Your Challenges. Our Solutions. Essential Advice for Managers Part Three

O ur previous posts for this month discussed both the essential strategies every manager needs to know and the best ways for managers to motivate their teams. Well, now it’s time to put those theories into the context of real life situations: thank you to all subscribers who have shared their experiences with us. Read on, then, to see what challenges other managers regularly face and what strategies we’ve recommended to overcome them.

“One issue we had was that our team didn’t have common, consistent language and tools that were used and understood by everyone.”

In this situation, PEP coached managers on the importance of regular, focused one-on-one meetings. Consequently, these conversations became an integral part of each team member’s schedule and were more driven by outcomes and results. Managers encouraged their teams to discuss their plans for achieving their goals and to regularly assess their progress. This enabled team members to be clear on their roles, their deadlines, and their manager’s expectations. At the same time, teamwork was significantly improved by providing each team member with the same tools and strategies for working efficiently.

“The biggest challenge I find is that the manager moves our one-on-ones every week. I can’t be sure they will happen. This makes it hard to batch and easy for me to interrupt them.”

The key to solving this issue is to find a consistent time that is unlikely to be rescheduled. One-on-ones should not require more than half an hour a week, so managers should make time for them. If by chance a one-on-one requires rescheduling, try to still schedule it into the same day or week.

“One of the issues I find as a manager is the increase of unnecessary escalations.”

After completing PEP, this manager found that because individuals within the company had greater clarity regarding their roles and his expectations of them, they were taking increased ownership of issues and solving problems themselves. This in turn provided him with more time to fulfill the requirements of his role.

“As a manager, I was concerned about the effectiveness and wellbeing of my team after a period of reorganisation and some updates and changes.”

Following PEP, this manager began scheduling regular one-on-ones with team members to provide individuals with short, clear information specific to their roles. This had a positive effect on the whole team: they stayed focused, productive and happy and kept up-to-date with changes. Because they understood exactly what was going on within the organisation, the manager had their “buy in” during the period of change and despite the disruption, the team retained a feeling of control.

And from a direct report’s perspective:

“We get last minute requests from our managers which are always urgent. It blurs our priorities and makes it difficult to plan.”

All team members and managers need to try and keep one or two short periods – even if it’s only half an hour – booked out to achieve some of their “big rocks”. It’s really important that employees don’t book their days out with meetings. Managers need to actively encourage their employees’ ability to achieve this rather than unconsciously undermining it.

All of the feedback we received demonstrates the importance of the following strategies:

  • Schedule regular one-on-ones, providing solutions that are tailored to an employee’s strengths
  • Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing both negative and positive
  • Be results-oriented: focus on what you want the team to achieve and how they can achieve it
  • Help your team to prioritise work and make decisions to remove “roadblocks”
  • Be a good communicator: both listen and share
  • Keep your team focused on a clear vision, goals and strategy
  • Involve your team in setting and evolving your team’s vision, goals and progress.

Simple strategies; effective results. Boosting your team’s performance really is this easy. Try them. And, as always, let us know how you get on!