Hello, everyone. Welcome to "How to Become a More Effective Manager." This is the next topic in the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate webinar series. My name is Greg Brannan from Deer Oaks. Good to be with you today. This webinar series, as most of you are aware, if you attend all four of the sessions this year--
There are four quarterly sessions that are part of this series. We did one in the first quarter, we've got another one today, a third in August, and a fourth in November. I'll give you those dates here in just a moment. If you attend either live or by viewing the recording, all four of those presentations during 2023, you'll receive the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate at the end of this calendar year.
And we have been doing this series now for many years. We've had, I think, now over-- well over 2,000 people that have received the certificate over the years. And so if this is something that you're interested in completing and receiving this year, we will work with you to make that happen for you as well.
And so, again, just to give you the logistics, back in February on February 13, in case you missed it, we did "How to Effectively Supervise a Hybrid Work Team." Again, back on February 13, we presented "How to Effectively Supervise a Hybrid Work Team.
If you missed that session but still would like to have access to the recording link, all you have to do is hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today, and just let our staff know that you would like them to forward you the recording link, and you can go ahead and view that recording link at your leisure and get credit for attending that session. Again, that one was entitled "How to Effectively Supervise a Hybrid Work Team" was held on February 13.
After today's session-- by the way, we will be recording this session as well. And in addition to recording the session, the PowerPoint slides are available upon request. Again, if you need the PowerPoint slides, or you need a copy of the recording link, all you have to do, again, is hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation reminder for today, and just ask our staff to send you the PowerPoint or the link to the recording, we'd be happy to send that to you.
Now, the two upcoming sessions, the next two quarterly sessions later in the year. On August 21, we'll be presenting "How to Give Difficult Feedback to Your Employees." Again, that's August 21, we'll be presenting "How to Give Difficult Feedback to Your Employees."
And the last session or last topic for this year's Leadership Certificate series will be coming up on November 6. That is entitled, "Managing the Stress of Time and Competing Priorities." Again, on November 6, we'll be presenting "Managing the Stress of Time and Competing Priorities."
If you would like to register for either or both of those last two sessions coming up in the future, and do not have a way to do that right now, and want more information, or you want the registration link sent to you, again, all you have to do is hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today or reminder for today, and ask our staff to send you the registration links for those future sessions. We'd be happy to do that as well. All right, let's get started today folks.
All right. A couple of other things I wanted to make you aware of. During this presentation today, participants will be in listen-only mode. So what I mean by that is you won't be able to audibly ask questions during the formal part of the presentation, which really should last probably about 35 minutes today, give or take. But your questions are important to me, and so when we get to the end of the formal part of the presentation, I will open it up for questions at that point in time.
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And then last but not least, I just want to make sure that our technology is working for us today. And so if you can look for the Raise Hand icon in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. And if you can see my slides clearly, or if you can hear my voice clearly, could you please click on the Raise Hand icon now.
All right. Thank you, folks. Looks like we're good to go technology-wise. Let's go ahead and get started today folks. Well, I've got three objectives for our time together. First is to review the core management and leadership skills that are necessary for us to succeed in a supervisory role.
And then we're going to talk a lot today about communication. If there were a leadership wheel, I would say the hub of that wheel really is our effectiveness in communication. How well we're able to interact with the people that we're leading, people that were supervising. So we're going to talk a lot about the communication skills necessary to truly engage and motivate our employees.
And then last but not least today, we're going to identify several key processes that we can implement in the day-to-day management of our team to help maximize employee productivity.
All right. So I've got four sections I'm breaking this up into today. We're going to talk about self-management. Then we're going to talk about communication skills. We're going to talk about team management. And then we're going to talk about productivity management.
Let me start with self-management folks. And so self-management, really, is kind of a prerequisite. I truly believe that this is an under-discussed area of leadership training that should be more consistently considered.
There are certain prerequisites for most of us as leaders. And I've been managing teams now-- I'm a director at Deer Oaks. I've been managing teams now for 30 years, and I know a lot of you today on the line have tons of management experience as well.
There are certain things that we need to be thinking about when we go to work every day to be effective as a leader. One is to set a positive tone for our team. And unfortunately, a lot of leaders when they go to work, being human beings, will get caught up in their to-do list, and not spend as much one-on-one time with the team, with individual employees.
Or they will be so focused on their current stress level, or a deadline that they're having, or something that's going on in their world that they won't have a smile on their face. They won't be as upbeat. They won't be as encouraging in general as they could be.
Now, granted, supervisors, managers, we're human beings. I mean, we go to work sometimes, and we're not in the best place. Maybe we didn't sleep well the night before or maybe we're not feeling well. But one of my colleagues, who was also a manager for, I think, over 20 years, she said to me that-- she said, when I signed up to be a manager-- and she works for a municipality in my area.
She said, when I signed up to be a manager, I really had to learn to put my own baggage aside. She said, so when I walk in the front door of my building every day, she said, I check my baggage at the door, and I put a smile on my face. I go in and I say to myself in my mind, it's show time. And I do my very best to set a positive tone for my team.
So, folks, I think that's really what it takes. It takes us to be intentional about being positive. We're not always going to feel positive if you're not in a good place. And we're human. We're going to have days that aren't going to be as energetic, days when we're tired, days more preoccupied, days more stressed. But when you sign on to be a leader, we have to set-- we need to remember we've got to proactively set a positive tone for the team.
