The Management Blog

Tips & advice to help you improve your performance


getting the best out of teams

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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   | Image courtesy by Digital Art of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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6 Steps To Recognising Individuals At Work

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.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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The Keys To Effective Team Management

Ask why a person joins a sales team, and they will normally answer because of the quality of the manager. Ask why they stay with that team and it’s usually because of the quality of the manager. Ask why they leave, and it’s often because of the quality of the manager.

You play a vital role in keeping the team together. Your position is vital in raising or decreasing the morale and motivation of the team. We have often seen people on our courses who are complaining about how things are in their working environment.

When questioned about this, it invariably comes down to how their immediate manager is handling things that will determine how this person will react long-term.

As manager, we know that we have to spend time specifically with individuals within our team. But what can you specifically do to make sure these team members are kept motivated, energised and convinced they should add their time and efforts to your team goals?

Here are some ideas:

* Practice participative management: People closer to the front line have more day-to-day experiences of what actually happens in the real world, whether it’s on the shop floor, in front of the customer or out in the field.

By tapping into this knowledge, you can find out exactly what’s going on and identify how you can help people achieve their goals. Participative leaders know they don’t know all the answers, and they encourage their team to share information on what they see as the best way forward.

Listen closely. They may have some golden nuggets that you hadn’t thought of before.

* Be clear in your expectations: Unclear expectations will only cause confusion and negativity. A laser will burn a hole in piece of material that a flashlight never could.

Similarly, a clear, specific, focused objective can be the key to ensuring quality results pinpointed in exactly the right areas.

* Build their self-esteem: This has been described as the degree to which people feel praiseworthy. By building people’s self-confidence in what they are doing, you tap into the potential that is inside every person, and you create a base from which to build great results.

Keep any praise genuine, honest and non-patronising. The self-worth you build in your team will be well worth the time and effort you put in.

* Keep the lines of communication open: People kept in the dark feel lost and can start rumours based on what they think the meaning is of being short-changed in the communication stakes.

Don’t add fuel to the inevitable rumour fire by keeping information to yourself. Each person has a deep need to feel they a part of something bigger than themselves and if you refuse to communicate, they will defensively recoil back into their own area of security. That should be the last thing you want, so make sure you keep those lines open.

* Remember the three keys of motivation: Reward, Recognition, Responsibility. They have to be made in unison, as it will not be very uplifting if someone gets the responsibility they’ve been craving, the recognition for a job well done, and no reward for it.

Make sure there’s some cohesion between the three, and you’ll tap into the potential that lies in everyone.

All the above will provide reasons for loyalty, commitment and motivation if you approach it correctly and follow through on your promises. The effective team manager will create a great team, concentrated on results and high achievement.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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