Summer is the time to live easy…but only if you’re on vacation. And for those who have to work through the hot summer months, this season could seem endless. So what can you do to keep your employees present, engaged, and motivated when the beautiful days of summer are pulling them out of their work?
In order for leaders to effectively manage their people during summer, they’ve got to be realistic. Managers should expect their employees to request for days off, take week-long vacations, and just lose their focus at work. With all that said, here are some tips on how you can make your team members enjoy summer without necessarily abandoning your business.
Turn Sick Days to Personal Days
It is customary for organizations to offer holidays and sick days to their employees. And so, those employees who would like to take a day off during summer opt to fake being sick. No employer wants to hear such excuses. Thus, you have to be honest to your employees about the importance of them being at work, and turn your sick days into personal days off so that your employees won’t have to lie about taking a day off.
Offer Summer Hours
If at all possible in terms of your business’s workload, it is a good idea to offer a work schedule that allows employees to get at least every other Friday afternoon off. This is an excellent way of boosting employee morale and will also discourage fake sick days.
Offer Options for Remote Work
Depending on the nature of your business, it might be possible for your employees to do their jobs outside the office or at home. Come up with a remote work policy that will not compromise productivity while at the same time allowing your workers to enjoy the privilege of working from home or outside the office.
Enjoy Breaks Out of the Office Together
Taking breaks outside the office is a great bonding experience you can have with your staff. You can have coffee together during your morning break, or you may invite everyone to take the afternoon off to watch a movie together. This will give all of you a chance to enjoy the warm days of summer, plus you can get to know your team on a more personal level as well.
Plan Team Events
Find a way to bring summer fun into the workplace so that employees can enjoy it somehow. For instance, you may plan for some summer barbecues where employees and their families can get together to enjoy the warm weather. Such team building activities will be greatly appreciated by your workers, and can help motivate them and boost their morale.
Is it important for teams to hold regular meetings? Well, definitely yes! Meetings matter not just to make sure the job gets done. They also serve as a great means of communication among team members, who need to have a clear understanding of the activities and needs of the team. Meetings also allow for creative brainstorming and group innovation. It is also through team meetings that work skills are developed, interpersonal relationships are deepened, and team morale is boosted.
When team meetings are considered useless or nonproductive by its members, there will certainly be a negative impact on how workers perform in their respective jobs. Thus, it is of utmost importance that team meetings be planned well and conducted systematically and with purpose.
Making Team Meetings More Effective
Aside from the obvious points about being prepared, on time, and making sure everyone is involved, there are other things that can help make your next team meetings productive and effective. Here’s what you should do:
Have a Purpose
Why is the team having a meeting anyway? Is it because it’s a requirement? Or you have a specific reason for holding the meeting? Before you even plan a meeting, you’ve got to figure out what the purpose of the meeting is. You have to make it something that your members will look forward to, and not something they think is just a waste of their time.
Less Is Often More
Meeting your team several times a week can leave you holding meaningless team meetings. It is always better to have fewer but more meaningful meetings with your members. If certain issues arise, check if they can be addressed through one on one conversations or email messages perhaps. Meeting less frequently will increase the chances of your team meetings becoming more purposeful and useful.
The Meeting Agenda
The success of any team meeting pretty much depends on its agenda. It is important that your agenda be specific so that participants will know what to expect from the meeting. A vague agenda can cause members to be uninterested in the meeting. Be sure also that you distribute the agenda ahead of time to allow members to make the necessary preparations for it.
Acting As a Facilitator
There is a difference between facilitating a meeting and chairing a meeting. You’ve got to figure out what your role will be. Knowing how you should run the meeting will give you a clear idea of how you should start the meeting, how the meeting should run and how it’s supposed to end.
Ask for Feedback
There will always be a way your team meetings can improve. But you will never know how to improve it unless you ask your team members for feedback. It would be of great help to you if you could know what they think and how they feel about your team meetings.
