Motivating the Chatty Ones

Motivating the Chatty Ones

You’ve finally decided to connect with your team members on Facebook.

And now, you get new notifications of your team members tagging each other in photos every Friday and Saturday night.

You knew that they were chatty at work but you didn’t realize that all their socializing was encouraged by them hanging out together outside of work too.

Sometimes, the chemistry of your team can seem to take away from their productivity. You don’t want to kill the camaraderie but your team has got to get the work done. Over the coming weeks we’ll hear from two Coaches on some strategies on how to work with your sociable team.

This week we have Coach Trish Brooks from Ottawa, Canada with some suggestions and questions to motivate your team so that socializing doesn’t get in the way of results.

Let’s check out what Trish has to say!

“This is a multi-faceted problem, and there may be several interventions that the manager must make. Today let’s look at one important one – is the team fully engaged with their job. Research has shown that the social part of the job is not a significant reason people come to a company, or stay with a company – it’s not a ‘motivator’. Employees typically leave companies (even though they have great social connections) because the work is not stimulating and they are not developing. If employees are not ‘getting things done’ it means they are likely not motivated to do the work.

So, the first question to ask is ‘are my employees motivated in their jobs?’

  • Is the job aligned with what is important to them?
  • Is their work interesting and are they learning and growing in their job?
  • Are they being recognized, and feel valued? Are they feeling a sense of accomplishment day-to-day?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above, then it is unlikely that socializing is getting in the way of the work. If employees are bored with the work and are not growing, then socializing will be what they do instead of work.

The best way for a leader to determine whether or not their employees are motivated is to have a discussion that asks questions like:

  • What are a couple of recent accomplishments you feel especially good about?
  • What part of your work interests or challenges you the most and least?
  • What’s important to you and what do you value at work? Is there a good match between what is important to you and what this organization provides?
  • Do you feel valued and recognized for what you accomplish here?

The manager can then determine what the next step is. For example, the manager could:

  • Modify the job objectives so there is more challenge/accomplishment/growth for the employee or help the employee move to a job that is better aligned to their interests
  • Ensure that people are not hired that are overqualified for the job (because they will likely get bored within the first year)
  • Recognize the accomplishments of employees
  • Hold employees accountable, and provide feedback, so they know what is expected (and know what accomplishment looks like)
  • Move people before they get bored in a job. Typically people need a new challenge every three years.

If employees are energized about their jobs, they will still socialize, but it will be aligned with the goals of the group. People get energized, and have fun, when they have common goals that they accomplish together.”

Thanks, Trish! Let’s try these tactics out this week and see what we uncover. And, make sure to come back next week for some more tips!

Beginning Collaboration

Beginning Collaboration

You’ve just received a multi-layered and pretty complex project from management. *deep breath*

You know that if you break up the work each team member can get the job done but you’ve really been wanting to encourage your team to work together more.

This week we have Coach Mike Lim with us on one tip he would recommend to start bringing that change!

Take it away, Mike!

Mike“Great individuals need an inspiring leader to garner them together. First things first, you need to be the ‘beacon’ to get them excited about the project.

One tip is to share the benefit of how this project can help the team members build visibility in their work and as a team. Hence, you need to be able to articulate purpose and benefit statements such as:

  • This is a critical project that requires the team to …
  • When this project succeeds, this creates more visibility to the work that we …

As this may not be a high performance team just yet, you will have to ensure that you communicate the outcome and set clear guidelines on roles and responsibilities. You may need to have an open discussion to know each individual skills-set and what they can bring to the table in this project team.

It is certainly useful for you to understand the Tuckman’s team model. Teams go through the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming before Performing.  Keep an eye open to how the group interacts and ascertain the stage(s) they are in throughout the project timeline. This being said, you will have to steer the team through the ‘waters’ to become a high-performing team.”

Thanks, Mike!

This week, try sharing with your team why working together will be beneficial to their career! And, let us know how sharing this encourages the mood of the team!

One encouragement, what you are hoping to do is change the culture of your team and this will take some time. Stick with it!

As Yoda would say… “Great manager, you are! And, more collaboration in your future.”

Your Ever-Changing Team

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 10.43.13 AM

Whether you’ve been a manager for 2 weeks or 20 years, I think we can all agree that building teams that work well together is an art.

Teams are always changing – even if you’ve had the same people working for you for a significant amount of time, the individuals are continuing to change and grow, and in turn, your team changes and grows.

Over the next couple of weeks, a few of our great Coaches will share suggestions on how to promote more collaboration and encourage efficiency with chatty members.

Before we dive into how to grow as a team, spend 10 or 15 minutes this week thinking about your team.

  • How would you (or others!) currently describe your team?
  • What do you want your team to be known for?
  • How do you want your team to grow over the next year?

Thinking about where you want to lead your people to is the first step in getting there!

The End of Summer Blues

The End of Summer Blues

On the last day of July, we can all feel it. The summer we were longing for is feeling like it has slowly begun to slip away and soon enough it will be September again.

