Training Your Team for Success
Part One: What is Your Objective?
As an actor, I was constantly asked by directors and teachers what I wanted out of a scene: what was my objective? This question was to make sure I was focused on being active in the scene versus passive. Each of us at any given time is always looking to achieve an objective. We want to get this information or we want to educate this client on our product etc.
Once you have your objective then the next step is to discover what you have to do to accomplish it—I have to prepare my outline, I have to hit these points first, I have to listen to their response etc. Then we can execute our steps, monitor the interaction, and change tactics as needed to accomplish our goal. The key is that by having your objective in mind ahead of time, you control your actions and responses versus being unprepared and passive.
Watch kids, they are the masters of focused attention on accomplishing their objective. They will monitor very quickly if their actions are leading towards success or do they have to change tactics. We as managers need to commit to the objective and have the flexibility to change tactics when needed.
We have all attended poorly run meetings or calls where nothing seems to happen except people endlessly talking and thought, “I could be doing something else”
Other times you have been engaged where a discussion, client call, or meeting seemed focused, quick, easy, and things got accomplished. Those meeting or calls did not just happen they were planned. Remember to always ask yourself:
- What do I want to accomplish with this call to a client?
- What do I want to accomplish with this meeting? This interaction?
Remember that you are pulling this person away from what they are doing to fulfill their job. If your interaction does not have a purpose, it can be perceived as a waste of time and in turn people will not want to take your call or interact with you.
Just like my director would say, “If you don’t care about what you are doing, neither do I as the audience. We like interacting with people who are engaged and have purpose.”
Part Two: The traits of a good manager and a self-evaluation.
As managers, we all have that moment of reflection, whether we admit it to anyone or not, where we take a moment to be honest with ourselves and begin to grade ourselves as a manager. If you took the time to write this “reflection” down and review it, would you give yourself high marks in all categories or would there be a certain aspect of your skill set that needs work. Then the next question is, what would you do with this information, but that is for another time.
As an exercise take a piece of paper (please do so yourself) and split it down the middle. On the left side write down the positive traits of managers you worked for in the past. On the right, negative traits.Take about five minutes look at what you have written. Was it easier to write negative traits, because they were more obvious, “ignored your ideas,” “Cut you off,” “Always blamed you when things went wrong”?
When you look at the positive traits of your past managers did you have a harder time communicating the positive traits into what you felt were the appropriate words. Many times people rely on using words that reflected how they felt versus the actionable words they used for the negative actions. Their answers were more feeling adjectives. “They were nice,” “we had fun,” “pleasant,” “always seemed calm” etc.
Every time I do this exercise with a group the list of negative aspects are more plentiful and easier to come by. I believe we remember the negative, because it caused us some pain and we had a stronger reaction to this. Many agreed we liked the nicer managers, but for some reason they are not as memorable.
Now that you have your lists, the easiest first steps to becoming a good manager was to make sure you never do what you wrote on the right side of the sheet. I am a firm believer that we are all like the people we manage. If something bugs us, it will bug others so don’t do it.
Did you like it when the manager did not listen to you? Then make sure you allow your team to speak their mind and explain themselves before you react.
Did you like it when the manager just blamed you regardless of the situation? Then make sure when things do not go as planned; you take the time to examine what happened without passing judgment.
Remember to also emulate traits from the positive side of their list.
Your follow up homework is to take the time to watch how you are interacting with others. Past managers impact us all. We unknowingly perceive their actions as what a manager should be. It is not until we take responsibility for our own management style that we review what we are doing and what we want to be. Make sure you are not emulating the bad traits of previous managers without even realizing it.
Next month I will be talking about how to make sure your team is executing on your training.
Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a National Speaker and Trainer.