Posts Tagged leadership
There’s an interesting thing that happens with humans once they know a job or task and they feel they know it well.They start to get bored or take it for granted. Whereas initially there is a challenge to learn the job, eventually it becomes second nature. Maybe humans are wired that way so we keep going after new ways and new sights. Whatever the reason, as the job gets commonplace and boredom sets in, people will find different ways to fill the time. They still do the job, but it no longer requires the intense focus it did during the learning phase, and it takes less time than it once did. So now they look for other things to fill the time.
It is interesting to watch a group of people that are becoming bored or things are just status quo even for a couple of days. The work has probably slowed somewhat so the pace of work has become less. Without intervening, just observe what occurs. Some employees will sit around making comments about how they are so bored, while others will walk around the complex and talk to anyone who will listen. Some will start to clean up the office even to the point of sweeping and dusting. Some will start to rewrite paperwork to make it look neater in their minds, and some will ask for something to do
Most of the time people do not like just sitting around. It doesn’t feel so great to be unproductive and the time goes very slowly. However, handing out non-relative tasks is not a good idea because employees will see and resent this if the work is not productive in some way.
Even when work does not slow down it is the same job in the same way Every day and this becomes boring or perhaps it is too familiar. The more thinking that is taken away from employees the faster boredom grows. It isn’t that the job is not liked or even enjoyed, it is more that there is no challenge.
The ramifications of this are that before a manager knows it people are leaving and saying they got a new job. Or even though people have stayed and are still a part of the team the enthusiasm seems to drop along with drops in energy. Some of this can be seen in a change in body language as compared to when the employee started. The excitement in starting a day seems to get less and less. The walking paces are slower, there’s a kind of hanging around and nothing seems crisp. The workplace has become too comfortable and too well known.
The regret may simply be that the team and the people on that team have never gone after and reached their potential. The regret might be that the team is sluggish. The regret may be that the team never went for becoming more. It could be that the team has settled for getting the job done in a very average and common way. The regret might be that the team could have achieved everything and yet fell short.
Probably though, things have become commonplace. If boredom is seeping in it is because it has not been looked at or people have become too accustomed and a little blinded. Status quo is not the way to achieve greatness. Risking and trying what has not been done before is the way to go to the next level.
Most of the time when a manager, supervisor, or coach takes over a team they are not building it from scratch. Instead a team has been a team for awhile or at the very least a group of people have been together for awhile. At times this is looked at as the team already exists and just needs to go on with maybe some tweaking along the way. I’m going to suggest not to look at it this way. I’m suggesting to look at it as building a new team.
Before anything is done in changes take the time to observe this team as a whole and the individual member of the team. Tell your boss that you are going to do this. This does a few things. First it allows you in a relaxed manner to get to know people a little, the team members relax and act more themselves, you see what works and get a sense of what needs to be changed, and the group did not feel like everything was going to change immediately. Most often this is the start of a good relationship.
Don’t just change things for the sake of changing things. See what works and leave it alone for awhile. As you have your goals of where the team needs to go, you can now use your observations of the individuals to put them in the roles you think will be the strongest. This is also a great time to give people something new because it naturally gets people recharged. It is terrific to explain why this is happening and showing the goal you have in mind that you want to see the team reach. This is not always a concrete goal but might be simply seeing the team come together more, help each other, or being precise.
Going a little slower allows the member of the team to feel you are a part of the team before changes were made. I find there is less resistance this way with the flow coming easier.
Liz Cosline – Ownership Coach/Team Enhancer
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“Can’t get there from here” is a New England statement that has to be said with a very thick New England accent. It’s used because,especially way up north, all roads do not connect. And wouldn’t you know it.This idea applies to business too. “Here” is a work environment where employees are disengaged, i.e. distrusting, minimal performing, low energy, etc. “There” is a work environment where employees are energized, contributing, productive. The “road” that leads to the first cannot get you to the second. It takes a different route.
When managers are not trusted to coach, to make decisions, to engage the employees and keep them engaged (to name a few) – business can’t
get to the one thing they talk about wanting. According to many different polls by Gallup and others, business leaders
want employees to choose and to want to better the company, to better the customer experience, and to better themselves. Without a strong coaching relationship between the front line manager and the team, guess what? “Can’t get there from here.”
Business does train and does try new ways to keep employees energized but there seems to be a gap. Doing more tasks or implementing new procedures will not keep employees engaged. Engagement is a choice, whether conscious or subconscious, because there is a reason for being engaged. This could be fulfillment, recognition, career advancement, a feeling of satisfaction, self-improvement, learning, a promotion, or a host of other reasons. The point is the employee has worth and knows it, because it is consistently communicated. And let us not forget that managing an engaged group of employees is not only easier, but more rewarding for the manager in every way.
What is the view from the front? Is the employee seeing the same things the leadership is seeing?
Have the goals and the vision been defined in a way that both parties have the same definition? The perspective of an employee is different than that of management. How can it not be? It isn’t that one is more invested than the other with respect to commitment. Rather, it is more about how information is perceived. If management is asking for more to be done without fully considering the impact it will have on the employees, the employees will see it as negative. If blaming occurs because things are not getting accomplished without seeing why, employees will be resentful. If employees are being treated poorly (lots of negative reinforcement, little or no positive reinforcement) or never recognized, for example, then employees will disengage.
The process of engagement is grounded in how managers treat the employees. The relationship develops while going after the same defined
goals. The frontline manager, especially, is the foundation or source from which the team works. This relationship is one of support, coaching, mentoring, accountability, pushing for greatness in each individual, listening, challenging, defending, and working towards company and individual goals.
