Practical Practice Management

What Type Of Team Do You Work On?

Team meetings or huddles are very important in keeping everyone on the team connected together.  Often times what happens is only one person (whoever is leading the meeting) is the only one who gives input or direction during these meetings so in reality many of the team members can feel disconnected.

It is important that if you are a team leader, manager or supervisor that you remember that a team can only grow stronger if each person on the team is allowed to participate and give their input, point of view, or ideas during team meetings or for that fact anytime.

The following, in my opinion, is a good definition of a Team:  A group of people with different skills and different tasks, who work together on a common project, service, or goal, with a meshing of functions and mutual support.

Most often in many workplaces, a “Team” is really a group of people who work at the same place, doing what their position requires of them and a manager or supervisor who makes sure that they get their work done, i.e., no real collaboration, conversation or communication together on much of anything.

Creating a team, working on a team and leading a team takes time, effort and the willingness to collaborate and listen to each other to come up with the best thoughts, ideas and plans and then a decision on how to execute them to be successful.

There are real functional teams and then there are people who work together in the same place that are called teams but the individual members have no say about their ideas, or how things might work better, they just are allowed to go along with what their team leader says they must do.

What type of team do you work on and how do you feel about it?

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Tell The Truth Always, My Mother Use To Say

You will never go wrong by telling what is right.

Your reputation is based on your integrity and

the ability for those you come in contact with to trust you.

Although, telling the truth may be difficult at times and cause discomfort and pain,

you will be respected for it in the long run.

Once trust is broken it rarely is repaired without critical cracks of doubt.

Be well,

Tina

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Perspective….

“There is never just one way to look at something – there are always different perspectives, meanings, and perceptions, depending on who is looking.” 

The Blind Men and The Elephant

Six blind men were discussing exactly what they believed an elephant to be, since each had heard how strange the creature was, yet none had ever seen one before.  So the blind men agreed to find an elephant and discover what the animal was really like.

It didn’t take the blind men long to find an elephant at a nearby market.  The first blind man approached the beast and felt the animal’s firm flat side. “It seems to me that the elephant is just like a wall,” he said to his friends.

The second blind man reached out and touched one of the elephant’s tusks. “No, this is round and smooth and sharp – the elephant is like a spear.”

Intrigued, the third blind man stepped up to the elephant and touched its trunk. “Well, I can’t agree with either of you; I feel a squirming writhing thing – surely the elephant is just like a snake.”

The fourth blind man was of course by now quite puzzled.  So he reached out, and felt the elephant’s leg. “You are all talking complete nonsense,” he said, “because clearly the elephant is just like a tree.”

Utterly confused, the fifth blind man stepped forward and grabbed one of the elephant’s ears. “You must all be mad – an elephant is exactly like a fan.”

Duly, the sixth man approached, and, holding the beast’s tail, disagreed again. “It’s nothing like any of your descriptions – the elephant is just like a rope.”

And all six blind men continued to argue, based on their own particular experiences, as to what they thought an elephant was like.  It was an argument that they were never able to resolve.  Each of them was concerned only with their own idea.

None of them had the full picture, and none could see any of the other’s point of view.  Each man saw the elephant as something quite different, and while in part each blind man was right, none was wholly correct.

Author~Unknown

Be well,

Tina

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What Do You Need To Dangle To Motivate Employees?

If you are a business owner or manager and have people who work for your business, you have probably ask yourself more than once, “How can I motivate my employees when they are at work?”  I have the opportunity to speak to small business owners often and I have found that this is one of the top questions they ask me.

All business owners would love to have employees that are naturally self-motivated and want to do a fantastic job.  There is one thing business owners must remember and that is employees feel and see things a bit differently than the owner of the business.   Entrepreneurs are self-motivated by creating something from nothing, which is intrinsic motivation or internal motivation.  The employee, sees and feels things quite the opposite, they are usually motivated more by external stimuli or extrinsic motivation, such as a raise, job security, benefits, etc.  These things are usually short-lived and therefore make it an ongoing venture for the business owner or manager to keep finding more ways to motivate their staff (which can be a tiresome task).

Multiple studies on employee engagement and motivation show that employees are motivated when they are recognized for doing a job well done and being told they are valued by the business owner.  Now how hard can that be to do?