Most of us probably did not get to sit in a hammock above a beach and just relax for a few days.

So, how do you engage with your team as they are beginning to feel the “end of summer blues” too?

One tip is to give them something to look forward to for the rest of the year! What does this actually look like?

We’d suggest taking 30 minutes over the next week or two to meet with each team member.

Begin by asking engaging questions about them.

How are they doing? What are they enjoying about their job? Why? What would they like to do more of? What are they passionate about?

As they are talking, really listen to what they are saying and seek to understand more of who they are and where they are coming from.

At the end of your time together, decide on one thing that they can do as a result of this conversation.

This won’t necessarily take away the blues of another summer that has slipped away but it probably will give each team member something to look forward to in the weeks to come!

OOO- Returning On Monday

OOO- Returning On Monday

… In my absence please connect with Devin Jones for any urgent matters, otherwise I will connect with you once I return…

Your stomach sinks. You NEED to connect with Sam to complete your project for your boss and now she’s on vacation for a week?!

Remember when vacations use to be fun? It seems like at some stage in your life vacations made an abrupt shift – now all you think about is when someone is out of the office how much it throws off your week and creates more work for you.

Somewhere along the way, we started (secretly or not-so-secretly) regretting when others take time off of work. And, making sure that business goals are still met when you have Mary out this week, Simone getting married the week after, and Matt who’s wife is pregnant and may have the baby at any time now, can be a challenge.

How do you keep your team encouraged (and unified) when it seems like they won’t all be together for the next two months?

Sport It Up: Set up a Frisbee game/ happy hour one day after work for everyone who is around. Or, if your team doesn’t like to play sports, set up a time to go see a local baseball game.

Take It Outside: I know, this one seems a little cliché but for a couple of your meetings, schedule it during lunch and take your team outside. It is amazing what a little extra sunlight can do to your mood!

Celebrate the Returns: There is nothing more disheartening (well, that’s a little dramatic) than coming back to work and wishing you had one more day of vacation. So, as people are coming back to the office, send out a “welcome back” email or 20-minute coffee break to celebrate their return!

Let us know how these work for you or what you do to keep your team unified in the summer!

Listening… Even When You’re Busy!

No body hates a listener

You can see your colleague’s mouth moving, but the words are starting to drift off…

*ding, ding*

Your phone busses with an email from a client

No… focus, what was he saying again?

*Knock, knock* at your door… it’s your boss –

“Hey, quick reminder, we’ve got that business development meeting in 10 minutes, don’t be late”.

“I’ll be there!” you say quickly.

Ok – refocus… You look at your colleague and say, “I’m sorry, so in wrapping up….”

Ultimately, we want to listen – but in the busyness of life, it is so easy to get distracted.

And, for some of us, really listening can be challenging.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing from some of our great Coaches on tips on how to listen well, even when it’s hard!

Need help right now? If you’re finding it difficult to really focus on what the person you are talking to is saying, here are a couple of tips to start with:

  1. Put your phone on silent (this is such an easy distractor when it’s buzzing!)
  1. Prepare yourself to listen (relax and get comfortable)
  1. Try to really understand the other person’s point of view (ask “how” or “what” questions to gather even greater understanding)
  1. Listen to both words AND tone to gauge a deeper understanding of what they are thinking or feeling
  1. Watch for non-verbal communication cues for other feelings or reactions (these can be facial expressions, eye movements, or gestures).

Try these out and let us know how they go!

Your Team is Great… How Do You Let Them Know?

I Appreciate you!

Pressure. Deadlines. Meetings. More meetings. New ideas. Client calls. The list goes on.

Your team works so hard, pushes through all of it with a smile (well, most of the time!), and continues to perform fabulously.

In the craziness of the business, it’s hard to find the time to tell your team more than “great work!”. We have Coach Kathryn Haber with us this week, giving some tips on how to show your team you appreciate them.

Here what Kathryn has to say:

Kathryn HaberI show appreciation for my team by getting to know each person on my team as people. I know their styles – perhaps their Myers Briggs (tag site) and their Top 5 Strengths from the StrengthFinder (tag site) – and leverage this information in working with them.  

 

I know how they prefer to communicate and try to adjust my style accordingly. I celebrate our [my team’s] successes and am understanding of mistakes – we are all human.

 

We will learn from our mistakes and do better next time. 

 

I make sure we have frequent team meetings and 1:1 meetings and set clear expectations. I ask about their aspirations and provide them with opportunities to be successful. I remove roadblocks for them. 

 

We get together quarterly for team building and work session meetings. We get together out of the office quarterly, too. 

 

I give my team members the benefit of the doubt because I know them as people and know their intentions. I advocate for my team in other parts of the organization. 

 

Lastly, I tell them frequently that I appreciate them, individually and as a team.  I give them specific, concrete examples of their success and the impact they have had on the team and the business.  In addition, I ensure that our team members have the opportunity to share feedback with one another.  We all have development plans in place to help us be better professionals and team members.  As a result, we all improve our effectiveness and this ultimately betters the business.

