Tag Archives: employee engagement

How was I supposed to know!

setting expectations

Setting Expectations

I’m just preparing a workshop focusing on setting expectations, for the next module on an in-house management development programme.

In my experience, none of us like to be he left not knowing what’s expected of us.

For example, have you ever parked somewhere, thinking it’s perfectly okay, until somebody angrily tells you that it’s private parking and you can’t park there. Or worse still you come back to your car and find you’ve been issued with a parking ticket.

In the first instance you probably feel awkward and apologetic (and probably a bit frustrated that it wasn’t clear and now wondering where you can park instead). And in the second instance you’re probably downright angry as it wasn’t clear there was no public parking.

The same principle of not know what’s expected of you can be confusing and leads to uncertainty within your team. At the very least it makes people feel awkward, and if they’re conscientious they feel bad if they’ve let you down. And of course, it’s frustrating for you because they’ve now not done what you expect.

But, in the long-term, it can also lead to the same frustration, anger and resentment we might feel if issued a parking ticket when it simply wasn’t clear. Not good for keeping employees engaged or for productivity.

So, here are 10 considerations for setting your expectations with your team

  1. Define what great looks like. It’s easy to assume your team members’ ideas of a good standard is the same, but we all have different perceptions. This is particularly so with criteria which are less tangible, such as the way they interact with customers. ‘Good service’, ‘being helpful’ or ‘giving a warm welcome’ mean different things to different people. Give people examples, and describe what you will see and hear in behavioural terms.
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  2. Focus on telling people what you want to achieve i.e. the end result, rather than always dictating how to do it (unless of course for legal or safety reasons a specific process must be followed). This leaves people with the flexibility to adopt their own style, (and it will be surprised how often they end up improving the process).
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  3. Lead by example, so there are no mixed messages. What you do and say sets the tone and example for your team to follow. Ensure the same rules apply to everyone and that the rest of your supervisory team are consistent with their expectations.
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  4. There will always be times when things don’t go exactly to plan. If your team fully understand the most critical and non-negotiable activities or standards, this will help them prioritise. So, on the odd occasion when something might get left undone it’s the least critical things that get missed off.
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  5. Put tangible metrics in place to measure success. People normally put more effort into the things you monitor than those you don’t. Rather than just measuring your sales or your bottom line, have some yardstick for measuring other aspects of people’s jobs that are critical to your success, e.g. how do you measure the various aspect of your customer service?
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  6. Communicate your metrics. If everyone knows what’s required of them and how this will be measured they can keep track of their own performance and know how they’re doing.
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  7. Set your expectations of new team members early on; no one likes uncertainty or being left in the dark. Establish a thorough induction programme, so new team members can get up to speed as quickly as possible, making it easier for them and putting less pressure on the rest of the team.
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  8. Train from scratch in your way of doing things. Even if you recruit someone with extensive experience it’s vital they fully understand your way of doing things not just how they did things in their last job.
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  9. Observe the same principles for your seasonal team as you do for your permanent team members. Your customers won’t differentiate, and one person not knowing the ropes can have a negative impact on the whole team.
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  10. Communicate to everyone when there is going to be an exception. Maybe there are circumstances on a particular day which mean that some of your rules and processes won’t apply. Make sure though that you remind people when you’re going back to normal.

Action

If you only do one thing, review the last time one of your team members didn’t complete a task the way you expected, and ask yourself how tangible was your expected outcome.

Related video: Setting objectives

Related post: Fluff Busting



Respect people’s wishes

respect peoples wishes hug

Just because we could didn’t mean we should!

Respect people’s wishes, as others may not be quite so relaxed about ‘freedom day’.

I went to my first party on Saturday; limited to 30, and all adhering to guidelines, of course.

There were lots of friends I hadn’t seen in person for 18 months or more, people I so wanted to give a great big hug.

But just because I could, it didn’t mean I should. There were some who, for a variety of reasons, were still nervous about being exposed to any risk, and wanted to maintain their distance. It would have been easy to forget this and leave people feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable.

