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Getting the best from team members


Principles That Lead To Better Performance


It’s among the most frequent questions asked by managers on our programmes: How do I get the best performance out of my employees? How do I manage performance well enough to get the best results? Learn More

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How To Make Sure They Get it Right First Time

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On one of our programs, a manager remarked that he had a team member who, no matter how he gave directions of what should be done, always failed to comply. It wasn’t a matter of competence or illiteracy…they just failed to do what was asked of them to the degree required. He asked what he should do.

We worked on a checklist similar to the one below. See if you can add any more ideas to the list.

* Concentrate on the ‘when’ it needs to be done by. Confirm that the deadline is within the reach of the employee and that both of you are aware of any other priorities that might get in the way.

* Ensure the employee knows the reason for the task and the benefits of achieving the right result.

When you give instructions, pay attention to these specifics:

  • The right time. When is the right time? When the employee is able to give their full attention and concentration
  • The right way. Relate to the employee. Adapt to their learning style, their communication style and their level of vocabulary
  • Visual reference. When possible, provide a tangible example of what you are looking for from the employee, a sample, model, diagram, graphic, report or rendering.
  • Pause for questions. After every few steps ask “Are you clear, or do you have questions?”
  • Ask for a replay. Don’t ask “Did you get it?” or “Do you understand?” Not all employees will say “No” for fear of looking stupid. Instead, ask them to clarify what needs to be done in their own words, with deadlines and quality criteria clearly covered
  • Progress reports. Does the task require interim follow-up? Then say something like “Let’s get together next Tuesday at 9am so you can bring me up to date. OK?”

After the task is completed, give the employee feedback, positive and, if necessary, corrective. Then, assess your effectiveness. If anything went wrong, is there some aspect of your communication you could improve on next time?

By identifying what level of communication is right for the employee, there is less chance of there being a problem with them carrying out the ideas you have discussed with them.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy by Digital Art of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Nurture Your Team To Achieve Results

We had beautiful weather in our part of the world during April. May hasn’t been as good, but we still had some sun and it’s definitely warming up.

Before you check to see if you’ve accidentally stumbled on the weather blog(!) can I just say that my purpose isn’t to give you small-talk or just converse about my sun-tan! No, actually, the weather got me out in the garden tending to my plants and the grass, and it reminded me of how we as managers play an important part in the development of our staff.

You see, as a gardener, I plant, nurture, tend and develop my seedlings into wonderful, colourful blooms. Without my help, they will still grow, but maybe not to their full potential. I put some liquid food onto some of my plants and have already seen excellent results, much better than expected.

I also decided this year to use better quality compost than I did last year, and have spent more time feeding and nurturing them.

How does this apply to us as managers?

Well, think of the soil as the environment in which you grow your people. What quality atmosphere do you create at work for them? Do you plant the seeds of doubt in their mind as to the quality of work they’re producing, or do you encourage their growth and achievement with praise and recognition for what they do?

How about as they are growing towards potential? How do you support that growth? The liquid food I referred to is the opportunity they have to expand and create, using initiative and resourcefulness. Whatever you feed and nurture becomes their natural way of working.

As a gardener would tend to their plants, you as a manager should be seen to be tending to the growth of your team members. By delegating responsibility, by coaching their skills, by training their development, by encouraging their achievements, you build their confidence and their willingness to succeed, along with their motivation to progress.

Think of yourself as a gardener and your team as your plants to nurture. Storms may come and go and the quality of the soil may be severely tested at times, but the hardy plants will always survive to fight another day. By creating the foundation for your team to grow, you offer opportunities for them to achieve more and better results. And you’ll receive the accolades of others as they see your team bloom to full potential!

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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