Handling a team is a helluva lot of work

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Services Review
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For those who have people under them, you may know how hard it is to please just about everybody. We are faced with whiners whose main goal in life is just to whine about everything and anything. They feel like they are constantly the aggrieved party without thought of anyone else. We are faced with freeloaders who are only there during good times but when a need for them arise they vanish. We have the divas, the pain in the butts, the non-performers, the slackers, the woe is me mingling with the performers, quiet workers and leaders. As head of the team you got to make this diverse group function as a team. Tapping on to your reserve of never ending patience and understanding can easily zap away your strength. This is one way of being burnt out. No one is a saint and there is such a thing as too much.

So what to do? I am not going to say I know how to manage a team hands down. My technique is far from perfect, it actually needs a lot of work. I need a lot of work. My team sometimes do not act like a team. One of them would not be mentally present when we have a meeting, others have more of their extra curricular activities in mind rather than help out the team. There are some who just report in for work and just do what needs to be done, other than that there is little effort to be a team player. It is hard to juggle them all and mold them in one type of persona. The goal is to know who to tap and how to tap them so in a way there will be some sort of synergy.

What are expected from you? Got this from our evaluation to check whether we know what we are supposed to do.

1. Manage your team performance where you promotes and encourages the optimum performance of team members.

o Sets team goals and strategies based on cascaded or given department goals and strategies – I make it a point to decipher each of my agents because you cannot just set team goals without knowing where each one is weak at. Like say Kram has good communication skills but process wise he gets confused. I have another agent who has poor communication skills but easily grasps the process, I would then buddy them up and then set their targets.

o Monitors and evaluates performance consistently – this of course does not rest solely on my shoulders. But when there are coaching opportunities I make sure I keep them informed. Sometimes the tiniest details are neglected and making them aware through constant reminders does help. Of course, there may be times when the retention is limited to just a couple of days, that takes more work and a very long one on one because I need to know where the problem really lies.

o Makes improvements in the monitoring and evaluation tools or systems to effectively evaluate and track performance – in our team, we have open communication. We test how best we can monitor each other’s progress, nothing is foolproof so if we need to start from scratch just to improve our stats and our behavior then that is what we do.

o Conducts effective coaching sessions, focusing on staff, and supervisory competencies – I have my moods, they have their moods. Sometimes I try to collect myself first before facing someone who has erred. It is hard not to take things on a personal level especially if you interact with them 8 hours a day, 5 times a week. Egos should be put in check and I try my best not to be historical in terms of how I coach them, bad blood ensues when the past is brought up to life even when it has nothing to do with the recent concern. Different persona different coaching approach.

2. Create a cooperative and productive work environment that is conducive to learning and encourages positive interaction

o Knows and observes personal as well as professional boundaries of relationship with team members and with people outside of the team – interpersonal relationships in the office especially one of subordinate and superiors are taboo in our company although this does not mean it does not exist. So I thread on this with care, I make sure that my interactions are not perceived as anything but professional. I also make it a point that no one feels I am favoring someone over another. To act like a team each one should feel like a part of the team so personal issues get ironed out before it escalates further.

o Responds appropriately to a given situation, whether positive or negative, carefully choosing the words or behavior that may build or harm the relationship – this may be the hardest thing as words are open for misinterpretation no matter how hard you try to explain. Good thing, thru experience I have managed to pick up some basic know how on giving coachings and feedback. We had our training before on iCoach which I still try to use but I added on something else when I pull out my agents. We have our one on ones which tackles the issue (whether their evaluation, an error or coaching opportunities) then moves on the personal matters. This makes the coaching session more in depth and better because we get to know more about each other and learn from each other.

o Responds to feedback appropriately – capitalizing on the positive feedback and taking action on the feedback for improvement. I think this is self explanatory. 😀

Again there are no right or wrong way here, to each his own but in order for some of it to work, you have to learn how to give as well and meet them half way. Implementing an iron hand at work can only do so much for you, sooner rather than later.

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