Just because freedom day has finally arrived, I believe it’s really important we respect people’s wishes when it comes to the degree of contact they are happy to have, be those team members, customers or suppliers, or simply people we pass on the street.

It’s easy to forget that when something isn’t important to us, that it might still be very important to others around us.  Just because we’re double jabbed and happy to get up close, doesn’t mean everyone else is.

It’s prompted me to mention two things I’ve written about before, which it wouldn’t hurt us to keep in mind…

Understanding the individual

As Stephen R Covey describes in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, understanding the individual is probably one of the most important deposits you can make in what he calls the Emotional Bank Account.

What might be important for you may not be perceived as important for others. And vice versa.

He suggests that what is important to the other person should be as important to you as the other person is.

In the context of personal safety and how comfortable people feel in the workplace, now might be a good time to follow up on your return to work interviews, as a lot has changed since then.

Listen

In a previous blog, when discussing return to work interviews I suggested it was important to discover how they feel about being back at work.

It’s still early days with restrictions lifted, and although they might feel fine now, as customers’ and suppliers’ behaviours change, this could lead to team members feeling more vulnerable.

What concerns do they now have, now that restrictions have been lifted and more people have been vaccinated? Do they ever feel uncomfortable about any of the tasks they need to perform, or situations they find themselves in.

Remember, some people are very good at putting on a brave face; listen to their tone and watch their body language. Listen out for the things they don’t say or any questions they avoid answering. You may need to probe a little to get to the heart of any concerns.

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later questions, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

If you only do one thing: And if anyone in your team, customers or visitors want to maintain their distance, or wear a mask, please respect their wishes.

 


Team Development

Team development

Doesn’t every manager have a responsibility for team development?

As recruitment continues to be a challenge, I make no apologies for continuing this week with my theme of team development.

When I worked in the corporate world as head of training I was really proud of the training and development we offered. We had a dedicated residential training centre set in 7 acres, with fabulous facilities for chefs’ training and management development, which demonstrated our commitment to investing in people. But just because we had the training centre didn’t mean that was the only opportunities for development.

I had responsibility for a team who supported the training and development of over 55,000 employees. There was no way we were going to be able to touch all those people directly, or that everyone would have a chance to come to the training centre in Surrey.

Probably over 90% of training took place on job or supported by activity on job. And this is the reality in most businesses. Just because you don’t have a dedicated training team or training centre doesn’t mean training goes by the wayside. Far from it.

I believe every line manager has a responsibility towards their team’s development, whether that is on job coaching or simply identifying what training and development they need, so that team members feel valued. Even if their long term future isn’t with your business, if you have done everything you can to support that person get where they want to be, at least when the time comes for them to move on, they will leave with a good impression of your business, and become an ambassador.

Here are some considerations that every manager should be able to fulfil.

Development discussions

How do they see their role & contribution, now or in the future? They may have a different idea of how their role contributes to the business or how it could evolve. You may have one idea of their next role, but they may have aspirations in other areas (just look at how some people have taken on new projects during lockdown).

Strengths

Last week we discussed building on strengths. What do you see as their greatest talent, or when do you see them working really well? What are the things that they love to do? And if you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to ask! What do you/others like or value about them? Maybe they have some talent, or a flare for something that they aren’t even aware of.

Regular feedback

To build on strengths, continue to give feedback and recognition, and discuss how to make things even better.

Spot on job opportunities

There are always opportunities all around, but you and they will only spot these if you know what your objectives are. Such as

  • Cross train – Job swaps – Delegate
  • Buddying
  • Staff champions – Mentoring others
  • Supplier support
  • Daily activity ~ daily briefings ~ debriefs
  • Learning from mistakes & successes
  • Projects

Make a plan

Ensure everyone in your team has a development plan. It doesn’t have to be grand; simple small projects and activities making incremental improvements all add up, and help people feel as if they are being stretched. Let the team member come up with their ideas and suggestions to meet their development needs; they may suggest things you hadn’t thought of, and the chances are if they suggest it, it’s something they will feel comfortable with, so it’s more likely to happen.
The key headings are: What ~ why ~ how ~ where ~ when ~ who

Ownership

The number one person who loses out if their development doesn’t happen is the team member themselves. Give them ownership, and trust them to make sure it happens. That doesn’t mean you abandon them, they will still need support and to be reviewed, but if they’ve been involved with drawing up the plan they will hopefully already be bought in and committed to it.

