The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
We get asked a lot about how to deal with remote or virtual teams, especially of they are located in different time zones. One of our main clients has team members in The Philippines as well as Mexico. The time difference can cause major problems in planning conference calls and other such contacts, especially in international settings Learn More
Motivation is one of the enigmas that many managers never quite seem to grasp the importance of. O yes, they may say they are motivational in their style, but when you ask their team members to honestly judge their line manager’s motivational skills, often the response is not as good as the manager would like to hear.
We know that one of the key motivators for staff is the aspect of recognition for a job well done. Why is this? Well, all of us have a need to feel valued at some level, that what we are doing is making a difference in some way. That fuels our self-esteem and self-concept, things that monitor how we feel about ourselves. So, when we are recognised for what we do, it makes us feel good about, not only ourselves, but it changes our feelings about the individual(s) who brought that feeling about.
How do we make sure, then, that we recognise individuals at work without it appearing patronising or being taken for granted? Here are 6 steps:
1) Make the decision to do it: Strange as it may seem, recognising people at work for what they do can be systemised, so start in your immediate sphere of influence and find out specifically what makes people tick. Don’t expect to get it right first time every time, but watch for what works and what doesn’t.
2) Be clear about what you want to achieve: What specifically do you want to recognise and reward? When should it be done? Where should it be done? How should you do it? What kind of response do you want and can expect? The answers to these questions will start you on the journey.
3) Watch the reaction when you start recognising people: Do they take you seriously?Are you getting the response you expected? Some staff may wonder which alien has replaced their manager.But if you do it specifically, at the right times and genuinely, you may find people reacting favourably.
4) Follow the right process: By this I mean the recognition should be specific, linked to the performance you want repeating, is positive, sincere, personal and done proactively.
5) Determine how you can recognise people at work: Think how you can make people’s work interesting for them. Help them see how their role plays out in the big picture of things. Feed information and quality communication to staff. That way, they will feel involved and that they matter. Involve them in decision-making so that they own some of the decisions made. Show them how much independence and autonomy they can gain in their work.
6) Keep the momentum going: Ask if you are getting the results you expected. Is your timing correct? Are you being individual in your recognition, or have you missed something? One manager organised a golfing day for his team, as recognition for their year’s work and to do some team building. He hadn’t taken into consideration that he was the only person in the team who liked golf!
Take personal responsibility for recognising individuals at work and you will no doubt see the benefits in the results you achieve.
Regardless of how long you’re in management, there will come a time when you will have to face the prospect of offering some kind of discipline to a staff member. Although thought of as being punishment, discipline should be seen as a way of convincing someone there are higher standards to attain, and you are offering the individual the chance to improve.
While progressive discipline is generally the most effective method of dealing with discipline, it must be practiced within a larger framework. To increase the likelihood of positively influencing employee performance and protecting against legal action, keep Douglas McGregor’s “hot stove rule” in mind: Learn More
So you’ve decided you want to leave your job. OK, it happens. You come to the end of the line. That promotion you thought you’d get never materialised. Your boss is getting on your nerves.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to look elsewhere to earn your daily bread. Let me ask you one question: how should your attitude be while you are seeking new employment?
Most people I speak to tell me that they are downcast, weary and depressed while they are winding down and looking for that new post. Can I suggest you choose a different attitude? Learn More
What do we actually mean by conflict? It can range from a difference of opinion right up to a world-war (and everything in between, of course).
Conflict is the end result of a disagreement between two parties. One party things/feels one thing or takes one position, the other sees it from a different perspective.
So what can you do when faced with this situation that might end up with conflict occurring and how can you approach it so it doesn’t get out of hand?
When in confrontation with a person you may be finding difficult to get along with, ask yourself four questions:
#1 How is my personal belief system creating a picture of the situation?
#2 How is his or her personal belief system creating a picture of the situation?
#3 What questions can I ask this person that will clarify my understanding of their version of the truth (their belief system)?
#4 What information can I give that will help them clarify their understanding of my version of the truth (my belief system)?
Now, asking these questions will help you see things from a different perspective, identifying first of all what you are personally gaining from holding your particular point of view.
Then, by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, you identify their perspective, and the quality questions you ask will help you achieve this goal.
By explaining your view to the other person so they can see your view, both of you are now in a position to look for solutions, rather than digging in to you own positions, unwilling to compromise or collaborate with the other.
Following these questions will clarify the disagreement before they become matters of conflict and help you both focus on finding answers because of understanding each others’ views.
Organising your working and personal life is not just important these days…it’s vital.
You simply cannot manage everything you have to without specific skills, and the most pertinent is how you organise your working day.
We are often asked by managers, how do we get our people to think creatively? We all know that creative thinking is a skill or talent that is highly prized, but how exactly do we encourage it?
Good question. I think it all starts with having the environment that encourages creativity in the first place. We all know that when a manager says she wants people to be creative but then negates creative thought by her actions or words, people will freeze when asked for ideas or input. Make sure that your actions back up your words if you want your staff to be creative.
What we find to be the biggest assistance in creative thought is allowing people to take risks. Don’t look for perfect solutions every time. Reports show that Thomas Edison experimented thousands of times before he found the element that allowed the first electric lightbulb to glow. On the way, he discovered explosive mixtures that blew up his laboratory! If he hadn’t taken risks on the journey, you might still be using candles on your desk!
Research shows that creativity is tied to failure. How? Because creative people are productive people. They have many, many ideas. You want people to come up with lots of ideas because the more ideas people come up with, the more innovative the ideas usually are. Why? Because the first ideas are usually conservative. It is only when you get these conservative ideas out of the way that you start coming up with new ideas – ones that haven’t been tried before – ones that are truly innovative.
Edison had ideas that others considered stupid or bad because they were so different from what people had seen before. So, unless risk is encouraged, people aren’t going to offer an idea that is out of the ordinary, or “bad” or “stupid.”
Remember that conformity will kill creativity every time! Yet what do managers and HR people do? Hire for fit, for culture. In other words, they encourage conformity! I know you have to go by the book sometimes, but how can you encourage something that your culture doesn’t reward?
You might think a person doesn’t have the education or background to be creative. But that attitude will stifle creativity right from the outset. By allowing diversity, you allow creativity.
So how do you motivate people to think creatively? Remember, the best rewards are those that truly motivate the person being rewarded to do the behaviour that you want. If you want increased innovation, then you need to use rewards that have a history of working for creative people.
Try rewarding the behaviours you want by giving people some control over what they work on. Give them a few hours a week or a day or two each month to work on a project that is important to them. And then give them resources for that project – a budget, technology, software, space. The project may be something that you can encourage them in using creative thought. Get them to bounce ideas around. Let the person have full responsibility for it, without inhibitions.
This environment will encourage creative thought and innovation, almost without them knowing it. At least it will change their attitude and actually make them more productive, even increasing their motivation along the way. You never know, the project may even be of major benefit to your department or company!
So, if you want people to find their creativity, create opportunities for them to do so. They might surprise you!