December 14, 2020
Most of the Managers irrespective of the seniority or stage of their career face the challenge of having timid people in their team. The corporate world is cut-throat, for people starting from the CEO-level up to even the Project Managers or Team Leaders, and it’s truly an issue if you don’t have the people who are ready to take charge and execute their responsibilities confidently with a sense of enthusiasm.
Managers are occupied for most of their time with issues like business operations and expansion. No harm in that, other than the fact that the toll is taken on the time which should have been allotted for their people’s development. The direct result is low productivity, slightly distant issues are revenue and margin losses, and the long-term effect is developing low self-esteem and damaging the HR potential of once-efficient resources, attrition being a sequential event.
The gap between theory and practice
Theoretically, every Manager knows that developing their people is important. Not allotting your time to communicate with your people towards their development and upbringing is just like not lubricating your car only because you’re too busy driving it. But in practice, Managers find out, or able to find out time for the purpose on a very rare occasion. But the good news is, there are small steps that can be taken to create a great difference. Yes, you heard it right.
Changing the way of communication with the individuals
You can start with the timid people by slightly changing your way of communication. When you assign people with a new task you can refill the zeal reservoir of your people by just praising them a little about their performance in the last assignment. Maybe they did not perform up to the best, but every possibility is there that they did good in some parts of it, at the least. So, unless the project was a sheer failure, you can always find out a handful of points to pat their back. Just add a bit of spice to it by telling how it helped the organization or the team.
Let me give one example. Consider that you are going to assign Joe to a new web development project. Getting to the office you called him. While he appeared you told him, “Hey Joe, good morning. We are pleased to assign you to this new web development project.” And immediately you delve into the terms with the client and every technicality.
Instead, let’s consider the case if you call him and after little chit-chat on ‘how-the-day-was-so-far’ says, “Good morning Joe. I was just revisiting the XYZ project report where you were a lead part. Although the margin was less than expected, I noticed that you had taken a lot of extra responsibilities in it. I really appreciate the outcome of module ‘A’ & ‘D’. I think it was possible only because you have walked those extra miles.”
Give him a few seconds to relish the compliments and say, “Now that you have a good experience for type ‘XYZ’ projects which adds great value to the team, I would like to assign you to the new project ‘PQR’. Obviously, you’ll get to stretch your wings a lot in this. Good luck.” And then, penetrate through the technical details or contract terms with the client, as necessary.
No difference in the cost of the project, and only a few sentences extra. Maybe a little over five minutes. Which one of the above two sounds better and you expect a better outcome?
Give crisp feedback on a regular basis
Another cost-less, time-saving trick is to give timely, crisp feedback to your employees regularly on their performances. Don’t overwhelm in doing that. For example, “Karla, I appreciate the way you tackled the production issues last week during such worker crisis by managing the temporary workmen from outside. The only thing I would like to add is that before finalizing the wage of the temporary workers please check with me once. I would be able to help you with an overall expenditure status against the project budget and our decision will be more cost-effective.” Put stress on ‘our’ as it will not only motivate your people but also will brighten your own image.
Let them make some decisions, at the least.
Give them some room to make decisions also. People should not be handheld unless the situation really demands that. Maybe the performance of any particular employee is not very encouraging but handholding all the time will only worsen their confidence level and the performance will diminish further for sure. Instead, teach them what is not desired and what is required, and give them a chance to take at least some decisions which will not majorly affect the project. If they’re able to do it right, expand things. If they’re not, arrange training for them. But no micromanagement, please.
Keep in your mind that everyone wears a tag saying “make me feel important.”
Use the right phrases. It works.
While talking to your employees you may use phrases like “What do you think”, “What’s your point of view in this regard”, “would request for your opinion on this”. These are phrases that make people feel important and they find interested in the work. Think of the time when your guardians asked for your opinion on any family matter for the first time, and how you did feel about it. Also, when delegating some important work, instead of pale talks like “you do this within that time” you may say “Please take charge of this” or “I leave if to your management”. Keep in your mind that everyone wears a tag saying “make me feel important.”
The above short tricks cost no extra penny but add a lot of extra benefits by charging your employees’ enthusiasm. And of course, a zealous, confident group with high self-esteem is way better than a timid group of people.