So you really don’t need to have a swanky training centre or a dedicated training team to demonstrate your commitment to training. You and your line managers all have their part to play in ensuring your team have opportunities to develop so they feel valued

If you only do one towards your team’s development:

Get your diary out and set dates to meet with each of your team to discuss their ongoing development, and ask your managers and supervisors to follow suit.

Why development matters video

 


Why team development is important

why team development is importantSo why is team development so important?

In my role I often hear managers and owners say, “What if I train them and they leave?” What they should be asking is “What if I don’t and they stay?”

As Henry Ford once said,  “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

This morning I am a guest on the Online Forum for Hoteliers, and will be sharing my thoughts on Team Development. I’m covering 3 topics, and thought I’d share the first of these today.

I can bet that whilst you’ve had team members either on furlough or working from home, that some of them will have taken the opportunity to learn, to do something towards their personal development. Whether that is something work related or simply something that interests them, isn’t the point. But what it demonstrates is that people want to learn, to grow and develop.

And if they are in a job that doesn’t satisfy that desire, the chances are they’ll either lose interest and motivation, or they’ll up and leave. Neither option is a good one for the business.

Developing people shouldn’t be something that’s reserved for management. It’s easy to assume that some people have no desire for development. They may have no desire to move into more senior roles or take on more responsibility, but that doesn’t mean we allow them to stagnate.

If you’re not convinced of the need to invest in people’s development, or you need to sell the idea to someone else, read on…

Here 5 good reasons why team development is worth the investment:

1. Shows you value them

Investing in your team in any way demonstrates that you believe them worthy of investment. It helps people feel they have been recognised. This in turn leads to them being more motivated and engaged. This is likely to have a positive impact on their performance both as a result of their engagement and their new skills/abilities. The more engaged and competent your team the better your customers’ experience.

And back to the concern of “What if I train them and they leave?”, not investing in your team could be the very reason they do leave. Which reminds me of something Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

2. Succession planning

It’s easy to think of succession planning simply about grooming people for more senior positions. But don’t ignore the need to cross train your team so they can cover not only in the short term, but also so they can take a sideways more to a new role or department at a later date. Succession plans shouldn’t be written in tablets of stone, but far better to have exposure to another role or department now, than when the time comes to make that move, that it’s not the role for them after all.

It can also be a positive development activity for the person currently in that role.  Spending time with a colleague showing them all that’s involved gives them a sense of pride as well as developing their coaching skills. Even if their potential successor has to wait a year or two to step into the role, both learn and grow as a result and have a great respect for each other.

3. Gives flexibility

The more you cross train and upskill across your team, the greater your flexibility. Don’t limit this just to cross training within a department. Inevitably there are times when one department is stretched and others are quiet, so if you have people who can switch to support the stretched team, so much the better.

It’s easy for a colleague to look on thinking that someone else’s job looks easy. But it’s only when they get a taste it first-hand that they realise the challenges associated with that role. So cross training will not only help the team to support one another, but it can also create a higher respect for each other’s roles.

4. Improves your employer brand

If you want to attract people who see joining your team as a career move rather than a fill in before finding their ideal role, you need to demonstrate there’s potential to grow and develop. If you’re not able to share what development opportunities there are, they’ll go to someone else who has a track record if investing in their team’s development.

Your existing team should always be your greatest advocates, so if they have positive stories to share about their own development you’re more likely to attract others …

5. Continuous improvement

People’s development doesn’t ever have an end date. There will always be things that one can improve on, however small. Yes, there may be times when they are on a steep learning curve, but once at the top, it’s important to look for those little incremental improvements that can all add up over time. And importantly not allow that person to stagnate.