Work with a Mentor
If you’re not used to holding meetings with a group of people, it is recommended that you work with a mentor. Perhaps your company offers executive coaching programs you could join. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn from the more experienced individuals in the organization.
If there’s one thing a hardworking manager still needs to do in order to get to the next level in his or her career, it will be to know how to turn management skills into leadership skills. Managers are the ones expected to make important decisions that will boost employee productivity, and thus, having great leadership skills is an absolute must.
What Sets a Leader Apart from the Rest?
In today’s business world, companies are opting to retain and offer promotions only to their managers who have outstanding management skills and demonstrate qualities of a good leader. The good thing is that while some people are born great leaders, leadership skills can be learned and developed, but only if you know where to put your efforts into.
The key to becoming an effective leader is to understand that leadership is all about bringing people together for the fulfillment of one goal. You, as a manager, not only have authority and power, but a great responsibility to lead your subordinates so they may contribute to the growth of your organization.
How Managers Can Become Great Leaders
Learn from customers and staff every single day.
Checking in on a regular basis leads to better communication. You don’t have to hold general meetings to do this. Short staff meetings scheduled regularly and implementing an open-door management policy can help you establish clear lines of communication with your staff. You would also learn a lot about how to improve your products or services by soliciting feedback from your clients or customers.
Listen before speaking.
It takes a lot of practice and determination to become a good listener. And when you become one, you will see how positive its effects are to your people. Employees appreciate managers who know how to listen to them. Customers can also see your sincerity in offering great service.
Learn from what other leaders did in the past.
Take time to know what your predecessors did in the past. You can apply what worked for them, and avoid those that didn’t. The past is always a good source of knowledge, especially for those managers who don’t have much experience yet.
Get staff involved in the decision-making.
It is always a good idea to get your people involved in the decision-making process, especially if the decision to be made relates to them. All you need to do is encourage them to be creative and to share their ideas. You may even give rewards to acknowledge their success.
Focus on the positive…always.
As a leader, your people look up to you and even get inspiration from you. Thus, you should always focus on the positive, so that they may do the same.
Climbing up the corporate ladder is every manager’s dream, but this can turn into reality if they learn what it takes not just to be a manager, but a true leader. Taking part on executive coaching programs is an important step if you’re looking to acquire and develop the skills that will make you an effective leader.
Full time workers spend many hours of each day and a huge part of their lives in the workplace, so it matters to them how they feel about the work they do. For managers, it is equally important to keep their employees engaged in whatever the company does. If workers are disengaged, there is a huge possibility that they will look for other opportunities. What’s worse, their attitude can have a negative effect on the productivity of the entire team.
Good leaders acknowledge the fact that employee engagement is a huge asset to the organization, and that implementing a solid engagement strategy is a priority. Here’s what you should do to keep your employees engaged and productive:
#1 Take Time to Know Your Employees
Get to know your people better by asking and learning about what they love doing. This will help you build better relationships with your employees, which has a direct effect on their motivation and engagement. Also, demonstrate even in the smallest and simplest ways that their happiness and wellbeing matter to you.
#2 Offer Your Employees Basic and Essential Training
Effective managers pay attention to their employees’ career advancement by providing them with the training they need. By making sure they have the skills to complete their tasks properly, you are giving them motivation to achieve their goals, and this can lead to a higher level of engagement. Managers should realize that employees feel more engaged when they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and roles in the organization.
#3 Recognize and Appreciate Your Employees
Getting some sort of recognition from a manager is an important motivator for workers, which also promotes productivity and positive behavior.
To be an effective manager, you have to make employee recognition easy and visible to your employees. It does not have to include money or expensive things; in fact, even a ‘nice job’ or ‘thank you’ can go a long way in making your employees feel good about themselves.
#4 Emphasize the Importance of Teamwork
Teamwork is the result of trust and openness between employees and managers. When employees are made to feel that they are an important part of a team in the company, they become more enthusiastic about their jobs.
