Not meeting deadlines. Team is de-motivated. No one takes responsibility and passing the buck is order of the day. Pressure from peers. Frustration. What next??
This is the most common scenario with many of us at our work place. As a team leader or the top man of your company it is your responsibility to make things happen. The easiest thing followed is to shout at your sub-ordinates or promise them with some good increments and get work out of them. Carrot and stick model?? Not always this works. Sometimes the situation may even go worse with groupism in your team coming to fore. There will be disgruntlement among employees and may lead to revolt or leaving the company for better pastures.
You have prime objectives in attaining your business deadlines. For that you have to create a team, motivate them constantly, guiding them towards common goal, keep the flock together with a good team spirit. For that what you can do? You may follow the ideas which are based on good experience.
1. Undertake off line activities
Start an initiative that you would love to do irrespective of whether it is required for you to do or not.
- You talk to your employees on general topics now and then and make a note of things which are mostly interested to them. This you may find even in their resumes. Once in a while you talk to them on those topics so that they gets connected to you on the same wavelength. Show the same interest in talking off topics as you show in your official talk. However ensure that you are not talking on these off topics very often. General human tendency is such that they love to talk more and more off topics then the official work.
- Send a weekly or monthly newsletter to your team telling what is happening in the company and in your field. Also include some trivial details on the topics that most of them will be interested. For example you may inform about new orders company got in the previous week, despatches made or projects completed. How industry is heading with some trends or policies of the government, etc. This news letter shall also include the news items which are known to all. For example people love to read news item regarding their favorite cricket or football team in spite of the fact that they watched the game previous day. This process makes them believe that they are a team.
- Organise a small sports event for your team at least annually. This will create a wonderful team spirit among your employees. While choosing a sport make sure that there is physical activity. There is the danger of becoming addicted to sports where there is less physical activity (like computer games, chess, cards etc). Physical activity keeps a person healthy and happy. Appreciate colleagues in your team or in a cross-functional team who did a great job. Appreciation gives very high motivation. The bonding developed keeps the team together and one may think many times before considering any alternative jobs.
- Arrange a lunch or a weekend dinner for your team. The best way to get insight of your team is to dine with them.
2. Do not encourage blame game
As Gauthama Buddha said, there are three things we can’t hide for long: the sun, earth and the truth. If something goes wrong do not blame others blindly. If you commit a mistake, do not hesitate to accept it. If any mistake is committed by your team you take responsibility for that mistake while you talk to other teams or your business counter parts. This sort of responsibility creates trust amongst your team in you. However address the owner of the mistake internally after correctly ascertaining doing a root cause analysis. Encourage everyone to own their mistakes instead of passing on to others. This includes you. Accepting your mistake gracefully will only make you look like a true professional.
3. Communicate more often in person
Utilise all the opportunities where you can speak to an individual in person rather than e-mail or phone. But be aware of the other person’s time and availability. Listening to a positive answer from a person will give you more happiness than if it is done over the phone or via e-mail.
Communicate with your immediate sub-ordinates regularly. It could be the company’s growth plan or your department’s next big project. Insist and ensure that they communicate relevant details down the line. Jack Welch mentions in his book Winning “every employee, not just the senior people, should know how a company is doing.”
Communication helps people to understand what for they are doing any particular job, creates micro ownership and gives them immense satisfaction upon successfully completing it. A sense of ownership among employees is extremely important to build a long term future for a company.
4. Share Some Work
In tiresome situations, share some work without expecting anything in return. It could be helping a colleague who is working in another department by using your skills, dropping your colleague at his door step in your car, going to your colleague to ask if there is any help you can extend, contributing to technical or knowledge management communities in your organisation etc. This creates confidence in your employees. They will develop a feeling that they can tide over difficult situations with your help.
5. Smile Always
Wish and smile. More often than not, there are fair chances that the other person will smile back. This could be your driver, security guard at the gate, your receptionist, your office boy, your team member. This creates a more pleasant atmosphere while dealing with them.