Business owners and managers should always be watching and listening to their employees so they can catch them doing good and praise them for it.  There is also something to be said about the bonus motivational boosters that can be used to inspire employees, like gift certificates, getting off an hour early, free lunch, or a staff outing.

One of the best employee motivators is having a great work environment to be in each day.  Others are being valued, the freedom to be creative within their work boundaries, and educational growth to better their position in the company. If you are unsure of what might motivate your employees, just ask them, I am sure they will have plenty of ideas to offer you.  With motivated employees, your workplace will continue to re-ignite excitement and passion for what they do each day when they arrive at work.

And an extra bonus is your employees will want to come to work each day because they know they are valued and appreciated.

“Your number one customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last.” – Ian Hutchinson, author of People Glue

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Creating A Well Functioning Team

Putting together a work team is not an easy task.  Just because we use the term “team” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the people in the group feel or work together as a team.  The making of a really well-functioning team takes time and trust, which does not happen right away.  Yet there has to be an element of immediate trust by the team members for each other in order for the team to function at all.

Trust is something that develops over time.  It is demonstrated and earned by each team member.  Teams that work hard at building trust reap the benefits listed below:

  • Obtain greater results in reaching goals and solving problems.
  • Team members have more influence on one another.
  • The team members have more desire to make their efforts work.
  • They develop a strong team bond.
  • The workplace environment becomes more enjoyable for them.
  • Customer services are better and business revenue usually increases.

When there is a lack of trust between team members the opposite happens and the team as a whole suffers along with potential business growth.

The following are some actions that lead to a lack of trust between team members:

  • Not keeping your word.
  • Not following instructions.
  • Talking about other team members negatively.
  • Team members have a hidden agenda of “self” not “team.”
  • Blame others for mistakes made.
  • Make excuses for their mistakes.
  • Distort what people say.
  • Use manipulative tactics.
  • Seek the negative and not the positive.

Creating a great team takes time and effort to build by each member of the team.  Taking the time to communicate about what needs to happen and what cannot happen between the team members upfront is necessary.

Hard work and effort together to build trust with your team members is a positive experience for everyone.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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How Can I Do More With My Time?

I was at a conference this past weekend talking with office managers and the conversation turned to time management and the struggles with getting things done in the time allotted.  Ultimately, taking action on managing your time is what needs to happen in order to master it.

I am sure I am not the only one who wishes for an extra day or hour so I could catch up on the things I need to do.  Realistically, would that one more day or hour make a big difference?  What would happen when the next day came along?

With our smartphones and the many other organizational tools and apps that we have access to, you would think we would have this time thing under control.

For me, the light finally came on when I realized that time management is really not about having 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Managing time is really about what I do and how I utilize every minute and hour of each day.

Mastering how to use your time to the best of your advantage in whatever area you are working will maximize your potential to be more successful and have a better work and home life.  Sounds nice, but is it that easy?  Here are a few things you can do to jump-start a Time Management/Self Management plan:

1. Have a priority list for work and home.  Keep it simple, you can always add to it.  It is always better to complete your list and be successful than to make your list so long that you fail.

2. At work, keep distractions down, focus on what can be realistically done each hour from your priority list.

3. Don’t overbook yourself, this leads to stress.

4. The night before, plan your day for work and at home.  Thinking about it and planning ahead of time will make you more successful at completing it.  This has been proven to be true.

5. Have just one calendar and use it.

6. Establish routines for yourself in the morning and at night.

7. “Be flexible” this is very important.

8. The most important thing on your schedule is to make sure there is “me” time so that you can regroup, relax and have a better positive mental attitude to carry on getting things done.

We cannot add any more time to the 24 hours in a day, but we can learn to master ourselves in what we do with those 24 hours.

“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Keep moving forward,
Tina

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Grow Your Service Level

Brendon Burchard said, “You grow into the service level you want to provide.”  We know it is our choice how we present ourselves each day at work with our customers and coworkers.

But, I think the message that Brendon is trying to get across though is that we need to make the effort to grow our service skills in order to continue to provide a higher level of customer service.  If you go to work each day and never invest in yourself to become better, how do you expect it to happen?

Ask yourself these questions and then rate yourself from 1-5, with 1 being poor, 2 average, 3 good, 4 very good and 5 excellent and see how you tally up with your “service skills” score.

