August 31, 2010

Appreciation – Learning from Your Team

One of the simplest management tactics you can use to build trust and positive morale is where you find a small amount of time in your day to appreciate your people.

This can take the form of praise; encouragement; delegation and even that simplest of activities, just saying ‘thank you’. Sometimes even just keeping it personal is very effective indeed.

I recently came across a team where the manager wasn’t the best at saying ‘thank you’ or showing appreciation in much of any way at all.

One of his team was leaving after a few months only, to go back to college – she was 19 years old and had settled in very well, becoming a big contributor to the team very quickly.

The team had 7 people in it and it was clear that they would all miss this employee – and indeed she gave a strong impression that she would miss them too (even marking ‘so sad’ on the calendar for her leaving day!).

This was made very clear on the day after she left, when she returned to the office and left everyone a small card.

Inside the card were a few sentences which thanked each one personally for their friendship and how much she would miss them. There were also a few words of what was so special about each of them, including the manager himself.

Now, I don’t know if the hint was taken by the manager, but every individual was not only hugely touched by the gesture, but each was surprised and enlarged with the rosy-glow of the value they each contributed to the person leaving.

Small, personalized, honest and very appreciative were the comments. But what a difference they made to each of her friends and colleagues. A difference that would be long-lasting and specific to each of them.

As managers, we can always learn a lot from our people, when we take the time to notice – and then apply – what we observe.

It takes a little effort to get down off that high horse we sit on when we are the boss – and when we are humble enough to do so, we can make great steps forward, making our own difference as we go.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

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March 3, 2010

Five Management Benefits Of Over-Delivering To Employees

Many employees have limited expectations of those that manage and lead them. Their life and work experiences tell them to be cautious about what might be realistic.

Giving your people what they expect from an employer is not a major challenge.

The simple things like getting paid the right amount and on time, having reasonable working conditions and being respected are pretty much the minimum (and so often what employers find a tough act to deliver on, simple though it might sound).

Going a bit further can have a profound influence on how employees respond. That extra mile will have a huge impact on how well they do their job, how long they stay with you and how they interact with each other and their customers too.

Over-delivering to your people has great advantages. They are ready and waiting for you to be like all the other bosses they’ve had before and as such, in a quirky and almost negative sort of way, they expect you to be no better.

So when you are, it’s a huge void filled. And they will love you for it!

Here are five key benefits that you will gain by going just that little bit further for them, each of which will make the difference!

•    Building Trust
– when you do a little more beyond expectations, it builds the trust between you and your team members. Trust is a critical aspect of the relationships that you build – and more. When you want to be trusted, over-delivery is a big plus, because employees recognize that you care for them more than they are used to.

•    Developing Relationships – by doing that bit more than expected, the partnership is strengthened, extended even. With this you will be able to get back at least as much as you put in.

•    Making Deposits – as Stephen Covey describes in ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, by going that bit further with what you do, you create a deposit in the emotional bank account between you. These deposits need to be in there before you can ask for withdrawals, especially when you want them to go that ‘extra mile’.

•    Showing the Way – if you want your people to behave in a particular way, you need to be an exemplar of what you want from them yourself. By regularly over-delivering – naturally rather than just when you want something – you will start to see them emulate your behaviors too.

•    Being Innovative – and often the way you over-deliver will show that you can be creative in the way you work with others. This creativity encourages others to come up with their own innovative ways to respond to other colleagues needs as well.

Overdelivery need not be rocket science for your people to feel special. If you are prepared to go a little further for them, there are rewards out there that are pretty much untapped as yet.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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February 20, 2010

Using Relationship Building to Uncover Hidden Employee Talents

You have great people around you in your team. However you view them, you will be surprised at the capabilities they have inside.

If only you could find a key to unlock that door…

We all have potential. Like Tony Robbins says, we have ‘Unlimited Potential’ within each of us.

As a manager of a team of people, it’s going to be a whole lot easier if you are able to make more of the assets that you have, than try to find better out there. Leveraging those you have around you, requires a real application of your own skill – and that is the unlimited potential within you!

The biggest challenge for any manage, is just how to go about unlocking the abilities that their people hide away. They keep their own hopes and possibilities tucked away, because they have had experiences in their lives that put them off sharing themselves openly to others.

They lack trust, because it has sometimes come back to bite them in the past – and like any of us, they don’t want that experience again!

One of the vitally important purposes of creating constructive relationships with your people is all about bringing back that trust they have lost. Because when they trust you more, you will start to glimpse more of what they are about.

By making the time to get to know them well – and they you – slowly and surely every one of your people will trust you better, opening them up to your support, encouragement and yes, providing the challenges they can respond to.

This will take time and particular effort on your part.

Every one of your people will respond differently, because their life experiences will have set defenses at different levels. We defend ourselves against the pain we suffer from the unpleasant experiences we have had and whatever the cause, we put barriers up to avoid that pain again.

Whether it was a parent who criticized us as we grew; a teacher who had no skills to deal with different pupils. Whether is was a mentor who was so self-centered that they failed to appreciate your differing needs or simply a bully-boss who was plain ignorant. People lose trust – and that’s what holds them back.

The purpose of relationships that work is to build trust by listening without judgment; supporting any circumstance (however frustrating that can be!); encouraging even the most despondent.

As we progress our interactions with our people, we will see progress – sometimes slowly – in most of our employees. Gradually taking steps to open the doors to the potential that lies beneath, we see the possibilities and gradually, the self-imposed reins that hold them back start to ease.

The purpose of the relationships we have is to grow our people, leading to success for ourselves through the potential we release; leading to success for those people whose have been hiding their talents.

It’s as simple as that.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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December 19, 2008

Two More Trust-Building Skills For Managers

Establish strong business ethics.

Where managers create a moral value system for the workplace, they will nurture their employees. Teams which have a common ethics are healthier, much more resourceful, adaptable and productive, because of the common root of their consistent value systems.

Always keep your word.

By making actions visible and fulfilling commitments, managers become trusted.

Failing on promises is insincere and causes tensions. A manager needs to deliver actions visibly, to ensure everyone is aware that they can be depended upon.

That builds trust!

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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