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.”

But They are Boring….

Bored

There are SO many things on your plate right now that having another conversation with [insert that person’s name here – oh, you know who they are!] seems unbearable.

Yes – they deserve your respect, and you DO respect them. But talking to them is just. so. BORING. It feels like you have nothing in common and you’d rather undergo a root canal than getting stuck talking with them at the company happy hour again.

This week we have the treat of having Coach Brooke O’Shea with us to share some tips on what to do if you are talking to someone who you are finding boring.

Take it away, Brooke!

Brooke O'Shea-  Word BubbleDear “Bored”,

From time to time we all find ourselves in scenarios where it is difficult to make meaningful connections with others.  I would encourage you to ask yourself a few questions when in these situations:

  • First, what is your desired goal of engaging with this individual?  
  • Second, what is your counterpart’s potential goal of engaging with you?  
  • Third, are the difficulties you are experiencing based on language barriers, personality types, beliefs, gender, generational differences, etc.?  
  • AND finally, have you considered all options in finding common ground?

Assuming that you and the other party have mutual benefits for connecting, the next step is to consider what barriers you are encountering in finding a common interest.  

While exercising caution to avoid becoming an interrogator, continue to ask open-ended questions around topics you enjoy until you find that thing that the other person’s eyes light up about! I personally find that by asking more questions, I can typically find a topic we both find passion around.   

My “tip” for those who find small talk awkward, prepare a few subjects that interest you ahead of finding yourself in those difficult social situations. Plan to discuss a current book you are reading, a TV show, an exercise routine, upcoming travel plans, the town where you grew up, or where you hope to retire – those can get your juices flowing!

Thanks, Brooke!

Let us know how these tips work for you!

Navigating Your Workplace

Murkey Water

Organizational politics.

I know… those two little words made you shutter. No matter how large or small an organization is—all of them have politics. Regardless of where you are in your organization, navigating these can be tricky!

Terry Hildebrandt, PhD, PCC is back to Middle Seats to share some tips on becoming more political savvy.

Here’s what he’s got to say:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.14.22 PMPolitics do not need to be negative. In fact, one can use political savvy in a very ethical and positive way to expand one’s influence and increase the probability of getting what you want at work and in life.

 

Here are some steps:

 

Step 1: Recognize Key Players

 

In any given scenario there will be key players. The obvious players include the executive sponsor, the team members, any relevant customers or suppliers, and supporting staff. What is less clear are the hidden players that work behind the scenes to influence the stakeholders to make certain decisions or take certain actions.

 

Best Practice: Create a Stakeholder Map listing each of the key players and their roles and relationships.

 

Step 2: Identify Interests

 

Each of the key players identified in step 1 will have their own interests that need to be understood. It is your job to build relationships with the key players in order to understand their true motivations. This will require some time and networking skills to talk to those close to key stakeholders to understand their perspectives.

 

Best Practice: create a table listing all the key players and their interests as they become clear to you.

 

Step 3: Understanding Authority and Power

 

Understanding who has authority (those empowered by the organization to make decisions) and who has power (those who have the ability to influence those in authority to make decisions) among the key players will help you understand how influence flows in an organization, how decisions are made, and how resources get allocated.

 

Best Practice: creating a power and authority map of who has access to the ears of key managers can help you better understand how power and authority flow in your organization.

 

Check back next week for Terry’s final two steps!

Creating Your Goals

SMARTThis week we have the chance to move into actually creating some of our goals, so let’s jump in!

Grab that list of words you created on how you want to describe 2015. Last week we made sure these were all things that inspire us and not tasks we feel we have to do.

Ok – now choose one of the words you wrote down. Let’s dig a bit- what are three things you would need to accomplish to make that word a reality?

Now that you have a starting point, lets hear from Coach Tim Kincaid, to craft these into actionable goals. Tim is an executive Coach who specializes in helping leaders become more focused, effective, and successful.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.55.13 PM“I like the SMART goal approach, which is a popular model.  Run any goal through the SMART filter.

