5 Tips for Managing Others

mayur-gala-487It should not be a surprise to me, but the more I deliver training in the  management and leadership space, the more I see that many people struggle with the supervision of others. I wonder if many of us overthink the problems and see problems where they don’t exist. We need to realise that we won’t get it right all the time – people are diverse and sometimes will react predictably and sometimes (maybe more often) will not. None of us is perfect, so we will all, at times, make mistakes, react badly or put our foot in it.

So here are some things I try to live by (and I do not always get it right either)

1. Give people the benefit of the doubt

I work on the basis that most people want to come to work and do a good job, they want to go home and feel good about the effort they have made.

Have an expectation that people will do well. When things go wrong try to find out why, rather than lay blame.  Accept that people will do things in a different way than you,  work hard to resist the urge to micro-manage (even though it might be the first reaction).

This philosophy goes hand in hand with a mindset that sees the good in people. Where are they most skilled, how can you help them to build on that skill, how can you compensate for their lack of skill in another area?

Try it, you will be amazed at how amazing people really are.

2. Provide support where it is needed

Support for your team comes in many forms.  It is the training you provide, the resources to do a good job, the flexibility in hours, the time off when needed, the listening ear, the direction…

In providing support for your team you will come up against the equal versus equitable dilemma. How can you treat everyone the same and also allow for differences in circumstances?

Think about the people in your team. How many have school age children and struggle with school holidays when both partners work- can you accommodate them?  Can the people who have English (and Kiwi English at that) as a second language communicate as effectively with their clients as others- how can you help them?  Does the person who struggles with mental health need a quiet place to work from time to time? Is there someone in the “sandwich generation” who is managing aging parents and teenage children at the same time- how can you support them?

Think of it as an investment in your people, not as a cost and you will reap the returns.

3. Deal with conflict

Conflict is inevitable whenever you get a few people together. Conflict isn’t necessarily bad, so long as it is handled positively. Disagreements can result in much needed change, new ideas and innovation. As a team leader, it is important that conflict is dealt with quickly and positively.

Keep an eye out for behaviour that may result in bullying or harassment and stop it straight away. It is not easy to raise issues, but it is important that you do.

Have those courageous conversations and you will see good results.

4. Manage change

Change is something that we all need to get used to, however, many people do not cope well with change. Supporting people by providing good direction and clear communication about change will help them to navigate changing work environments.

Sometimes people will not recognise their own resistance to change, by getting to know your staff you will understand how best to help them.

5. Have fun

And one of the most important things to remember is to have fun. Your work and business require serious attention, however it is important that everyone has a chance to stop and have fun.

As a team leader you can influence the fun that your team has. Don’t take yourself too seriously,  celebrate successes and (sometimes) failures, allow time for team members to be a bit silly sometimes- whatever works for your team will be good for business.

There are, of course, many other things you need to think of when managing a team. Try to do these five things well and good things will follow.

If you need support in this area, get in touch to talk about how I can help.

Building the Jigsaw

hans-peter-gauster-252751-unsplash (1)I often use the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle when talking about implementation within an organisation.

A jigsaw can serve its function with one or two pieces missing, but you notice the gaps. Any more than a few, and the picture may not make sense.

 

What are all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle for your organisation?

Two models that I use when assessing gaps are:

  1. People, Process, Product – this model has its origins in Quality Management and is reasonably self explanatory. In order for organisations to be successful they need to have a good understanding of the product or service they provide, have standards for that product or service, have good processes that deliver to that standard in an efficient and compliant manner and have people with all the skills and attributes required to follow those process to deliver the product or service.
  2. Needs of individual, team and task – this model looks at the overlapping needs of all three components to ensure that an organisation is addressing them, it also highlights you can’t meet one set of needs at the expense of another. The needs of the task can be framed as the resources and processes needed to complete the task, the team needs to be able to work together and grow together and each individual brings their own set of needs to work (eg fair pay,  training, flexible working, sense of belonging or doing something worthwhile etc)

Have you created a complete jigsaw in your organisation, or are there bits missing?

If you would like support in this area contact us 

Sunrise, Sunset

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I live in provincial New Zealand. Our towns and city are small. We are well networked and we know a lot about each other. We like to do business with people we know and trust. We are interested in new people and businesses, but we like them to make a connection and engage with us too.

The other day I noticed another retail business having a closing down sale, a national brand that hasn’t been there long, and I reflected on the businesses that have gone and those that look like they’ll be gone soon too.  Many of them have come into town, set up a pretty shop and waited for us to come to them.

I belong to communities that are active in the social media space. We are well networked, we know a lot about each other. We like to do business with people we know and trust. We are interested in new people and businesses, but we like them to make a connection and engage with us too.

I see many people and businesses set up on-line accounts and then give up after a while because it hasn’t given them the results they wanted. They have set  up pretty accounts, told us what they do, and waited for us to come to them.

I have read much about the changing face of retail, of business, of work, of life due to the phenomenon of “on-line social”.  That the sun has gone down on the old ways of doing things in favour of those who have embraced new technologies.

But I think the rules are the same. Those that actively engage, connect and recognise the needs of their community will flourish. Those that sit and wait for people to come to them will not.  I am a big fan of social media, but I have reached the conclusion that I love it because it enhances what I do anyway. I have always been a connector, a networker, an active community person. Social media gives me another forum and another tool to extend my networks and my communities.

To enhance your business, or your career – GET SOCIAL, ENGAGE. In person or on-line, tell people who you are, make connections, create communities of interest.

Having a thick skin

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In New Zealand at the moment there is a high profile harassment case which is polarising the public, despite none of us knowing what actually occurred.

The public reaction is an interesting glimpse into the psyche of a nation that prides itself on being first to give women the vote. When it involves a man’s career over a woman’s, the choice seems to be that the man’s career is more important.

It also highlights that an organisation “following a process” can end up at a point it probably didn’t intend to get to. Allowing a high profile executive to “leave with dignity” (and I can imagine the conversations that occurred) following findings of serious misconduct has been conducted publicly, providing a forum for the allegations to be rationalised.

The right to “privacy and confidentiality” of the complainant has left her without a voice.

The core of the issue though, is how we expect people to treat each other in the workplace. I have been in the workforce for a long time, long before sexual harassment had a label or a law covering it.  Most of my career has been in a male dominated environment and I will say that, for the most part, I have been treated with absolute respect as an equally valued staff member and colleague. There was sexism, and some behaviour that could be considered to be harassment.

One of the best descriptions I ever heard about sexism is that is is like a cloud, you can see it, you may even feel it, but you cannot touch it or grab hold of it. Much of the behaviour that contributes to harassment is the same.

It is the joke that if you complain about you have no sense of humour, it is the patronising language that is “just what I say, I don’t mean anything by it”, it is the body language, touching and close proximity that is uncomfortable but isn’t visibly threatening, it is the mild flirting that is ‘harmless”. Harassment is likely to be a combination of all of these behaviours.

What is the result of this behaviour? In most instances it doesn’t escalate to a dangerous level, it is often carried out by “a good guy” and doesn’t result in criminal behaviour.

It does result in the recipient feeling uncomfortable, they may question why they need to put up with it and they may leave for another job, they may not be able to have a good working relationship with the person because of this discomfort and fear of where it is going next, they may be absent on days when they feel most vulnerable, it may result in sub optimal performance.

Are you doing everything you can to make sure everyone in your organisation feels valued, has the opportunity to contribute equally and relishes the opportunity to come to work to make a difference?  Or do you expect people to harden up, learn how to take a joke and develop a thicker skin?