If you only do one thing: Decide which of these 5 reasons is the most important one for you or your business and focus on that as your priority for now.

Next week I’ll share the second topic I’m covering with the Hoteliers’ Forum. Until then, have a good week.

Related posts:

Continuous Improvements can make a big difference

A-Z of managing people D is for development 


Maintaining Momentum

maintaining momentum

How to maintain engagement with your team

Hooray, we can now hug, go to the flicks, visit museums and of course most important of all…

… we can go out to eat and drink in comfort indoors, and stay away at friends or in hotels or B&Bs.

If you’ve reopened this week or you’ve recently welcomed your team back to the workplace, I’m sure you’ve invested much time and energy into ensuring they came back feeling confident and energised.

Everyone I’ve spoken to is predicting a busy period ahead, and it’s quite possible your team have already been working flat out.  So, don’t let all that effort you put in pre-opening simply stop just because you’re busy.

Continue to take steps to help your team feel valued, and maintain the momentum right through the summer and beyond.

Recognition

Recognise and reward the extra effort that goes into the first few weeks, whilst everyone is getting to grips with new ways of working, alongside keeping your guests, members and visitors happy.

Give your team members a voice. Ask for their feedback and ideas, particularly over the first few shifts, to review how things are working. Acknowledge any improvements made, however small, even if things are not perfect yet.

Carry on setting mini goals so people continue to get that sense of accomplishment as they see these achieved.

Trust

Earn and maintain trust with your team by showing you have their best interests at heart, demonstrating your integrity.  Address any concerns, and always doing what you say you’ll do.

Be positive and optimistic about the opportunities ahead. However, be honest too, your team will see through any false bravado.

Trust is two way, so demonstrate your trust in them.

Give team members flexibility to adapt and adopt their own way of doing things. Empower them by giving responsibility and ownership for the areas within their control. When they have ownership they’re more likely to take pride in what they do and do an even better job.

Ongoing development

Although there may be lots to learn in the weeks leading up to and post opening, ensure you continue to offer your team ongoing development, to give them the opportunity to grow and keep them interested and engaged.

It many ways the pandemic has brought out the best in people. One of the results of this is revealing strengths and interests people weren’t aware of before. Recognise any projects or activities they’ve been working on whilst on furlough, so you can take advantage of these, or give them the opportunity to continue their development in these areas.

Continuing to invest in them will help maintain commitment, engagement and loyalty.

If you only do one thing to maintain momentum: Continue to be mindful of how people are feeling and respond appropriately.

This was one of the topics I covered in my interview last week for Savvy Says with Kate Plowright. You can watch the whole interview here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k26bnSU1gKg


Building Confidence

building confidenceBuilding confidence with team members as they return to work

As your team return to work, you may need to do some confidence building. If they’ve been on furlough or working from home for some time, the may need some reassurance once they return, either to their old duties, or new tasks which are now part of their role.

Whether it’s because they’ve not done something for a while, or you’re introducing something new or a different way of doing things is bound to feel a bit clunky to begin with.

And when you need to make changes to the way they do things it takes even longer to get used to the new way.

Human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance, so the slightest obstacle will send people back to their old comfortable way of doing it.

However, sometimes there can be a real reluctance even to have a go. There might be a number of reasons for this. But often it’s just down to a lack of confidence, especially if the new way of doing things involves a degree of risk or difficulty, at least from the employee’s perspective.

And longer term a lack of confidence will stop them getting on with tasks off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you, and have a knock on effect for colleagues and customers alike.

Here are 7 ways you can build confidence in your team members, and prevent this happening in your team:

1. Play to people’s strengths.

It’s a lot easier for you to allocate responsibility for tasks where people already excel, and the likelihood is when they are good at that task they’ll be confident and probably enjoy it.

You might need to look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. Focusing on strengths not only boosts confidence, it enables people to shine and excel. It means complementing potential shortcomings of others in the team, contributing unique value in the eyes of colleagues and customers.

That doesn’t mean to say you don’t develop people in other areas, but avoid the temptation to make everyone mediocre at everything.

