I’m guessing that if you’re back to work today, you’re trying to get yourself organized for the New Year. You’re cleaning up emails, going through your snail mail, and answering voice mails. Stop focusing on you and your world and start thinking about your team. You’re a manager and leader and your direct reports should always come first.
Here’s an interesting statistic: (from Mood Tracker 2012): “78 percent of employees would work harder IF they felt their efforts would be recognized. But, only 15 percent got any recognition in the past month.” While this study is a bit dated, the evidence is mounting that recognition and engagement go hand in hand. So instead of cleaning up your office today, take a few moments to think about how you’re going to recognize and honor the efforts of the people that made you look good in 2013
McKinsey’s study on Motivating People Beyond Money states that “praise from immediate managers, leadership attention (for example, one-on-one conversations), and a chance to lead projects or task forces—as no less or even more effective motivators than the three highest-rated financial incentives: cash bonuses, increased base pay, and stock or stock options”. So instead of cleaning up your office, take some time to do some or all of the following:
· Set up monthly one-on-one phone or Skype meetings with each of your direct reports. They don’t need to be more than 30 minutes, but make sure it’s their time to share what’s on THEIR minds. And unless there’s a major emergency, stick to the schedule. Once you start cancelling, these meeting lose their effectiveness.
· Create a monthly recognition program. Programs like “Employee of the Month” have proven effective. Depending on your work, it could be “Project of the Month” or “Deal of the Month” where you recognize the entire team that led to the success. If you don’t already have a newsletter, create one or simply a “Blast email”that goes to everyone on the team and your boss.
· Create development plans. Unlike annual appraisals, a development plan has action steps. This is where you can determine who on your team can take over project leads, a task force or mentoring.
It’s easy to focus on your own issues your first few days back in the office, but if you take a few moments to focus on what’s really important, the rest of your year should be a breeze.