How to be a Great Manager if You Tend to be Diplomatic and You Need to Drive Results

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This week we have Coach Shannon Goodwin with us sharing her thoughts on how to be a great Manager if you tend to be diplomatic and you have got to drive some results!

Take it away, Shannon!

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“If you are a Manager who tends to be diplomatic, that is often an indicator that you have high interpersonal sensitivity and that you easily and effectively build positive relationships across the organization. These are valuable skills!

 

For Managers who have the strength of diplomacy, there are times when driving results and confronting performance issues can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re one of them:

 

Use your natural ability to build positive relationships! Understand individual motivators and match mission-critical business projects to the people who will be motived by them.

 

Learn as much as you can about your people– their motivators, career goals, skills and talents. That way, when you need to assign a project or task to drive results, you can look for opportunities to match the people on your team with the projects that will be motivating for them!

 

If the task or project isn’t that exciting or inspirational, recognize and emphasize the value that the task or requirement brings to the company, clients, or the bottom line.

 

The key here is to be genuine and not to try to put the proverbial ‘lipstick on a pig’ or over represent the excitement or attraction of the task if it isn’t there.

 

Make performance goals as clear as possible.

 

Most of us have heard about the importance of having SMART goals. Whenever possible, apply the SMART framework with your team to make sure that their performance expectations are clear.

 

When we have SMART goals, it becomes much easier to assess whether or not they were achieved.

 

When someone didn’t meet expectations, have a candid conversation with them to find out what happened.

 

Most people who are high in diplomacy are not as eager to have these conversations. Whether we’re comfortable with them or not, it is often helpful to prepare ahead of time and to use an approach that will facilitate a constructive conversation.  Below are some tips that you can use to prepare:

  • Plan what you want to say ahead of time; practice aloud and/or write down a few bullets to help you remember your key points. Stay factual and avoid being accusatory or judgmental.

 

Be in a state of curiosity and inquiry; ask open-ended questions. Listen and breathe. Reiterate what you heard.

  • “Mary, the XYZ report was due on Monday. I didn’t see the report in my inbox. What happened?”
  • “So, you wanted to get the report done and you were traveling back from China when your laptop battery died before you had a chance to send it?”

Reiterate the business need. Let the person explore and own the solution. Encourage multiple options.

  • “The XYZ reports need to be submitted by Monday so that we can accurately report the metrics to corporate and ensure all of the commissions are counted before they go to payroll.” 
  • “What could you do to avoid this in the future and ensure that the XYZ report is submitted in time?” 
  • “What else could you try?”
    • Set a time to follow up, if needed.
  • “When would you like to follow up on this?”
  • “Would you mind sending me a calendar invite for that?”

Thank you, Shannon!!

Staying Engaged in your Work

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In wrapping up our tips for working from home we’ve got our team member, Audra Brown, on how to stay engaged while working at home. Take it away, Audra!

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 11.08.19 AMThere are days when I can honestly say I miss my life in a cubicle, when getting my job done required little more than the subtle motivations of the workplace: my boss sitting in the glass office across from me, my co-workers entrenched on similar projects, and the constant team meetings, lunch, and water cooler breaks.

Working from home with two small children means that getting my “office” work done with excellence is a whole lot more exciting to accomplish! My role as a work-from-home mom requires me to operate in an environment of constant demands and a timetable that is variable at best.

Although organization (what’s that again?) and time management (wait, you can manage time?!) are key pieces to meeting my deadlines and ensuring I am focused and engaged, I have also found that motivating myself properly is a significant piece in achieving success in an otherwise, as I like to call it, hostile work environment.

It has been said that the best jobs are the ones you love and happen to get paid for. Who doesn’t want to have the best job? I try to make mine just that by finding ways to love what I do, even if that connection isn’t naturally there in the beginning.

Here are some ways I try to engage myself with my work:

  1. Find the areas of each project/task that play to my strengths. How can I exercise my strengths to not only do a good job but possibly take it to the next level?
  2. Define why I care about the outcome and/or the people that will be on the receiving end of it
  3. Discover pieces of my work in which I can incorporate slices of fun, interest, color, or insight
  4. Figure out if I can grow myself as a person through this task and come out more skilled or learned on the other end
  5. Reinforce my vision of the end goal and how I want to feel at the end of it. Recognize what it is going to take to get me there

Lastly, I would add that remembering that I control this project and my attitude towards it (and not the other way around) always takes a bit of the pressure off, allowing me the freedom to truly enjoy my work and take it where it needs to go no matter what hour of the day, night, or weekend I’m working on it!

Working At Home

Working At Home

As the world gets more and more virtual, so does our work. Studies have shown that 3.7 million employees (2.5% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and more and more companies are moving to be totally virtual.

Sound exciting? We agree – at CRN, we’re proud to be in those ranks as well.

BUT – if you have worked from home for even a small portion of your week, you might have found some interesting traits about yourself and home/work style:

  1. You are so PRODUCTIVE. When you’re not concerned about the commute home, worrying if you locked the front door, or if you have to sign for that delivery – some of the typical stress of being away from your dwelling is completely out of mind and taken care of. You also don’t have the social cues to head to Starbucks with a colleague, or spend a bit more time at the proverbial water cooler, so those extra minutes are spent knocking things out!
  2. Some days, it’s harder to stay focused on the tasks at hand. AND stay motivated. The joy of working from home is that you’re, well, at home. The not-so-joy? All of the off-work distractions are front and center – and there’s no one physically there to hold you accountable.
  3. I’m kind of lonely. It’s harder to fulfill that basic human interaction need when all you’re doing is staring at a computer screen!

What other aspects have you found out about yourself while working from home?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a few of our Team’s tips and tricks on how to keep the work-at-home productivity rockin’ and the distractors at bay – to have the most productive, work-at-home day ever.

Stay tuned!

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!

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

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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.