Tag Archives: productivity

Weakest Link: When Strong Team Needs Management

When a usually strong group is taken down by one bad apple, manager needs to lead by management. Basic steps to help team member get back on track.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Help a new manager out, I’ve never received training and it doesn’t seem readily available to me. I’m really stumped. I have a team that was working productively and harmoniously until one member started brining her personal business into work in a way that has been disruptive to the others’ productivity. No one has complained (although I’ve seen some eyes roll, still no complaints filed), but as their manager I see negative overall effect in output. Do you think speaking to her alone without complaint will make her even more sensitive or is otherwise de-motivating? I appreciate any help. Manage This!

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Dear Manage This!,

Meet with your problem employee alone and first (document it). Express your concern that she may be bringing her personal problems to work, and that may be what is negatively affecting her work performance of late. Identify with her issue that is affecting her choices and behaviors such as chronic tardiness, absenteeism, or uncooperativeness, etc. (you may or may not note that it affects the whole team’s morale, but tread lightly, keep the focus primarily on her performance (something she has power to change). Then identify your performance expectations of her as solution (i.e., take X time off and don’t return without a medical doctor’s note; or work benchmarks she can achieve by X-deadline(s)). Be specific. Get her agreement. Document. Follow up with her in scheduled benchmark meetings agreed to. If everything proceeds well, (unless your corporate policies require it) no need to bring HR into the mix at this point, but it’s there if you need formal documentation or another back-up tool.

As for the team, it can be brought up in team meetings (namelessly) as productivity issues or similar, and challenge them to solutionize as a team. Sometimes a manager needs to be a leader. Peer pressure can be a beautiful thing in deft hands.

Lastly, research online or in-house managerial training resources and classes you can get approved to attend. Build your own skills toolbox.

Inspire your people to succeed not just work,

BadWitch

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Dear Manage This!,

Here is the hard part of leadership. You can’t avoid it. Sometimes you just have to pull an employee aside and say, “WHEN!” You are in the role of Big Picture Holder, so if you see the big picture going off course because of one person’s attitude, it’s your job to step in and try to get things back in the flow. It is clear that one person’s bad attitude can affect the productivity and morale of an entire company.

As the manager, you have the right and should have the impetus to talk to the troublemaker. But start with a single idea: compassion and understanding breed compassion and understanding. We don’t know what nuclear disaster has taken over this worker’s personal life to cause the negative shift in her. Connect her with company sponsored counselors, stress management professionals  or other mental health support.

Realize that for the legal safety of your company, you don’t want to get embroiled in her issues, but you want to compassionately let her see how her behavior is affecting the entire office and the productivity and subsequent profitability of the company. This conversation is also your opportunity to document the issue should further intervention be needed. Keep and eye on things. Take notes documenting when and where issue reoccurs after your conversation.

Managing employees can be like parenting children— but with Child Protective Services watching over your shoulder. Remember, you are the boss, not the best friend. However, there is no reason that you cannot be a compassionate, empathetic boss who mentors his employees (yes, even the problem employees) to greatness.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Booster Shot: Team Building Fun

Not all team building activities need be forced, formal or make eyes roll. Having fun in the office together builds healthy bonding and productivity.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — What can I do to boost the morale of my team? I’m a supervisor who’s more hands-on with face time than our department manager who travels a lot and I know I can have her blessing if I present solid ideas. We actually have a pretty strong rapport but I want to keep them happy and engaged. Do you have any non-monetary ideas for a busy professional but not corporate environment.Booster Shot

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Dear Booster Shot,

I take your question seriously, but I think it’s cute. Make sure you do this more for your team’s morale than your own popularity and/or advancement, and whatever you do will be a sure-fire winner. The main suggestion I have for you is to put yourself in your team’s collective shoes and think like it does on most days. You know better than me what your professional environment is like and will/can tolerate, and more importantly…could use more of. So I say: make it fun, make it low-key and don’t over-think the thing — the more natural and spontaneous, the better. We used to improvise water bottle bowling with a random Nerf ball. We threw up a tape of something or other, spanning between a cubicle wall and the actual wall and limboed under it (be careful; those of us who participated were fit and not litigiously minded). Another of my offices consisted of several music lovers, so maybe something around a music trivia game would have been fun. Whatever we did, we did spontaneously, had a blast, and I never had to actually tell people (who only participated if they needed and wanted to) to get back to work, which they did willingly, refreshed, refocused and more productively than ever. After all that some people will need to hear this: yes, we booked multi-million dollars of business in this atmosphere. Occasional informal communal silliness can be a breath of fresh air especially in an office with windows that don’t open!

Group “hug,”

BadWitch

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Dear Booster Shot,

I love where your head is at! In this economy some managers completely forget the importance of boosting team morale for best product output. You have no idea how many people I’ve heard from who complain about bosses and managers threatening them, rather than inspiring best work.  Kudos to you!

OK, that said, answering your question, your attitude and wanting a warm, cooperative work environment has already gone a long way towards creating that environment. People can feel whether a manager is invested and willing to give back or not. Your willingness helps foster willingness in your employees.

Now, to keep that moving without capital investment, ask for feedback. Creative juice meetings designed for feedback on current projects or upcoming projects will help your staff to feel like valued members of the team. There is nothing worse than feeling like another meaningless cog in the wheel. When asked to participate with ideas and input on company projects, staff feel needed and important members of the team with something to offer. That is the best way to keep them invested.

Also, strangely enough food works wonders for making folks feel appreciated. I know, you want a no financial investment idea, but I gotta tell you, Friday morning bagels are a cost effective way to say, “You are appreciated.” It’s not something you need to do regularly, just a once in a while, “thanks for working so hard” gesture. And, further surprise, you’ll get much office gratitude for the food and the appreciation.

You know Booster Shot, I just have to say, you are doing a great job. Keep up the good work! (Felt good, right? Well, I meant it. Now pass that sentiment on to staff in the moment when they deserve it. They’ll feel it too.)

Mantra: My attitude affects work from the top down. If I am invested, appreciative and supportive of my staff, I inspire my staff to be invested, appreciative and supportive of  the team and our work environment.

Great job,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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