Is your family keeping well? Are you finding time to exercise? Have you become accustomed to working from home, or do you miss the office? How about your team; how are they doing? This time last year, we were booking venues for holiday functions, planning for 2020, and managing our teams and relationships face-to-face on a daily basis.
My, how times have changed.
Many years ago, when I was first told I was going to be promoted to the position of manager, I advised those making the appointment that my management skills were limited and untested. I quipped that I had managed to get out of bed that morning and managed to get to work on time, but managing other people was a whole new ballgame. I was not being self-deprecating, as I am a confident person. Some have called me a leader, and in general, people like working for me because I want the best out of them.
The point was, I had received no training, and I did not believe I had a right to determine I would automatically make a good manager of people. Therefore, I asked to be sent to a management course. There was no resistance to my request, but even though my employer was a major global bank it did not offer, at least internally, entry-level management courses. So I went external, and one week later I found myself in the countryside, attending a residential management course. I will be honest with you, I don’t recall learning anything that surprised me or that I thought I was incapable of.
I learned more from books I read, and the best lesson I encountered was to catch someone doing something well. Now, with that in mind, how are you all doing this in the grips of a pandemic with remote working, no personal contact, no social engagement, and all the stresses that come with it? I think most of us are doing very well right now; we are holding up, sticking to the task, and delivering. In some firms, productivity has increased. There is a need to recognize this and catch your team members doing something well. When did you last have an online one-on-one coffee with a member of your team?
It’s not about a bonus, commission, or a pay raise. No, it’s an acknowledgment—an expression of appreciation, even gratitude. These gestures, particularly when made in public or during a team meeting, are a very important component of people management. Don’t allow old, outdated practices and thinking to inhibit your new management style. Think outside of the office; after all, that’s where we are right now. Don’t play the “that’s what they are paid to do” card either, and don’t think that just because no one is praising you, you will not praise others.
Remember, it is our job to get the best out of people, and we are far more likely to do this when we praise them for good work. Perhaps the praise will draw more of the same out of them. We are in this for the long haul and so are our teams. We need to be there for each other and our clients; we need to replicate all that we do well and ensure we recognize the efforts of our teams in challenging and stressful environments.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on, catch someone doing something well.
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