggest differences to them, small though they might appear to us in our role.

And this is as inherent a part of our job if we want to make a decent fist of management.

Because, frankly, most managers don’t understand that being interested in what’s important to their people, is most likely to be of high value to the team and organizational performance.

Can you see where the 1% view needs to be from the 100% angle?

Filed under Blog, Customer Service, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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Getting Employee Support Through Relationship Building

Managers need help! When you manage others, it’s to ensure that you have the skills around you to deliver the bigger picture.

The results you need will not come from you alone, so you need the best relationships with your team members to achieve all you want to.

We all need support, whatever we do in life. We need it in our home lives; we need it when we enjoy our leisure; and we certainly need it in the workplace.

Whether we are a new-join employee at the bottom of the career ladder, or we are a super-senior executive, we need others to carry on in our lives as we want, to enjoy the experiences we need to make everything worthwhile.

When we have responsibilities in the workplace, we need others onboard at all times, because work outputs cannot be achieved alone.

One of the purposes of the relationships we build with our people is to enable them to better support what we are expected to achieve with our teams. the goals we are set as managers are not for our personal achievement alone. That’s why we have people in our teams.

Spending time creating these relationships shares who we are with our people, such that they kn ow that their contribution is valued. A contribution that can often be some element of the work that we, as their manager, fail to have the skills to deliver.

Our people should have the abilities to do the things we can’t and we provide them with the resources and space to do their own thing, as a contribution to the greater good of the team.

The best managers know this and step back from their own pride to nurture these talents. And they do this by spending time with their people, coaching, training, supporting and encouraging them to be their best.

Getting the relationships with your employees just right to get them creatively contributing as fully as possible is a great achievement for anyone who leads and managers others.

Investing in just a little time using some easy tactics to interact with them costs little (if anything) and makes a manager’s job both more interesting and easier.

Of course a manager needs to step back from the fire-fighting and crisis-solving activities they can so easily get bogged down with. When they take this visionary step, they can be assured of a return that is way beyond the effort they expand – and a return that continues on, with the minimum of maintenance.

Getting the support you need when you are a manager is a must-do. Getting your people to provide it with you is one of the major activities any manager needs to consider valuable.

By focusing on people, for small parts of the day by simply engaging in conversation, there are many benefits that accrue, not least having a willing band of people who are alongside you as you manage effectively to deliver the results needed – and beyond.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

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