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Spend some quality time with your team

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Getting to know your people is just one step in being a motivational manager, but it’s a critical one. Almost everyone
wants to know that someone is genuinely and positively interested in them. If they know you care about them, then
your relationship will be much more productive

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Spend some quality time with your team

  1. 1. CONNECTION Winter 2016 MasterCast™ Also: Ⅲ How to appeal to Millennials Ⅲ Getting to know your team Ⅲ Trends in home choices SEE YOU AT POLYCON What’s coming in kitchens and baths
  2. 2. Spend some qualitytimewith your individual team members 14 WINTER 2016 | MASTERCAST™ CONNECTION MANAGING PEOPLE WELL IS A HARD JOB; there are many managers who believe they manage well and then go on to tell you about the hassles they have with some of their people and how stressed it makes them feel. That is not what managing well is about; managing well is managing people in a way that’s easy for you and ensures you achieve your desired outcomes. Still, a manager’s job is tough because every member of your team is different.To make your job easier and achieve your outcomes, you need to get to know your people—you need to spend quality time with individuals. Here are my thoughts on why we should do this and what benefits it brings: Benefit 1: You get to understand them better One of my clients was an industrial equipment hiring company and one of the company’s teams was supervised by Steve. Steve was a real problem child, always complaining or whining.Yet even though Steve was difficult to deal with, he did a pretty good job. I ran quite a few courses for this particular company and regularly came into contact with Steve in and around the office. He usually just grunted as we passed and gave the distinct impression that he didn’t think much of me. One day I was sitting waiting in the reception area to see Steve’s supervisor; Steve appeared in reception, gave his usual grunt and sat down, also waiting for a word with the supervisor. My natural re- action was to let Steve stew in his own juices. However, I decided to practice a bit of what I preach and asked him: “How’s that football team of yours doing in the league?” I knew Steve was a big football fan and my interest and questions started him talking. I’m not a football expert, but I knew enough to keep the conversation going. After a while, I asked him, “Are you married Steve?” “Yes, why?” he said, as if no one had ever asked him that question. “Been married long?” “Yes, 12 years.” “Any children?” “No, but Jo’s pregnant at the moment.” He then went on to tell me how they both wanted children BY ALAN FAIRWEATHER
  3. 3. 15MASTERCAST™ CONNECTION | WINTER 2016 very much but they’d had lots of problems in trying to start a family. I just expressed interest and understanding and kept listening. From that day forward Steve and I had a different rela- tionship. When we’d pass in the office or the yard it was al- ways, “How’s it going, Al?” I’d respond with a joking remark about his football team or enquire how Jo was doing with the new baby. My point here is that Steve was always going to be a difficult guy to deal with and I knew that we would never be best buddies. However, I do know that if I had been Steve’s boss, we could have worked pretty well together. This story always reminds me of something Abraham Lincoln once said: “I don’t think I like that man, I must get to know him better.” It’s very easy for a manager to fall into the trap of con- demning a no-hoper or a problem child. However, you need to try the Abraham Lincoln theory first. We’re not just talking about difficult members of your team; we’re talking about all of them. As Dr. Phillip C. Mc- Graw says in his book, Life Strategies: “The number one need among all people is acceptance.” Benefit 2 – You find out how they’re handling the job Beyond getting to know the members of your team on a per- sonal basis lies the need to get to know them on a business basis. I’m not talking about asking, “How’s the job going?” Too often the response is complaints or the word: “Fine.” In some ways it’s better to get the complaints, because then you have a chance to do something about it or at least show you care. Like with good customer service; you really need to hear from the people who aren’t happy so that you can put it right. Too many customers don’t say anything but moan to other people. Does that sound like any of your team? Here’s an example: Brian is general manager for a small construction company who always seems to have a high turnover of staff. One day he tells me, “Had to get rid of an- other girl today; totally useless and wasn’t doing the job properly.” I asked him how he hired and conducted initial and ongoing training. “When they start on day one I put them with Susan; she’s been here for years and she knows the ropes. Susan su- pervises them, keeps them right and lets me know if they haven’t worked out.” “But who’s their manager?” I asked him. He said he was. “Do you ever check to see if they understand the job?” was my next question. “I ask them how they’re doing and they usually say ‘Fine!’” You can imagine what Brian is paying in recruitment costs, over and above the hassle of interviewing, starting new people and then getting rid of some of them. Spending a bit more time with new employees could reduce his costs and his stress. You need to know how your team members are handling the job so you need to ask the right questions. “THE NUMBER ONE NEED AMONG ALL PEOPLE IS ACCEPTANCE.” — Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, Life Strategies
