Tip of the Week: Calming the Chaos – A Leaders Guide to Managing the Team

Being a leader in today’s business environment includes not only setting the day to day direction of your teams…..

but also “calming the chaos” that often comes with managing dynamic personalities, business pressures, deadlines, commitments, screaming customers, delayed deliveries, contracts negotiations, unions, technology issues, banking problems not to mention, personal pressures such as worrying about what’s for dinner, picking the kids up from daycare, making sure the pets are taken care of, personal bills, obligations and social commitments while igniting the performance of our team members so they can do their jobs and feel good about doing it… Sound familiar?

One of the most valuable contributions you can make to your organization is to develop and grow your people. – Your “human assets” therefore your role is to create a culture that is positive and supported by confident and competent employees.

So, why do some employees not perform?

  1. They don’t know what to do – Sometimes we are not clear in our communications.
  2. They don’t know how to do it –Sometimes we are not clear in our training and skill assessment.
  3. They can’t overcome the organizational barriers – Sometimes we don’t make it easy for our teams to do their jobs, we create a controlled environment that limits their ability to perform.
  4. They couldn’t do it if their lives depended on it –Sometimes our teams just don’t have the skills.
  5. They don’t want to do it – Sometimes we have a motivation issue.

But, you can create a culture of people who want to perform for you.  Here are some tips:

  • Establish a clear set of performance standards or indicators and expectations.

Be sure to clearly define your expectations for your employees.  These expectations should be realistic and explicit and there should be no room for interpretation.  They should be set so the employee can shine and achieve their goals so you create a winning culture.  Ask the employee to tell you exactly what they believe their performance measurements are to ensure you have a meeting of the minds.

  • Establish a clear communication channel.

Communication should be on going and frequent.  Have regular team meetings that include agendas and meeting notes that are sent to the entire team for feedback.  Never be afraid to over communicate with your team and individual team members.

  • Monitor and Inspect those standards (Inspect what you Expect)

After you clearly communicate what you expect from your employees, be sure to remember to inspect performance of your employees on a regular basis.  Do not be a micro manager but be sure to monitored frequently and make adjustments accordingly.  Be sure to recognize both positive and negative results and to raise the bar slightly throughout the year to challenge the performance of your team.

  • Provide feedback and recognition and gratitude

Your team needs to hear how they are doing and that you appreciate them for their contribution but recognize there is a big difference between feedback , recognition and gratitude – and you need to do all of them, for example:

>Gratitude – “Sally, I just wanted to thank you for your suggestions, it really was a fantastic solution to a very big problem we have.”

>Recognition – those everyday things, we see people are doing… is “Hey Sally, I just wanted to let you know that I think you did an excellent job in that presentation to the client today, you really nailed it and I was impressed with your ability to carry the meeting.”

  1. Note: We need to hear how we are doing and need it communicated.  Employees are not mind readers so you as my boss have to let me know when I am doing something right.
  2. Keep in mind; as an employee, I am living in Chaos too, so I will just continue to plow along my day not really knowing how I am doing, unless you tell me. – Employees need to hear when they are doing well just as much as when they are doing poorly.

>Feedback – Focuses more on observations and outcomes.  “Sally, your presentation was excellent, the use of visual graphics instead of text really hit the message home and because of your use of the right images at the right moment, the client signed the deal.”

  • Make it fun

Work can be fun…. People generally come to work every day wanting to do a great job and if you create an environment where everyone knows what is expected of them, you reward and offer feedback and sprinkle in a positive attitude and support creating a culture of collaboration, communication and consistent messages that creates a thriving organization.

As a leader, your mission is to create value for your customers, shareholders and business partners and it is your business’s processes that will create that value.  And your success and market domination will come from executing superior process performance. And superior process performance is achieved by having strong process design, the right people to perform it and the right environment for them to work in.

So when you are in the middle of the chaos and you are interacting with your employees… let me ask you a question… “Do you create energy when you enter the room?  Or do you create energy when you leave it?”

If you create energy when you leave the room, you need to work on your interpersonal skills and really find ways to drive performance on a positive level, not by fear.  Lead from your heart, be genuine and be authentic and your team will want to succeed with you.

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