Engagement is an indicator. How engaged one is in a relationship, whether personal or work, is much like barometric pressure. Barometric pressure helps us understand weather conditions. When the pressure changes, so do the conditions. Pressure up and we’re looking at good weather; down, and it’s a storm. Employee engagement, or lack thereof is an excellent way to understand the work environment. It lets us know what’s going on and even how it will be going forward. So, less engagement and the work environment is sluggish. Productivity, efficiency, customer service and profit suffer. More engagement and the work environment is good. Work is getting done efficiently and productively, employees are committed and part of the team, and their contribution to the overall health of the organization is valued and recognized. This looks like the road worth taking.
Liz Cosline – Coach and team Enhancer. Developer and founder of the From the Front Management™ Training Program for frontline managers. Liz coaches individuals and teams on balancing, bringing out potential, becoming coaches, and employee
engagement. In business management over 23 years in different industries receiving several awards with appearances on
many radio programs.
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Forbes Magazine talked about that employees get very little attention from their immediate managers. It was talking about the mentoring aspect of management and that it is not dong very often.
Managers have a lot to do in any organization, making sure the work gets done and may feel that the hours pass quickly. However this is essential if there is going to be employee engagement. It has been stated, I believe by a Gallop poll, that employee disengagement costs billions.
But what are we talking about? When employees do not feel valued, or feel they are not seen by the company, or feel the company does not care about them, well they start not caring also. The signs of this are latenesses, increase in absenses, slowing of work, moral drop, acting like nothing bothers them, lack of smiles, complaining, and you get the picture. It seems to be accepted to just get by or be average. The involvement in the daily routine seems to dwindle. So no wonder it starts to lose money.
Yet there is more to employee engagement. The employee needs to see the value in this. As said above – needs to be mentored, have attention, have clear goals, have someone ne interested in that employee, and be noticed.
The instrumental person in this is the frontline manager. It is time for comapnies to give attention to these crucial managers in any organization.
It has been talked about in the McKinsey Quarterly, in the Harvard Business Review, and in Forbes magazine to name a few. There is much discussion on how to bring out the best in frontline managers. There has even been statements that CEO’s are disappointed in frontline management.
Since there is disappointed then this is the place to have attention drawn. When there is any problem we must go to the source to solve the problem. Now before anyone wants to “beat up” the frontline managers that is not what is going to solve it.
First it needs to be defined what is wanted at this management level. They are the ones that can be the highest cost, why? Because they affect the frontline employees directly which in turn affects the customer directly. These managers need support, training, and be able to make decisions on a daily basis without looking over their shoulders. They must support and care about the frontline employees. It is their job to get the obstacles out of the way so great jobs can be done.
Often however they don’t seem to get a lot of training.
Frontline managers are key to any organization and to the employees they serve. They need some attention.
Every business, every company, and sport team wants to have the team that excels in is consistent. In business the employees are the ones and especially the frontline employees, where they are in contact with the customers daily. It is here that the customers will see attitudes, moods, plus whether an employee looks happy at the job or not. This is part of what gives the customer the impression of the company. How does a frontline manager or any manager know that the employees are in a good state of mind and a productive state of mind?
There are daily indicators that will allow the manager to know if the team and the day is running smoothly. Following are some of the indicators.
1. Team members treat each other with respect. They talk to each other and interact with each other with smiles and in a helpful manner. They are courteous not only to the customers but also to each other. They make sure that their job is done so that it does not fall on another team member. They are talking to each other and updating each other on how the day is going.
2. At different times during the day there is joking going on but it is professional joking with smiles and laughter. The work is still getting done and it’s getting done in an active way. But what is very noticeable is that there is a very upbeat atmosphere.
3. When the shifts need to be covered because something unusual has come up and an employee needs the day off, they will help each other cover the shift. In other words someone will step up and cover the shift for the employee that needs off. This becomes a common practice where no one is taking advantage in any situation.
4. The team as a whole and the individuals of the team wants no more. They are eager to have more training and to learn new things. They want to be involved in what’s going on and they want to be heard with new ideas and better ways of doing things.
5. The individuals of the team know the importance of the team. They know from doing a good job, getting things done, and being noticed they are an important part and a valued part of the organization.
When managers stay in touch with team and the individuals of the team they can notice when the team comes up or down. A manager can see when there is a frustration that is affecting the team. When this is caught right away adjustments can be made to get the team back on track. It is about being involved, about seeing what’s going on, and is about being part of the team.
Without fail employees will notice when there is a lack of accountability at any business it doesn’t matter what industry is being talked about. It is almost certain that employees will test the boundaries. Especially when there is a new supervisor employees will test to see where the lines are. You would think this would stop after the employees get to know the manager but without accountability they will check on the lines again.
The fact of the matter is that employees are more secure when they know where the boundaries are. And they want to know. No one likes to make mistakes and most want to do a job well, so this makes sense. Accountability is crucial to the task of defining the boundaries and keeping the employees on track.
This is the daily process of not letting things go and giving attention to the work being done. Small corrections and guiding using passive confrontation before things turn into problems is a key tool in this process. It is being involved and knowing what keeps the employees going. Knowing the operation and seeing when something is off track makes for an involved manager and gets the issue corrected before it turns into disciplinary actions. The employees feel the manager cares about the job and the people doing the job.
When accountability is lacking the employees will talk about this in negative ways. It will seem to the employee that no one cares about the job. Not a great message in the least. Keeping employees accountable reinforces expectations for the employees as well as their responsibility to customers.
Life Ownership Coach – certified Coaching people and teams to the success of their goals and dreams.