In the spirit of the St Valentine’s Day that’s just been we decided to compile a list of eight practical ways that as a manager you can show your team you love them.
Whilst it might not quite be the love-hearts and flowers that you give to that someone special, these tips will hopefully give your team the warm and fuzzies (or at the very least make them feel part of a valued, cared for team).
1. Self- Evaluation.
This is a chance to get the whole team together and ask yourselves how you’re doing. It gives a chance for the group to reflect on strengths and address weaknesses. A good self -evaluation meeting is democratic and allows all involved to have a voice. It’s also a good opportunity to get your team up to speed with what’s happening in the rest of the company and contextualise team goals into those of the wider organisation. At STAMC we hold our formal self-evaluation meetings quarterly which gives us good indications as to how we’re getting on throughout the year, but choose a frequency which works for the needs of your team and your organisation.
2. Embrace the Personal Development Review throughout the year.
In addition to the whole team self-evaluation it is important to give your staff individual personal development reviews. Most large organisations have P.D.R provision built into their HR policy but even if you’re a small firm then it’s still worth taking the time to sit down with each of your employees. But it’s even more worthwhile taking this one step further and making time to follow this formal chat up with smaller, less formal conversations throughout the year. It will help keep you and your employee on track, provide opportunity to reassess development needs and give feedback.
3. Stick to your side of the bargain.
Self-evaluation days and P.D.Rs have the power to leave those involved feeling excited and enthused about their work and where they’re going next. However, this is utterly undermined if promises and plans made are left unfulfilled. Yes, P.D.Rs and Self-Evaluations are often a chance for you to outline to employees the direction you want them to go in but you need to meet them half-way. If you don’t live up to promises then you will gain a reputation for not putting your money where your mouth is and leave your staff feeling frustrated and unsupported.
4. Provide Training (well, we would say that wouldn’t we?)
Good training will enable your team to do their job more effectively and confidently. It will open the door to new directions and challenges and will demonstrate to your team that you value their development.
Don’t just shove them on a training course for the sake of ticking the training box though; you want volunteers not conscripts. Talk to your staff (see points 1&2) and identify the areas they need to develop. If appropriate opt for training which will actively make them apply their learning (such as an SVQ) so that the benefits of training are immediately fed back into their roles.
5. Celebrate success, unite in failure.
Successes are times to come together as a team and celebrate. It doesn’t need to be a big deal (though if they’ve landed a big deal or completed a complex project, then maybe it should) even sitting down all together for a cup of tea works, but come together as a team and reflect on the glory.
Same applies for failures. In fact, it’s probably even more important in the trying times. Acknowledge hard work that, in this instance, has not been awarded by success, don’t get sucked into the spiral of the blame game and take the time as a team to figure out where you go from here. Strong teams are the ones which can handle the bad times as well as the good.
6. Stop micro-managing. Stop it now.
Micro managing is not an effective use of your time and is demoralising and stifling for your team.
Consider your own development that got you to this managerial position; most likely you gained this role by being challenged, stretched and given autonomy over tasks. You will have learnt from your failures as well as your successes and you will have done this because you were given the space to grow without a manager breathing down your neck.
Your job as manager is to oversee but not overbear; Set the standards, the deadlines and organise the occasional catch up to keep appraised of progress but then step back and let your team get on with it. If you don’t trust your team to do this then it’s probably time to consider some training, for both your team and yourself.
A recent article in Business Insider magazine (Balance of Power Shifts from Recruiter to Candidate, Jan/Feb 2016 issue) cites a report by Hays recruitment which puts flexible working at the top of job candidate’s lists of workplace benefits. 62% place it in the top spot. The report highlights the disconnect between employees and employers; only 11% of employers agree that offering a good work life balance is important when attracting candidates.
Let me offer you an anecdotal example: I have a family member who began to find herself wide awake at 6am. With work not starting till 8:30 and the commute taking only 5 minutes that left her with nearly 2½ hours to kill before starting her working day. At first, a leisurely cup of tea appealed but after a while she began to get a bit frustrated that she had all this time at the start of her day that she couldn’t really use for anything. She spoke to her manager and they agreed to trial her starting work at 7 and finishing at 3. This has been a great success. Instead of faffing about the house for 2hrs in the morning she gets up and heads straight to work. At the end of the day she still has some time in the afternoon to get out walking or cycling, get her hair cut, or get to the shops.
If you are in the position that you can facilitate flexible working, it will not be detrimental to your business and your staff are wanting it then it’s worth considering. Better to have the right staff working the hours that work for them in your organisation than in someone else’s.
8. Say thank you often.
Remember your mum telling you to mind your manners and say thank you? Well the same applies for the workplace. If someone does something for you, turns out a good piece of work, or is just an all-round good-egg then a thank you doesn’t go amiss.