Wow, Kathryn! I feel inspired just by hearing what you do! Don’t you?

We’d suggest you choose one of these things to start with!

So, what are you going to do this week to inspire your team?

Social Media, Switching Jobs, and Your Team?

MillimilasAs your company continues to grow and hire new staff, you recognize a trend: your company is getting younger. More and more of the staff you walk by in the hallways (of course sending a slight smile their way because you don’t want to be that guy) seem to be millennials, and a lot of them are now on your team.

And they give you a run for your money! Calling online conversations being “social”, shopping more online than in stores, feeling like they should always be considered for the next promotion, and if they aren’t moving up the ladder quickly enough – switching jobs to get to the job title/pay they are looking for (all before age 30!).

Millennials are the future of your organization, but sometimes it feels like you’re at a loss on how to connect with them at a base level.

If this is you, listen up! We have Coach Mary Murphy joining us to bring a little more insight into how to connect with (and motivate!) a younger generation.

Take it away Mary!

Mary jpeg“One key tip that millennial team members tell me that motivates them is – ‘Ask us what we need to perform at our best and then engage us in making this happen.’  What they say frustrates and de-motivates them is when they are asked for their input by the team leader or their manager and then there is no follow-up!

 From an article in the Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) entitled “Five Things I Learned from Millennials, the author Nicole Gallucci shares and expands upon top recommendations:

  1. When in doubt, Google it
  2. Seize the moment 
  3. There’s no excuse for not connecting
  4. Call it as you see it
  5. Do what you love or don’t complain

I love tip number #1 and often recommend it to the individuals I coach.  For example, when I hear, “I want to increase my executive presence”, I ask the individual what skills they would need to develop in order to achieve this goal.  Often the coachee is unsure of what executive presence really means or looks like for them.  So, we check Google to learn more about the behaviors and skills which help to successfully demonstrate executive presence.”

Thanks for the tip, Mary!

Try out some of these tips for connecting with millennials and let us know how it goes!

PS. We’ve got some millennials too, so we’ll let you know how these tips work for us!  🙂

Connecting with Your Team

Tired Team Image

Patience is wearing thin in meetings, pod-mates are starting to bicker, and a lot more coffee has been flowing from the office coffeepot than you’d like to acknowledge.

We’ve all had those days/weeks/quarters – you can tell your team is tired.

There have been pressing deadlines and long days and exciting things happening in the business, but you can tell that something more is needed than just thanking your team for all their hard work.

This week we have Coach Bonnie Davis with us to share a tip on how to help motivate a tired team.

Take it away Bonnie!

Bonnie Davis“One tool that I have found works well to motivate a team that has a high degree of trust with each other and their manager is an exercise called “Hard Truths.”   This can be led by the manager or a neutral facilitator.

 

I would open the exercise by first acknowledging the current work environment, share how it’s been impacting me personally, also share what I see as the positive aspects, and then ask them to share their “hard truths” about why they are tired.  

 

Hard truths are facts that are difficult that we deal with. and though we often can’t control them, we can do our best to lessen their negative impacts. 

 

The goal?

 

To give the team the time and space to explore what is difficult at work so they feel someone is listening and cares, and then they can figure out how to move past it and support each other.   

 

Each person should share something that is difficult in the current environment, such as customer demands, organizational change, new leadership, too many projects, and so on. There are no “wrong answers” — everyone’s perspective is valid. 

 

Then, the group should select 2-3 of these “hard truths” as focus areas that they feel could make the greatest impact once solved. 

 

Finally, they should do a brainstorm on 1-2 solutions for each focus area. 

 

The manager should close the meeting by once again acknowledging everyone’s hard work and where it’s paying off, reiterate his or her support, encourage each team member to follow up directly if they’d like to talk about it some more, and then set a follow up meeting for about thirty days later when the group can hold themselves accountable for the actions and see how they’ve progressed.”

 

Thanks, Bonnie!

What a great suggestion on how to encourage you team to talk about what has been tiring and brainstorm solutions on how to move past it together.

Try this with your team and let us know how it goes!

Whispers, Facebook, and Motivation?

Disengaged Team

Smack in the middle of your team-building outing you’ve been planning for your team for weeks (and worked your butt off to get funding for from your boss) you see Sally whipping out her cell phone and hitting the ‘FaceBook’ icon.

You look around the room and see Travis yawning, Dan whispering to his pod-mate, and Chris smirking.

OUCH!

One of the worst feelings is when you can tell that someone you are around is bored. And when you can tell your team is bored? Even more painful.

Now what?

This week we have Coach Rich Grenhart, Psy.D. with us to tackle this challenging issue.

Dr. Rich, I have a disengaged team, what is one tip you would give to motivate them?

RichDiagnose before you act!

Do not assume you understand the root of your team’s disengagement.

Speak individually to each team member to get a clear understanding of what underlies the lack of team motivation.

Use this information to craft a strategic intervention.

Connecting with each team member, individually, will give you extra insight into why each person is dis-engaged and how this is affecting you team as a whole.