Whether you are running
a sales division, a credit control department, marketing department, or warehouse,
'team' is what matters. We know from extensive research that the best teams
are the ones that produce results in businesses, not the 'lone star'.
So the question is how do
you build that group of individuals into a team. There are many books on the
subject, but here is one idea that can build loyalty and possibly save you significant
sums of money.
Take Two Minutes to Dig
Picture the scene; it's
9 o'clock on Friday morning, you have a 'to do' list that looks like it has
no end, and in walks one of your people. Desperate to get on with your mound
of items, you find the quickest answer to his question you can, and usher him
to the door. Great, now you can start to clear your personal backlog. The trouble
is on the following Monday the same person walks in and resigns!
You may well question yourself,
in the way that we all do. "He had a good job, pay wasn't bad, he was paid on
results anyway. He's been with us for over 6 months now, perhaps he got bored?
Anyway it's not my fault because I always gave him plenty of work and answered
any questions he had. He was even due to go on a training course next month.
Anyway I must get back to my 'to do' list, it will be even bigger now that he's
Do you recognise any of
that? For those of you who conduct 'exit' interviews, you may find out some
information that, if you had known it earlier, could have turned the situation
Diagnose the Problem
If only that manager could
go back in time and take two minutes to dig for gold! Here's a suggestion; as
a manager try and think in the way doctors are trained to think. When you go
to visit your doctor, if she is good at her job, she will ask you how you are.
Pretty obvious so far.
But the reason she asks
you is because she knows that many people she meets have an alterior motive
for visiting. It may be that they have a backache, but the reason they found
it important enough to visit the doctor was because of something else, perhaps
even unrelated, but much more important.
So the next time a member
of staff comes into your office with a question, invest just 2 minutes of your
time. Concentrate on them, not just on what they are saying. Look them in the
eyes, and bring out their true feelings about the way things are going. Make
sure that there isn't another question hovering in the background that they
find too difficult to ask.
Be approachable. I know
that you are very busy, but a few moments won't ruin your day, and it could
make someone elses.
Top level managers also
get to know of their staffs' life outside work, because there are many factors
that can add or detract from the effectiveness of the individual. There is also
a 'duty of care' to the individual.
It also gets you off the
hook if you happen to 'blow up' at them at some time in the future. You never
do that, do you? It gives you that extra leeway and understanding from your
colleagues, because you had previously taken the time to listen to them, when
they were under pressure.
That investment of 2 minutes
of your time can build loyalty and respect. It can make that person 'go the
extra mile' for you when it is needed. Perhaps most importantly it can prevent
a surprise like that person who resigned unexpectedly.