2. Establish expectations

People hate not fully understanding what’s expected of them; it can leave them hesitant and fearful of making mistakes.

It’s inevitable that some ways of working and duties will have changed. If there are duties that used to be part of their role that are now less of a priority, explain why this is. If these were tasks they did well or took a particular pride in doing, be sensitive to how you handle this, so they don’t get the impression that their previous efforts were not appreciated.

If it’s a new task ensure they understand the significance of the task, and set a clear and simple objective, and what controls such as budget, deadline, when and how any review will take place. Bear in mind, it may take them longer to begin with as people get into the task.

3. Empower

People soon pick it up if you don’t trust them or are reluctant to allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities.

Demonstrate trust by letting go. No one wants their boss breathing down their neck the whole time, and it’s frustrating for everyone when team members have to get sign off for everything.

Cut the red tape and give your team the freedom to do what they think is in the best interests of the customer.

Set clear boundaries so they understand the exceptions and when you really do need to be involved.

3. Give flexibility

Allow each of your team to adapt and adopt their own style and let them bring their own personality to the role, particularly when dealing with customers.

If they know the end result you’re looking for they often come up with better ways to get the same result.

4. Develop ‘experts’

Give ownership for areas that require specialist knowledge, so this team member becomes the go to person for this. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise, and encourages continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your customer experience, when specific knowledge is required to gain the customer’s confidence.

This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.

5. Reassure

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later question, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement.

6. Learn from mistakes

When things go wrong this can knock people’s confidence. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed.

Encourage everyone to come forward when things haven’t gone to plan, or when there’s been a near miss. Then focus on how to avoid this happening again, not just for that team member, but for anyone else in the team.

Ask your team member(s) for their suggestions. Nine times out of ten they’ll work out for themselves the best way to avoid a repercussion.

Recognise when any improvements are made, even if things are not yet perfect!

7. Celebrate and reward success

Celebrate success so you encourage more of the same.

Establish regular opportunities and events to enable others to share their successes and achievements. This could be as simple as daily briefings where individuals talk about their successes and what others can learn from these, but add more weight to this by publicly recognising their success e.g. sharing achievements with your guests or entering them for awards.

Highlight how individual contributions have had a positive impact on the business as a whole. Recognise and reward individuals, departments or the team as a whole to demonstrate how you value their successes.

In summary

Building confidence in your team starts by demonstrating your trust. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.

Related content

Blog: Learn from mistakes 

Video: How people learn

LinkedIn share

 


Quick wins

easy wins

 

Do you get that feeling of satisfaction when you cross things off your list, or is that just me?

Conventional wisdom says get the worse things out of the way first. As Brain Tracy referred to it as “Eat That Frog”.

But if your team are on furlough or working from home I believe it’s going to be hard enough for them getting back into the swing of things as it is when they come back to work.

So give them the opportunity to tick some things off their list early on, so they feel they are seeing some results within the first few days back.

Consider now what short-term projects or goals can you set everyone, which eases them in gently, but still results in some quick wins. It will certainly help focus attention back onto the job in hand, and get everyone back into full flow as quickly as possible.

Put tangible metrics in place to measure progress and success; it will be far more rewarding when they are can recognise success for themselves.

Give each individual team member responsibility over specific activities. This gives a sense of pride and ownership.

If you only do one thing:

Set short term goals for yourself and everyone in your team, so you have something to work towards this week.

 

 



Continuous Improvements Can Make a Big Difference

continuous improvement

Making small continuous improvements all add up and can make a big difference

Here’s a perfect example of continuous improvements. Back in the 1950s Formula 1 pit stops used to take in the region of 67 seconds. Now they take a only 2-3 seconds.

How have they achieved this?

By finding ways to make incremental changes, and refining the process.

Can you imagine if they only worked on finding and making those changes once the season started? They certainly wouldn’t wait until the first race to be making any changes.

But as we wait for announcements of a timetable for the end of the lockdown, there’s still time to take stock and review where improvements can be made to systems, process, and skills in your business. Once everyone tries to get back to full productivity there simply won’t be time.

