Over the next few months I’ll keep adding to the list of ways to improve your teams working life. For now, here are 5 ways you might need to think about or review.
1- Mind Trophies:
Have you got this locked in yet? A reward and recognition system (or as I call them, Mind Trophies), that includes both material as well as psychological rewards, always goes a long way to keeping your team focused on the big picture. Where there is a reward you will often, but not always, find commitment. Don’t get caught up in bonuses and wage increases. Rewards can be more creative. A late morning start. A shorter day. A day off! A surprise feast in the staff room. An activity after hours. How about a yoga class or relaxation activity in work hours? Keeping it really simple, an email to everyone on a job well done. A personal thank you in a gift voucher. If you need a competitive team to work together, how about employee of the week? Or month? Make sure you keep the criteria moving so everyone has a fair shot, (how about most productive to most friendly?). Providing the proper reward and recognition can stem disgruntled people in your team from finding a hook to drag others down with them. It can shift an unhappy employee into a more open and positive frame of mind. Remember, we want to grow their skills and energy and for that we need mind trophies.
2- Personal Growth & Work Opportunities:
Opportunity to try something new and personal growth in a workplace is a powerful distraction to reduce conflict and unhappiness. Goals and dreams keep hope alive. By creating avenues forward (and even sideways as long as it has something new to offer), our teams can be focused on improvement rather than stalling in dissatisfaction. Better yet, if grumblings are starting, (you know what I’m saying, short answers, negative body language, reduced eye contact), ask your team members what kind of opportunities do they want? We all need to be challenged in some way, in order to develop resilience and intelligence. How are you developing opportunities to learn and grow in your team? Explore and create.
3- Respect & Self Esteem:
Whatever the status, everyone needs respect. A good manager demonstrates this and encourages everyone around them to emulate. A manager I worked with lost respect from their team because of their behavior. The thing was, they had no idea how they behaved or that the team had become affected by it. All of us, managers, directors, CEO’s and staff need to be cognizant of how we demonstrate respect and expect it to be shown to us. Whether you like your colleague on a personal level is irrelevant. At work we aim to be professional, at all times. Showing respect for each other demonstrates this to ourselves and our team.
The way we converse and behave is also an indicator of our self-worth. It improves our self-esteem and those around us when we act in a polite and respectful manner in the workplace. Congratulating each other on a job well done, for helping out, staying back late or organising meetings or work social events boosts self-esteem and creates a friendlier workplace culture. Don’t forget to say thank you. It goes a long way. When people are respected, and we build their self-esteem, they do their best to push for success.
It is no use trying to get a team positively focused if they are asking you ‘Commitment towards what?’ Organizations and leaders should provide a compelling vision of the future to employees. Careful not to make it too long term, unless you have profiled all your team and they match on endurance and ambition traits, you might need to come up with short and long-term visions. Most people will be content if they can visualize what they are supposed to achieve. An effective leader will motivate people, by giving them a vision of what they can become and how they can be part of the transformation of the organisations, from where it is now to reaching the vision in the future.
5- Walk the Walk:
In order to sustain an improved work life and have the support from employees, employers should initiate by example or self-commitment. Don’t expect your team to believe what you are saying if you talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. I often sit at my admin’s desk and do the work. Answer the phones, take bookings and fumble about in the extensive computer system (which I am often asked to leave, politely but firmly by my clinic manager!). I talk to prospective clients and answer questions from our team of consultants. I’m not sure how helpful I am, but it is important to acknowledge the job they do and demonstrate my own personal commitment to the workplace running well. I try being a positive energy each time I walk through the door. Lead by example. Being present and approachable is the best way of measuring stress and work load in the team. You can find out how successful your input is by how smoothly the operation side of the business is running.
Let’s not forget the basics here too. Have you got the proper tools and equipment to improve their work life? Have you provided adequate training and development to reach the vision you have talked about. Are you putting out the interpersonal fires as they spring up? Do you make time to manage rather than oversee your team?
Improving your teams work life is about building a culture of optimism, growth, respect and reward for hard work. All which can be modelled by you, the leadership.
Look out for the next tips in the next few months, on building a better work life for your team.