S = Specific

Vague goals render vague results. Specific means you can articulate the details of the goal:

Ask: What do you want to accomplish?  Why is this important and can you name specific benefits or purposes? Who is involved and who will benefit? Where is the location? Which requirements and constraints are anticipated? 

 

M = Measurable

How you will quantify or measure the outcome.

Ask: When the goal is accomplished, state how you will know – what will be different?

What gets measured gets done!

 

A = Actionable / Attainable

State how the goal will be accomplished and results attained.

Ask: What actions are necessary or possible to accomplish the goal?

 

R = Relevant / Realistic

The goal is directly relevant to desired outcome and is a goal that truly matters. The goal also is realistic. It may cause you to really “stretch” but also has a realistic chance of success.

 

T = Time-bounded

A SMART Goal has specific milestones and deadlines to measure progress.

Ask: By when will specific sub tasks and the final goal be completed?  

T= can also stand for Thrilling – is this goal juicy, scary and exciting? There is lots of momentum to Thrilling goals!

Use the SMART criteria to turn those three ideas into achievable goals.

And, doesn’t the progress feel GREAT?

How Do You Handle Conflict?

Now that we’re digging into managing conflict – do you know your conflict management style?

We asked Dr. Terry Hildebrandt, Professional Certified Coach and co- author of Leading Business Change for Dummies, about different ways to manage conflict. Here’s what he had to say:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.14.22 PM

When we think of conflict, often we assume that there is only one way to handle it. Kenneth W. Thomas (2002) and Ralph Kilmann have actually identified five strategies to deal with conflict – each having strengths and weaknesses. Managing conflict is a critical management skill that involves partnering with others, building relationships, effectively listening, and negotiation.

Conflict arises when our desires or concerns are at odds with someone else’s desires or concerns. The five conflict styles are a function of two variables: (a) how much you try to satisfy your own concerns, known as assertiveness, and (b) how much you try to satisfy others’ concerns, known as cooperativeness. Here is a brief overview of each style.

Competing: This is perhaps what most of us consider when we think of conflict. We try to win or get what we want, and the other party loses. Competing is high assertiveness and low cooperativeness.

Accommodating: When we accommodate, we give the other person what they want but forgo our own needs or desires. We are unassertive and cooperative.

Avoiding: Many people prefer to avoid conflict altogether. In this case, we are unassertive and uncooperative.

Compromising: When we comprise, we get some of what we want and the other party also gets something, but neither party gets all of their concerns met. We take an intermediate position on both assertiveness and cooperativeness

Collaborating: Much has been written the last decade on the value of collaboration or creating “win-win” solutions. Here we are both assertive and cooperative. Not only do we ensure that our own concerns are addressed, we also take on the concerns of the other party and work together to meet their needs as well.

Terry has gone into some more depth on these conflict styles on his blog.

So, this week, think about which category of conflict management you usually work in.

Then, think about a current or past conflict and determine which type of management style would be best in creating a resolution!

The Art of Scaling Questions

PROGRESS!

It’s been quite a journey of delegation! We looked at a number of reasons why we don’t delegate. And, we addressed what we will do after we delegate, overcoming the fears of imperfection, and what to do when we feel like we don’t have time to delegate.

Last week we explored the strategy on how to increase what we do by 10x or over 100%. So, did you think about what it is you want to increase?

Sometimes, when there is a goal we want to reach it is difficult to know the steps needed to get there.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach, suggested using “progressive delegation” and “scaling questions” to work up to the desired goal.

To start with scaling questions, imagine a scale from 0- 10, 10 being where you are a delegating rockstar. Identify where you currently are on the scale.

Got your number? Ok – now answer these questions:

  • What did you do to get from 0 to where you are at now?
  • What have you done that has worked well?
  • Where do you want to get to?
  • What does reaching that goal mean or look like to you?
  • What is one small step you can take that will bring you closer to your goal?

Using these questions gives you a clear look at where you are starting, where you have come from, and gives you some manageable ideas on steps that you can take to achieve your goal.

This week, let’s think about where we want to increase by 10X using the scaling questions above!