You can encourage teamwork by acknowledging the efforts of those employees who offer their help to others, and creating channels in which workers can recognize one another’s efforts. When trust is formed between employees, they become more engaged and obviously happy with the relationships they have with their coworkers.
#5 Do Not Ignore Employee Feedback
Employee surveys are conducted to determine if there are changes in the organization that employees wish to have. Thus, any executive coaching professional would always emphasize the importance of acting on employees’ feedback. If they don’t see any changes in the way business is run in the company, they will feel like their voices are unheard and ignored. Indeed, lack of action on the side of the management can significantly reduce employee engagement and productivity.
As a middle manager, the entire organization expects you to get everything done. This is a huge responsibility you have, and thus you have to make sure you are ‘influential’ enough to lead the charge. While this can be extremely challenging, there are things you can do to create an environment that will help you and your company succeed.
1. Earn the respect of your employees
A good manager is one who does not only delegate tasks and responsibilities to employees; a good manager also guides and supports them so they may be better at what they do. The only way you could help them perform their job better is to show them that you have knowledge of what they do. It becomes so much easier for employees to give you respect when they see you as an expert. You don’t have to do their work for them, of course, but you have to make an effort to share what you know so they may grow professionally.
2. Know the organization’s strategy by heart and make your own action plan
If your responsibilities as a middle manager haven’t changed over the years, and you do the same things over and over again, there is a possibility that what you’re doing is no longer in line with your company’s current strategy. You can’t just sit there and wait to be informed of the organization’s new strategy. Be proactive in getting as much information as you need, and verify with your boss if how you’re running things actually helps the company achieve its goals. If it is, then go ahead and share it with your staff, and if not, rectify your action plan so it would be in line with the overall strategy of the company.
3. Set priorities and clear goals for your employees and yourself
It is important that your department has clear priorities and that these priorities are communicated well among the employees. Each of your workers must have their own goals, and they should understand the importance of achieving both individual and group goals. Make sure that you regularly meet with your employees so you can be up-to-date with their progress, and if changes in the team are inevitable, you can make them on a timely manner.
4. Lead without authority
Good leaders have the ability to make people follow and respect them, not by imposing anything to their people, but by listening to them and supporting them. As a middle manager, having this reputation will get you noticed and even considered for a promotion. You’ve got to learn to NOT be arrogant, be diplomatic, and be a solution provider.
5. Communicate enthusiastically with everyone
The more you communicate with all the people you work with, the more they will see, hear and follow you. By making use of any available means of communication with your boss, other middle managers, and employees, you are showing that you are a proactive leader who places importance on sharing what you already know and what you have learned from others.
As they say, good leaders are born. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to develop the management skills that you already have. Working with an executive coaching professional would also help you enhance such skills to become an effective and successful middle manager.
It’s time to set your intentions for 2015. Here are 20 fabulous tips from some of the world’s best career experts to assist you in taking control of your career and making this year your best year ever.
- Engage in the “Power of Stopping”. According to Susan Freeman, a daily centering practice can reap you huge rewards in terms of calm and peacefulness. It can also improve your relationships with others.
- Be a “Reflective Leader”. According to Deborah Colman corporate environments today can be chaotic and require a level of interdependence with others. It’s important to know how to “navigate and respond vs react” to whatever situation comes up.
- Learn how to make the most of “Reciprocity”. Gary Ford says most people have a fear of rejection and while “everyone wants to be more persuasive”, “often we are only hinting” at what we really want.
- Begin the process of “Self-reflection”. Kim Ades says it’s important to “surface our beliefs” and to “look at our thinking”. She refers to this as “thought management” and is an advocate for daily journaling. Regular self-reflection can accelerate change.
- Recognize “Common Behavior Patterns”. According to Sylvia Lafair, there are “13 common behavior patterns we learned as kids” and like it or not, “we bring these behaviors to the workplace”. Recognizing these “behavior patterns” in yourself and in others, will “help you deal with office politics and conflict in the workplace”.