  4. 4. 16 WINTER 2016 | MASTERCAST™ CONNECTION Benefit 3 – It helps you deal with problems One of the main benefits of spending time with your team is that it lets them know you’re there to help with problems. Of course, you’re not there necessarily to solve their problems but to coach them to solve their own. It also gives you an early warning of any personal or business difficulties that could occur. Team members might tell you about a child having difficulties at school that could lead to something more serious or indicate a problem in their marriage or re- lationship. Likewise, it gives them an op- portunity to talk about job concerns. In this way, you can see the storm clouds brewing or just a squall, but one way or another you’ll be ready. Having regular contact with your team prepares you for any potential business situations such as failing to meet a target or product supply hold-ups or anything else that will affect outcome. Benefit 4 – Your team gets to know you Spending time with your team lets them get to know you. When I’m running a training course, particularly one that goes for a few days, I’m often surprised by the participants’ interest in me. Sometimes I think it’s just polite conversation. However, most of the time that doesn’t seem to be the case. Your team will want to know about you at both a personal and business level. That doesn’t mean sharing your intimate thoughts, but it’s similar to the things you want to know about them. Even when team members don’t ask you about yourself, tell them. Reveal bits and pieces about yourself over a period of time. Good professional speakers know this. They let their audiences know various things about them- selves that show their idiosyncrasies or little mistakes they’ve made. What you’re really saying is, “I’m human, I’m like you, I experience the same situations.” Benefit 5 – You have the opportunity to give them feedback and coach them This is one of the most important things a motivational manager can do; your opportunity to tell them the things that you like about their performance and things you don’t like. Too often managers leave feedback until a performance review. When managers see things they don’t like they often put off speaking to the team member about it until things become really serious. Mean- while, commenting on things they do like isn’t generally done often enough. When you spend time with your team, it gives you an ideal opportunity to coach them on the job. Benefit 6 – They have the opportunity to give you feedback If you create a healthy open environment with your team, they should feel comfort- able giving feedback. It may not always be what you want to hear, but it can certainly improve your relationship with them. Benefit 7 – It encourages opinions and ideas to flow Members of your team often have positive suggestions that will benefit the team, the business and you. However, they may not always be willing to seek you out and tell you about them. If you’re spending time with them, this is the ideal opportunity for them to present thoughts. Of course, you sometimes have to dig this out and encourage it. Not all of their ideas will be successfully implemented. However, encouraging ideas builds the team member’s con- fidence in you and the organization, and it’s good for morale. Benefit 8 – It allows you to explain the company’s mission and the team’s role in it When you spend time with individuals within your team, it gives you the opportunity to explain how the business is go- ing and how the team is performing. This is often done at a team briefing. However, in a one-on-one situation, you can discuss this in more depth and encourage ideas and feed- back. People at work want to know what’s going on, and they want to feel involved. Conclusion Getting to know your people is just one step in being a mo- tivational manager, but it’s a critical one. Almost everyone wants to know that someone is genuinely and positively in- terested in them. If they know you care about them, then your relationship will be much more productive. Ⅲ ALAN FAIRWEATHER is an international speaker, best-selling author and sales growth expert. Reach him at www.themotivationdoctor.com. This article is an excerpt of one chapter in “How to be a Motivational Manager.”

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