Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Managers, Up your game at work using social media tools



Afternoon Every one and I hope you have been having a splendid week so far? I received a question recently which I have detailed below:

Evening Nikky,

I am the head of sales in my company and honestly lately work has become nightmare. You know how the country is now and my people don't seem to want/care to be there. It's always one complaint or the other with them making no real effort to do anything. My CEO is breathing down my neck and it takes all the effort in my body to still come to work. What do I do? I've made up my mind to leave but wanted your advice on how best to do this...(identity withheld to protect the writer)

This question is one I have been asked in one form or the other over the last few years. Please find below a few tips I shared with my friends and these i guarantee will be effective for managers and team leads working in Nigeria:

First, do not quit. It may sound easy in theory to just 'walk away from it all" but this is an attitude you do not want to cultivate. The economy is hard yes and as such you can't just walk away however, there is no job on this earth that will not add value to you as a human being and an employee. If you tackle the problem head on first and do not resort to quitting, there are valuable lessons, competencies, and skills to be learn that will make you an excellent employee for the next employer, when you decide to move on to a better job (as opposed to simply running away into maybe possibly a worse situation) Do not let anyone or anything make you leave before your time. Work through the situation and only leave on your own terms as opposed to leaving feeling broken and dejected.

Next, do a personal audit. It is hard to admit sometimes, but when things are going wrong, blame does not always lie in a "difficult" boss or staff members, sometimes, it lies within us. Sit down and assess both your job description and skills & competencies required for your job and take a look at yourself. Notice any gaps? Is there any part of your job that you dislike (and be honest, don't forget, it's just you at this audit!) For ex,Do you find yourself hating to talk to new people and a key component of your job requires meeting clients on a daily basis? If yes, you would need to start closing that gap. Why not make a plan to say hi to at least two strangers a day and continue on a conversation you would normally flee from. Gradually you will notice you are overcoming this dislike and learning to enjoy more interaction. While you can request for formal training, also set our a training plan for yourself. Buy relevant books, go online and do personality tests, and map out a plan for learning and implementing your new skills. But always remain honest and objective. Sometimes, managers and team leads get caught up with being busy being busy because sometimes it's just easier than being accountable. But this is your wake up call! Get back to doing your job. Don't get lost in administrative duties, work squabbles, and irate customers. Make and stick to your to do list, set daily goals for your self and accomplish. Take a hard look at the company strategy and vision and decide TODAY what you're part is going to be to accomplish it. Look out for new customers if you are not in sales and recommit yourself once again to your office. Take sometime and remember all the things you love about your job (I don't care why you took the job in the first place because since you joined them there will be things you love about your job, work enviroment, staff, boss, etc)

Are you allowing issues spill over while at work? Better work life balance might be needed. Never underestimate the power of a few minutes prayer and writing down a list (both in a both and on outlook) and meditating over it to give you both allow you relax and get into work mode as well clear your head of any negative energy accompanying you into work. You can do this first thing in the morning and anytime during the day when you want to consult your to do list.

Next do an audit of your team. Yes, you must work with Human Resources to come up with a training and motivation plan for your staff, but what happens if one is implemented and it isn't working? Or HR does not exist in your firm? Being in a position of leadership is about more than making orders, it is about taking responsibility and ownership of both the good and the bad. If there is a plan for training and motivation, take hold of that plan today and make sure it is being implemented. Tweak it if necessary to fit your team. What about if there is no plan? It is then up to you to create one. Draft a plan for your team, analyse current issues, set out solutions, give a time line to succeed, and make sure you have put in SMART solutions for any obstacles you think you will face. Also, have one on one chats with your team members. Find out what is happening with them and their work. Ask about problems on the job and empathise with them. Also ask about what motivates them to work besides money. Have you noticed quite a few people have sweet tooth's? Why not start a competition for who can talk to the most new clients and offer a bag of sweets to the winner. Do you have a little bit of money left from your departmental budget? why not set it aside to buy a gift to the highest achiever in your team. 

And above all, never ignore problems hoping they will go away. Is morale at an all time low? gossip at an all time high? people bullying one another? Then get to the heart of the matter. Observe your team for a week. Go out with them as much as possible. Have one on one meetings with everyone and pay close attention to what the say, what they don't say, and their body language. Sometimes in this situation, the solution is as easy as recognising your high achievers and finding out how you can reward them for a job well done (no matter how little or how much money you have) as well as weeding out the bad apples and working with human resources to stop the problem once and for all.
But what if the problem is a little more tricky - you are faced with nepotism, the CEO's office pet, or a bad employee that has survived and remains in the company against all odds? What if money is tight or you have been told point blank there is no money and you have no one to turn to for creative advice on how to motivate and train your people? Nigeria is vastly different in terms of the work climate to anywhere else but there is no problem without an implementable solution as I have encountered all this and more over the course of my career. Over the course of the week, I will be outlining solutions (that i guarantee will work!)to tackle these problems. Have a great day everybody.