- “Move your Career Forward.” If this is the year you are looking for a new role or job, then Dana Manciagli recommends you “start with a goal, develop a plan and create a candidate packet”. Traditional resumes are simply not enough to get you the interview.
- Hone your “Perception Management”. Do you know what impression you are making on others? According to Judi Walsh, you “can measure your level of influence and develop a distinct foundation”. This “distinctness” will set you apart from others.
- “Manage Up”. According to Cecile Peterkin, “leaders don’t need a title”. “Managing up is about developing a solid relationship with your boss, keeping your boss informed and knowing your boss’ priorities and management style”.
- Complete your “LinkedIn Profile”. According to Melonie Dodaro, “one of the best ways to stand out is to complete your LinkedIn profile”. Your LinkedIn link will usually be the “first thing that pops up when someone googles your name”.
- Use the “Power of Your Voice”. Carla Kendall suggests you “speak from your gut not from your throat.” 38% of what you are communicating is communicated through your voice. Pay attention to your quality, tone, pitch, rate, and volume.
- Get good at “Self-Promotion”. According to Regina Barr, “Self-Promotion is not bragging”. It’s important to “get comfortable talking about yourself”. Barr says “find 2-5 contributions/success stories that you can describe in a meaningful way”.
- “Grow Up Your Gifts”. Shahmeen Sadiq says “at earlier career stages, we often use our gifts/strengths/talents in overcoming obstacles, managing threats and outperforming our peers to get ahead”. “At later stages, it’s important to “grow up” our gifts to create desired outcomes with ease, grace and elegance”.
- Achieve “Work-Life Satisfaction.” According to Nora Sudduth, it’s not about finding balance, it’s about achieving fulfillment. This “shifts responsibility from the employer to the employee to define your values and priorities and to find space for what you value most”.
- “Practice Safe Stress”. According to Lori King “healthy stress can make you more alert, focused and even productive”, while unhealthy stress can immobilize you, “inhibit your ability to relax and reduce performance”. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga can help manage stress.
- Stop Avoiding “Difficult Conversations”. Sylvia Plester-Silk says “one of the keys to success in life and business is building trust. As a leader, having conversations about difficult topics is an opportunity to build trust through deeper understanding of another person.”
- Develop Your “Leadership Effectiveness”. According to David Town, a great place to “begin to understand your current leadership effectiveness is a personal assessment tool”. An assessment can increase your self-awareness and help close the gap between where you are currently and where you’d like to be as a leader.
- “Understand Who You Are.” Anne Dranitsaris says that while “past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior” you need to also “take into account the unique differences in personality and how the brain is hard-wired to function.”
- Find a Job You Love. Kathi Miller-Miller says if you’ve been fired, “skip the blame game”. Kathi says it’s important to “take care of yourself, avoid negative people” and recognize that you are not alone. This is a terrific “opportunity to find your passion”.
- “Don’t Lose Your Soul”. According to Sondra Sneed, “you are more than your job”. It’s important to “know your life’s purpose or your job won’t produce a career path”. “There is a part of you that is your job, but you are so much more than that”.
- “Invest in Yourself”. Linda Cattelan says there is no better time than the present to invest in yourself and in your career potential. “You can no longer rely on your employer to prepare you for your next role or promotion”. Consider hiring a professional coach to assist you in developing a career plan, hold you accountable or to support you on your career journey.
Whether you are at the start of your career, mid way through your career, or at the tail end of your career, vow to make this year your most successful year ever.
If you are interested in hearing more from each and every one of the above career experts, join us for the 2015 Catapult Your Career Success Summit:
Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence with Amy Jen Su, co-author of Own the Room
People are drawn to and influenced by leaders who communicate authentically, connect easily with people, and have immediate impact. So how do you become one of them? How can you learn to “own the room”?