  • Am I friendly all the time at work?
  • Can I have a positive attitude even when the encounter I’m having is not so positive?
  • Do I make it easy for customers to do business with my company and myself?
  • Am I helpful to the customers and to my coworkers trying to make their day a better one?
  • Do I empathize with customers or coworkers when they have a problem and try to help them?
  • Do I remember that my actions can and do trigger other’s actions, either for good or bad?
  • When I see a customer is my first thought, “I want to make their experience a great one?”
  • At the end of the day have I earned a “gold star” by the service I have given?

How did you do?  I know working with the public can be difficult and trying and it is not for everyone.  If you think your career is in the customer service field somehow, then I hope you take Brendon’s advice and continue to grow your service level, it will make your career more meaningful.

There are so many great books, videos and courses out there that you can take to improve not only your skills but to become a better you overall.  Here is a current Google link to some of the most popular books on Great Customer Service out there at this time.  I have read many of them and will continue to read, listen, learn and grow- I hope you will too!

Brendon Burchard

Great Customer Service Books

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Thank You For Your Efforts

Changes at work can be challenging to say the least.  For the most part employees like knowing what they need to do each day and how to get it done correctly.  When restructuring job tasks are necessary due to growth, or better methods of keeping the people who do the tasks involved in the process is number one, the expectation is for the transitions to go smoothly.

All sides of the job tasks need to be looked at and evaluated.  Hearing from those who perform these tasks is a must in order to get a realistic picture of the job.

In most workplaces, employees will appreciate when management is trying to make systems and tasks function better.  During times of restructuring, it is very important to let all employees know how much they are appreciated so that they don’t feel like the changes are about them personally.  Below are a few things that you can do to make the transitions go smoother.

  • Take the time to talk to individuals personally about how they feel about the change and to let them know you appreciate what they do.
  • Write a personal note thanking employees for working together during the time of change.
  • Buy lunch for the team or bring in some healthy goodies.
  • Let employees go home early one day unexpectedly.
  • Take time to talk to the team as a group thanking them for their efforts and work through the transition.
  • Ask for feedback, letting them know that their input is important to the company.

Showing appreciation is something that should be done on a daily basis, but when changes are going on it is very important that extra effort is put in to show employees how much they mean to the company (and you) in order to keep everyone’s spirit up during the transition.  A heartfelt thank you can mean more than you know.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Does My Employee Have The Job Flu?

Employees can feel down at work and show signs of disinterest.  It happens for many reasons, some are temporary and are caused by external problems and work is difficult because life is difficult at that time.  They come to work, but they act like they are suffering from an illness.

It is when it is truly about the work we do, that we need to do something about it.  Below are three signs of employee disengagement due to disinterest with their job or those they work with.

  1. The employee does just enough work to get by, and when questioned by their manager or employer they make excuses, very weak excuses, ones that they actually believe their employer will accept. (But they do not)
  2. They begin to disengage and give a cold shoulder to those they work with. They may become impatient and critical of others and possibly verbally snap at someone when they are asked a question. (I am amazed when I have seen this happen, do they really think we think everything is okay?)
  3. Their coworkers start to complain that something has to be done about their coworker’s attitude. They have had enough and want help to resolve the issue of working with someone who is making their daily work life difficult. (When this happens react like the fire alarm is ringing and do something!)

Based on my 20+ years of management experience here are three of the most common reasons employees are unhappy with their workplace:

  1. They feel under-appreciated.  They have worked hard but it has gone unnoticed.  Even when an employee likes what they do they will leave a job because they do not feel appreciated by their employer.
  2. They are underpaid for the job they are delivering.  There really is nothing worse than working for less than you are worth.  When you take a job make sure you know how raises are earned and how often they occur.  If an employee knows what the expectations are to earn a higher pay they will be much happier as they work towards the goal.
  3. They have not received adequate training for their job position. Demands are made on them to deliver their share of the workload yet they are not sure exactly how to do it.  Training is an ongoing investment that employers need to make to ensure that their employees are able to perform at a high level. Investing in employees is an investment in your business.

As a manager, you should be interacting with your staff on a daily basis and know what they are doing, what they need to accomplish and most of all how do they like what they do.  If you are a manager that truly cares about your staff this must be a regular practice in order to diagnose a potential problem before it becomes a true illness.  You will be able to help your employees more by spending time with them than staying inside your office just waiting for someone to go to the infirmary.

What kind of manager would you like to have manage you?

 

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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