Email and texting and phone calls are all wonderful ways of communicating with your offsite employees, vendors and others you work with regularly, but there’s nothing quite like Facetime.
Which gets a little complicated when they live/work across the country from you, or 3 hours up state, or on another continent altogether . . .
If you possibly can arrange it, meet at least once live, face-to-face, with people you expect to work with on a regular basis or through the life of a project. If that’s just too complicated, then use Skype or some form of video chat.
You connect in a completely different way when you actually see the other person, when you can suss up what they really think and what’s really going on with them and between you from their body language, facial expressions, and the energy that passes between people. When they get an opportunity to interact with the whole of you, even if it’s camera-to-camera. A stronger relationship is created, and good work is the result of good relationships.
Schedule periodic, regular, face-to-face/camera-to-camera meetings, even if brief. You’ll be more effective, and your offsite employees will feel more known and appreciated.
Whether you’re in charge of a busy kitchen with ten employees, or an office staff of dozens, you’re fielding questions and problems from many sources all day long. In addition to which, you’ve got your own dedicated tasks and goals to tend to.
But you still only have one brain. And that brain can still only pay attention to one thing at a time. Which is why, sometimes, when someone asks you a question you have trouble focusing on their issue, because your brain is still working on whatever you last gave your attention to. Or when you try to switch gears into a new task, you have a certain amount of lag time before you can get up to speed.
Whoever or whatever is going on right now needs your full attention. You have to let go of that previous thought/task or else you’ll get dragged away from what you presently need to think about.
How? Easy. Take a deep breath. Clear your mind even as you clear your lungs. Then deliberately turn your attention to the new whatever. It’s amazing how powerful a moment of clarity and decisiveness can be.
Employees dread meetings. For the most part, meetings are viewed as a waste of time, energy, and general downers. Which is why little gets accomplished in most meetings, and employees walk out of there in a half-stupor, hardly prime-time-ready for whatever comes next.
Unbore your employees! Hold meetings your employees actually want to attend.
1. Start with a concise statement of why the meeting was called and what specifically is to be accomplished during the meeting. State the goal in bullet-form, and preferably inform everyone a day or two before the meeting of what the purpose is.
2. Get input from everyone at the meeting, but move it along. Don’t let the loudest talker overwhelm the discussion or ramble. Thank them, and actively solicit opinion from the others. Don’t dismiss anyone’s idea out of hand. Find something worthwhile to acknowledge in every employee’s contribution.
3. Be clear about what’s next. End the meeting with a “to-do” action plan that everyone understands and agrees to follow. Include deadlines and time frames.
A short, to the point meeting where everyone gets to voice their opinion, is acknowledged, and walks out of there knowing specifically what to do? That’s a great meeting.
A survey by temporary staffing firm Adecco revealed that nearly 60 percent of U.S employees judge co-workers on how clean or dirty they keep their work space. Not only that, but 73 percent of Americans think people are most productive when their work spaces are clean. And for the most part, that 73 percent is absolutely right!
Think about it. When your desk is messy, papers all over the place, files strewn everywhere, what’s your response when an employee walks in and asks “May I have a copy of the latest procedure update?” Probably something like: “Uh. Let me think. I just had it here,” as you rummage through your disordered piles. Meanwhile, your employee fidgets, surreptitiously pulls out his/her phone and texts something. You’re still hunting: “Come back later. It’s here somewhere.” Your employee smiles weakly, and leaves.
You’ve wasted your employee’s time, you’ve wasted your time, and you are quickly acquiring a rep of being a disorganized, therefore incompetent, manager. You can’t be effective under these conditions.
Take the time at the end of your day to properly save and file the day’s efforts. You’ll make your employees happier by not wasting their time, and you’ll enjoy their perception of you as a competent, capable boss.