But this might well involve changes for team members too. And people generally don’t like change, particularly when you’ve been doing a job the same way for years.

One of the objections you often hear is:

“But, we’ve always done it this way”

Can you imagine if Formula 1 teams took that attitude?

There’s a multitude of reasons why people are reluctant to change. And it’s not an unusual response to be wary of change. Whilst some might rise to the challenge you’re just as likely to have people who’ll resist any change to the norm.

However, I’m sure you already recognise, people will be returning with mixed emotions.

One way to help them prepare is to get them involved as soon as you can (without infringing any furlough rules).

Getting your team involved in this way has 3 benefits:

  • It gets them involved early on, and gives them a focus.
  • It taps into their perspective, which may highlight things you were blissfully unaware of
  • Because they’ve suggested them you’ll get far more buy-in to implement any changes that result

So, ask you team to come forward with ideas, suggestions, recommendations of where small changes can be made. Maybe simply shaving 30 seconds off a task that’s done repeatedly, freeing up valuable time to spend elsewhere; reporting equipment that needs repairs or upgrading; refining a systems that misses important steps, or need adjusting to reflect new procedures; removing a bottleneck, or simply devising a checklist or SOP for a routine task to make it easy to achieve consistency.

Be aware that when a task has been done a certain way for any length of time, unless it causes a major inconvenience people simply get used to things that way. Flush out anything that’s standing in the way of them doing a brilliant job or impacts them, their colleagues or customer in any way.

This often highlights frustrations they have in the system or with current resources, levels of authority, existing skills or conflicting priorities.

So, ask:

What would they improve if they could? To help people feel comfortable to make suggestions ask questions that allow them to take off the blinkers.

Such as:

  • What would you do if it was your business?
  • What would you do if we had an endless supply of cash?
  • What would you do if you had a magic wand?

Although all these questions might result in ‘pie in the sky’ ideas, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with some ideas you can use in some way.

Your contribution

During the lockdown you’ve probably noticed a few things yourself. If you’ve carried out some tasks you’d normally have delegated to others in your team you may have come to realise that they’re not as straight forward as you thought…

Maybe the system is cumbersome, the equipment used doesn’t function as well as it should, or the process simply doesn’t deliver the result you want.

If it has,  you might be left wondering “Why didn’t they say anything?”

When you perform a task every day or every week you probably don’t notice when it takes longer than it should, or doesn’t work as smoothly as it used to. It’s a gradual change so simply fail to spot it. Which means that bit by bit it gets worse and worse and we’re blissfully unaware.

If this is the case, share your findings with the team members involved, but let them help to come up with a solution.

The more you involve your team in finding ways to make improvements, the more you’ll work towards a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Take Action on continuous improvements

If you only do one thing: Invite your team to put forward suggestions on improvements, however small.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
Mark Twain

Related blog post: When you stop noticing the cracks

Related video: Listen to your team



Care for your team

care for your team

What do you do to show you care for your team?

After nearly 36 years of marriage (to the same person!) I feel we must be doing something right. I’m sure like most married couples, we don’t declare our undying love every day of the week, but we still know we’re loved and cared for.

Just like in a successful marriage, unless your team feel loved and that you care about them they are unlikely to care much about you. Or your business or your customers.

And when you don’t see your team from one week to the next it’s easy for them to feel neglected, uncared for or unloved.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, instead of a dozen red roses, here are a dozen ideas to borrow from a successful marriage to show some love and show you care for your team.

1. Something in common

It can be tricky maintaining a relationship when you’ve got nothing in common.

In the workplace the one thing you can have in common is a shared purpose; something you really care about, which energises and excites you, something your team care about too.

When you and your team have clearly defined purpose, it connects you, provides structure and shared goals.

Bear this in mind when recruiting, as if this isn’t important to them you’ll end up with a mismatch.

2. Know what’s important

Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you but can mean a lot for others. Understanding what these are means we can attend to these things, even if they’re not important to us.

Take time to talk to your team members to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals.

