Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Note

As Christmas quickly approaches (tomorrow actually) don't forget to thank the people that have supported you all year. If you think about it for a minute you'll probably come up with a much bigger list than you thought you would. Thank your:
  • supervisor/manager,
  • team members,
  • assistants,
  • organization,
  • mentors,
  • family members,
  • business associates,
  • students/learners,
  • office mates,
  • financier,
  • lawyer,
  • dry cleaner,
  • insurance agent,
  • mail delivery/newspaper delivery, and
  • God.
The list goes on.

You didn't get where you are, all by yourself. You can't do what you do, all by yourself. Skip to the end of the Scrooge movie and go right to the thanks!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Look For Results, Not Salutes

“Look for results, not salutes.” This is a great quote that comes from a chapter in Captain D. Michael Abrashoff’s book, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy. In it he describes how he broke down the time honored traditions of officer/enlisted separations. Not completely, of course, but enough to make a harmonious difference.

It takes just simple things sometimes to make a difference, and to show that you, as a manager/supervisor, are part of the team and not just the overseer. For instance, Captain Abrashoff talks about taking his place at the end of the food line at steel beach picnics (cookouts on the flight deck). This just normally is not done – officers go to the front. It wasn’t long, of course, before other officers took his cue and were doing the same thing. Going to the end of the line was one of many ways of showing his crew that he genuinely cared for them and he was working WITH them.

You can easily use these same types of techniques in civilian business. Just like the military, we also have ranks and privileges – executive parking spaces, cafeterias, even restroom’s. But take a look at the difference in where you spend most of your time. In your office – which is segregated far from the lower ranks?

I often talk about Tom Peters' concept of MBWA (management by wandering around). Step out of your hideout and become part of the team. Make it habit to eat in the break room once a week. Give staff the opportunity to talk with you freely, whether they’re happy about something or concerned. This is where new ideas and improvement comes from.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Than A Manager

In order to be a successful supervisor or manager you also have to be a motivator. With that comes a number of roles - coach, facilitator, and trainer. You must constantly be working with your staff in order to help them be more successful. Motivated staff means greater work performance and more success for your business.

You have to understand that YOU directly affect your staff's motivation to perform. You also have to understand that you're either a positive or negative motivator. Be a coach, a facilitator and a trainer, and you'll be the positive motivator.

Motivation, for the most part, is intrinsic, meaning it comes from within us. We naturally want to be involved rather than just being a bump on a log. A big part of motivation comes from having the ability to do things for ourselves and being involved in projects. Knowing that we're an actual contributor to the organization. There has to be more than just incentive bonuses and awards. Those things would take on a whole new meaning when it's the result of increased responsibilities and knowledge.

Your staff need to know that you care, not just that you know your "job". Coach them and train them. Keep them interested and involved. You'll find that it goes a very long way.
By the way - yes I'm a Bears fan!