Feb 14

Make The Most Of Overachievers

Put your most ambitious teammembers to work to boost your team’s morale and performance.

Your team’s overachievers often resent being told what to do after they’ve worked hard to excel at their specific tasks. But you can still turn them into team players.

The key is to direct your overachievers’ attention and engage them in meeting the entire team’s goals. Here are a few strategies to help you get the most out of your top performers: Continue reading

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Apr 21

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Promote better communication by eliminating physical barriers

promote-better-communicationWith e-mail, telephone, instant messaging and a host of other communication channels available in today’s workplaces, you may find it difficult to figure out which one works best for your department.

But remember that face-to-face communication is still by far most effective.

So, what can you do to encourage your employees to speak to one another face-to-face more often? Try breaking down the physical barriers in your office to allow everyone that important in-person contact every day. Try the following strategies to eliminate the physical barriers that may exist in your workplace:

  • Communicate in cubes. If many employees work in separate offices, try restructuring your workstations into cubicles. Although you may hear some moans and groans from your employees about the cubicles, having everyone working in “open air” together will encourage them to talk to one another in person instead of picking up the phone or sending an e-mail. And explain to your employees that better face-to-face communication is your goal so they understand why you made the change.
  • Have an open-door policy. As a supervisor, you may have an “open-door policy” with your employees, but make sure they have one too. If you want to stick with separate offices instead of cubicles, ask your employees to keep their doors open to promote better communication in your workplace.
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Apr 14

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Give your bored employee a challenging new task

bored_employeeAs a supervisor, it’s your job to notice your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. And sometimes what you perceive as a weakness is really a sign of boredom.

If you have a team member who seems apathetic and doesn’t participate in group discussions, maybe he’s just bored and needs a new challenge.

Of course, this now becomes your new challenge: Find him something to do that will get him involved with the project. This is your opportunity to really shine as a manager. Consider the following suggestions to get employees involved, no matter what their personality:

Is he organized and detail-oriented? Perhaps have him take notes at the next meeting, then make copies and distribute them with a follow-up email.

Is he a wiggle worm who can’t sit still? Choose him to go pick up the bagels and coffee before the meeting. That should help expel any pent-up energy he may have before the meeting begins. (Until he drinks the coffee anyway.)

Is he quiet and reserved? Have him do some online research to aid the project and summarize his findings in a brief memo. Giving him a specific task to accomplish, even a minor one, may help him feel more involved in the assignment. Once he takes ownership of specific tasks, you may be surprised at how much he now cares about the project.

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Apr 02

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Keep your databases updated for greater efficiency

keep-databases-updatedWhen you’re part of a team of people who use the same customer databases, neglecting to update the information regularly can cause major headaches. You can try to fool yourself into thinking that your coworkers will do the updating, but they could be thinking the same thing of you.

Instead of waiting for someone else to get to it, take the following tips to keep your customer databases in slick shape:

  • Update as you go. This may seem like an obvious fix, but you really need to make it a habit to update contact information while you’re working with that customer. You may be tempted to just make a little note to yourself on any old piece of scrap paper, but scrap papers get lost or recycled. And by the time you finally get around to updating, a coworker could need the new contact information and be on a wild goose chase trying to track it down.
  • Update at the end of each day. If it’s impossible for you to update contact information at the time you are working with the customer, make a list or a stack of notes of customers whose information needs updating. But then, do it at the end of the day before you leave. If you plan to spend the last 15 minutes of each day updating databases, you won’t get behind.
  • Remove duplicate or incomplete information. If you come across a section in a database that doesn’t make sense because it hasn’t been completed properly, take it out if you won’t be able to find the missing information easily. Also, most databases have a feature that shows when specific pages of content were last updated, so you can see which duplicated page is more recent. If you need to, double-check before completely removing information.

If all the members on your team do their part in keeping the databases updated, you’ll be sure to reduce the frequency of getting wrong numbers when you try to contact your customers.

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Feb 24

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Mingle with other teams in your organization

mingle-with-other-teamsWhile you’re busy managing your own team the rest of your organization carries on business as usual. But do you really know what that is?

Schedule some time to mingle with other employees and find out who they are and what their departments are up to.

Then, encourage your own employees to do the same. When you and your team get to know more about what each department in your organization is responsible for, you can all serve your customers better. You might even find that your team can innovate better when they know what resources are available.

For example: Your company has a graphic design team that produces collateral for your organization. Today one of your team’s sales reps spoke with a potential customer who asked if you provide custom design services. Your graphic design department might not do that currently, but if you know what your customer’s needs are and what resources you have available, your team might be able to create a new avenue of revenue for your organization.

So take time to mingle and find out what other teams in your organization are up to. You never know what resources you may have available to strengthen your own team.

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