Get people talking about an accolade or something (or someone) they’re are proud of. Just by getting them talking about these make people feel good as well as helping to get an insight into what’s really important to them.

3. Be nice to one another

We all have our off days, but behaviour breeds behaviour so in any relationship it’s easy to let that rub off on others.

So, however you’re feeling, a sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show you, their colleagues and customers.

4. Pay attention

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it’s usually easy to sense when something is wrong.

Keep your ears and eyes open so you can spot when things are wrong amongst your team. Provide support when it’s needed and be receptive to when it’s required.

5. Listen

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. Be brave; we don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Show you value their opinion; ask their advice next time you’re stumped for an answer. Consult with your team on decisions that affect them; listen to their concerns or ideas.

6. Show your appreciation

One of the simplest ways of showing we care is to say thank you.

Failing to give a simple please when asking for something or a thank you when it’s delivered soon gets noted, leaving people feeling unappreciated.

Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to know the contribution counts and sometimes just a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day reminds them.

Be specific; a thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising.

7. Stay connected

When you’re away from a loved one you probably call, text or do something to let them know you’re ok and thinking of them.

Whether furloughed, working from home or in the business, ensure you keep your team connected – both to you, and each other.

Maintain a routine for daily check-ins, when everyone knows they can connect with everyone else (Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams* will allow you to do this). Stick to a schedule or same time each day, so everyone can plan

Be open, honest and factual. Focus on what you can do for them rather than dwelling on what you can’t do.

8. Freedom

Whilst sharing interests help bring people together, having time away from each other and some different interests allows you some space.

Draw the line between work and family life. Particularly if people live in.

What flexibility do they have around the hours they work to fit in with others at home – partners, children or other dependents.

Play to people’s strengths and demonstrate your trust by delegating control and ownership, which creates a sense of pride

9. Celebrate the good times

Anyone in a relationship who’s ever forgotten a special anniversary knows how much impact that can have.

It’s just as important with your team. Recognise and celebrate team members’ successes and special occasions; be they workplace achievements, personal milestones, or proud moments – in, or out of work.

10. Keep your commitments

Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on suggests a lack of respect.

If you ever do let someone down, own up and apologise. It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it.

11. Have some fun

Any relationship can get stale after a while.

Keep the team spirit alive, and share some fun and positive achievements, stories or anecdotes.

Set up some fun team activities to bring people together, such as virtual horse racing, a magician, or just a simple catch up over a coffee

12. Trust

Knowing you can trust in one another is a key component of a strong relationship.

Being open and honest with your team is just as important. Even when that involves delivering bad news, don’t fluff it up – let people know where they stand.

Many a conflict is caused when there is a lack of, conflicting or confusing communication. Be consistent in your approach, in your messages and in your expectations.

Demonstrate your trust in your team, and help them build trust in you through personal integrity and by being loyal to them.

 

This list of ways to show you love and care for your team is by no means exhaustive, but they’ll go a long way to show others you care about them, so they’ll care about you.

And in this context – care about your business and your customers.

If you only do one thing:

Every offer of support counts. Let people know you’re there for them, even if the offer never gets taken up. You don’t want to be checking in on people every 5 minutes, but it’s always reassuring to know that you’re there to support them when it’s needed – whether that be work-related or a personal issue.

Related article: Show you love your customers

Related video: Your employee journey



How are you doing?

Listen radio12th and final post in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

12. How are you doing?

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. It can feel uncomfortable to give feedback to the boss, so ask in a more conversational way such as “What could I be doing to make your job easier?”

Be brave. We don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Create the opportunity for people to give anonymous feedback. People may be afraid to say what they really think if they’re concerned about being labelled a problem or complainer.

Ask for feedback regularly. Things change and problems can fester.

Accept feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response. Address concerns. This doesn’t mean that you have to resolve every personal whim, but it means identifying trends, recurring problems or prioritising what needs attention.

Communicate progress. If people have taken the time to let you know how they feel let them know what and how you are addressing any issues or following through on their suggestions.

Action point:

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