The Slump

The Slump

You’re over half way there!

To where, you wonder…

You’ve almost made it through the January 2nd — Memorial Day SLUMP.

Have you even noticed that in March (and sometimes April too) you and your team feel a little on edge, and you are just longing for a day (or week) off?

WE HAVE!

And, we call it “the slump”.

You are on the longest stretch of the year where you and your colleagues don’t have a common day off. So even if you’ve taken a day (or two), everything else in the organization kept rolling.

So, what can you do to keep morale up?

Change it up!

Need some ideas:

  • Bring in bagels and coffee one morning
  • Create a count down for SOMETHING (even if it’s a small, common task that all of your Team has), and then celebrate when you hit it!
  • Let everyone go home early one Friday afternoon

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It is the little things that bring everyone’s experiences back together and say “I see you … thanks for ALL you do!”

The Battle for Focus

The Battle for Focus

We’re on week two with your chatty team! Did you have a chance to reflect on some of the questions Trish asked last week?

We hope those gave you a place to start. This week we’ve got Coach Sue Oliver based out of Texas on how to leverage the camaraderie of your team to get things done.

Take it away, Sue!

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“The ‘battle for focus’ is one we all wage daily.

We want to motivate and inspire our teams to operate at their best; yet, there are so many opportunities for distractions.

We all know a team in conflict can easily lose focus. A team that gets along well socially and has positive chemistry can also be impacted.

How? The camaraderie and enjoyment of being part of a team that gets along well together can pose a challenge in getting things done.

So, how do you harness the best of what a good team with positive chemistry can achieve without falling victim to unproductive distractions?

One tip is to draw on the positive chemistry of the team to involve them as solution owners.

What does this actually look like?

  • Begin by gathering the team together and laying out the situation transparently
  • Let them know you see the team’s camaraderie as a strength, except when it poses challenges to getting things done
  • Share with the team what the lack of focus looks like
  • Let the team know that you want them to have a stake in the solution
  • Challenge the team to identify the top 1-3 ways they can more clearly focus on achieving their performance goals while preserving the positive spirit and camaraderie of the team

At the end of the meeting or deadline set for team ideas, decide on the top few things the team can do to heighten their focus while preserving the positive atmosphere among the team.

This inclusive process will enable your team to be problem solvers and owners in the solution. You will have solved a problem through motivation and engagement – yielding a much more sustainable solution.”

Thank you, Sue!

By considering the questions from Trish last week and some of Sue’s suggestions this week, we know you’ll start to see some different results soon!

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!

Your Ever-Changing Team

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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!

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!  🙂