Make a winning team


Imagine the following scenario: A manager accepts a position in a service-oriented company. Your staff are the public face of the company, but the manager soon discovers that there are significant performance problems that are really causing the company to lose business.

The first challenge will be how to get the best and the most from the existing workforce.

After the first week, the new manager realises low morale, unequal work output, and an attitude of indifference toward clients and protocols. All eyes are on the new manager to see how she takes charge of the situation.

The manager's initial reaction might be to call a staff meeting and issue some subtle threats about what will happen if the quality of the team's performance does not improve. She may remind her team that during these fragile economic times, everyone should feel lucky to have a job - and in fact, there are many job seekers who would be very happy to fill these jobs. After such a meeting, the manager may feel that she will have put in motion improved performance of the employees will be immediately immediate. After all, she has made her expectations clear, and she received no argument from the staff.

This approach will almost certainly fail, since the manager will not have affected a real or permanent behavior change by her direct reports. The reason for this is that quality performance is not available on demand. To understand why, imagine that this same manager wants a family member to change his or her performance. Envision her exhorting his spouse to "cook more lasagna - or else!"

To get positive results, a different approach is required. A manager needs to mentally prepare for a plan that involves several components. The group meeting is a good start, but the director must consider a completely different script.

1. It should remind staff that they are one of the most important assets of the company, and as such, directly influence customer relations. This is the first step to rekindle your team's commitment to excellence.

2. You can then remind your team that to be the best in the industry, each staff member must adhere to specific rules and guidelines. Then, she must state exactly what those rules are, and hand out a written copy. It is important that you explain why these elements are important and mention that she will be providing more supervision. For those members of your staff with a good work ethic, this vote of confidence and reaffirmation of the protocols will produce improved behavior almost immediately.

3. There are other staff members who may have reached a level of frustration and mental resignation who will not react immediately to this initial effort. The manager should meet with each staff member, and individualise their message. This is where she expresses her specific concerns: arrival on time, improvement of attitude, quality of work, etc. It should be clear and straightforward: "Bill, I realised that you were late twice this week. You've been doing a great job, but one of the most important factors for success in this department is the timely arrival. That you're here at 8:00 AM. "Of course, the manager should give Bill a chance to comment, express any concerns he may have and discuss how he plans to get to the office on time.

4. Provide supervision. The manager is responsible for quality control and does not have to apologise for the fact that she must actively ensure that the rules are met.

5. About 30 days of meeting with staff members, learning what motivates them, thanking individuals for well-done jobs, immediately pointing out unacceptable behavior and setting short-term goals for employees, Department.

Unfortunately, the manager will have a small group that has resisted all efforts. If you hope to protect the integrity of the work that most of your team is doing, you will need to be prepared to fire those who are incorrigible. (The manager has been giving the appropriate warnings, and will have submitted the Performance Improvement Memos necessary to cover himself and the signature in case of any legal action.)

The manager must determine the skill set of the person who will be replaced and begin to actively seek out a new staff member prior to termination. The new staff member should be interviewed with great care to ensure that he or she has the right skills, work ethic, and ability to bring a positive attitude to the company.

Now, the manager is on the way to becoming the leader of quality control. In fact, if you direct these office skills to your family - showing appreciation, explaining your wishes, and giving thanks - you can actually find delicious lasagna that is prepared more often at home. Getting the best out your staff will be easier if the appropriate channels are followed.

JAMES LORD | People Management | Recruitment Insight | Hire Gen Y | Flexible Recruiting | Millennials

Tweet @Jameswlord

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