And so life is hard. And it's interesting, the book The Leadership Challenge is very clear that one of the things that people want from their leaders is they want them to be inspirational, to inspire them, to help them get through today's issues, and give them the confidence and the faith that tomorrow will be better than today. And we'll get through this together guys.
And that takes positivity. I see that as-- I see our role as a leader as a combination of things. Yes, we've got to be-- we've got to understand the technical part of the job to make sure the work gets done, but we need to really do a great job of supporting and caring for people. We need to do a wonderful job of encouraging and providing recognition and showing appreciation to people.
At the end of the day, we've got to be there for them. We've got to have their back. And so that they can feel like, wow, even when times get tough, my boss has got me. My boss has got my back. It's going to be OK. And that's what I'm talking about here is just trying to be as intentional as we can to set that positive tone.
Just like when parents come home to the house at night, they set the tone. The mood the parents are in when they get home from work sets the tone for the kids. When the parents are upbeat and happy and have a smile on their face, there's more positive energy in the house, and the kids generally respond better.
Same thing at the office. When the boss walks in the morning and is in a good place, greets everyone with a smile even if they don't feel it. They're intentionally valuing being kind, being positive, being nice, being encouraging, that makes a world of difference in the culture and the energy of the team.
So let's remember, folks, that we want to be approachable. The more positive we are, the more supportive and encouraging we are in general, the more approachable we're going to be for the staff. If you go in a bad mood a lot, and people have to walk on eggshells around you, or if you're too negative, too critical when people make a mistake, people will generally not see us as accessible.
And they may hesitate to come forward when there's an issue because they don't what they're going to get from us. If you really want to set a-- have a really positive work environment, remember you're the tone setter. More than anyone else on the team, you're the tone setter.
Next is we have to keep our emotions in check. This is very similar to the first point we talked about is every single human being, every single manager is an emotional being. We're all going to have days when we're frustrated, days when we're upset, days when maybe something is weighing on us, and we're heavy hearted. But, folks, we have to manage that well.
Again, we want to be approachable. We want people to be comfortable around us. I worked with-- I was thinking about one particular manager I worked for years ago that was-- her moodiness was scary, and I never knew what I was going to get. And so sometimes I could go in and talk about a neutral topic, and she'd be really, really supportive. Other times I could go in, and she would be very, very harsh and critical.
I had another guy that I worked for that was also very similar. I was thinking of the two more challenging-- and, really, over the years, the two examples I've given you now were probably the two more difficult bosses I've ever had. This guy was very-- he also was-- you didn't know what you're going to get. Some days he was approachable, and other days he was just really, really harsh, or very critical.
And so, again, those are examples, to me, of two supervisors that I had that didn't seem to do a real good job managing their emotions. And if they were not in a good place emotionally, or if they were on deadline or something like that, they just weren't real approachable and easy to deal with. And that was hard for the team. It was hard for the employees around them. You didn't know what you're going to get.
So, folks, we want to be approachable for our staff. So we need to be-- not only do we need to be positive, we need to be consistent emotionally. And I'm not saying not to feel. We're going to feel what we feel. We're all emotional beings. But be consistent. Be stable emotionally.
You can be honest with people. If you're not happy about something, you can tell them. I know this is frustrating for you, it's frustrating for me too. You can be transparent and be a real human being with the staff. But we want to be stable.
We want the staff to know that they can come to us, and we're going to be consistently supportive, and we're going to have somewhat of an even keel. And sure, we're going to have emotions, but we're going to keep our emotions-- ideally, we're going to keep our emotions under control. So, again, we can be very approachable.
And poorly managed emotions, sometimes, in leaders lead to very ineffective behaviors, such as being highly critical, like the examples that I shared with the two managers that were hard for me to deal with. Or micromanaging, the one guy that I was talking about. When he was not in a good place, he would micromanage the heck out of us. And it was very frustrating. It was very hard to work in that environment.
Also, we got to keep our stress level in line folks. And I know we know this, but it's stressful being a supervisor. Life is stressful in general, but when you're a supervisor, you've got a lot on your plate. And so we got to manage our stress well.
Supervisors that don't manage their stress very well, typically, are more reactive. They're not as calm. They don't respond as calmly when employees have issues or problems that they need assistance with, and typically, they're not able to use their best interpersonal skills.
When people are stressed out, they have a hard time staying present with people, listening patiently just because they're feeling so stressed and pushed. I know we all know this, but when we're stressed out, we typically get into what we call survival mode. That fight or flight response. We're just trying to get through the stressor.
And so, again, that can make it real uncomfortable for employees. And so I want us-- again, I want to strive to manage ourselves so that when employees need us, and when we're going to interact with them, we can be the best version of ourselves. We can be calm. We can be helpful. We can be encouraging, and positive, and supportive. And if we're not managing our stress well, it's hard to do those things.
And then last but not least, we've got to manage our time well. Supervisors that are always in a hurry like the picture of the gentleman in the lower right-hand corner here. Just going from thing to thing to thing. Leaders are typically more impatient and less collaborative when they're in a hurry.
I found that as a real truth in life. It's that, when we're not in a hurry, when we're not rushed, most people typically can-- they can more calmer conversations, they can listen better, and not be not always be in a hurry to get on to the next thing.
Sometimes when you're trying to talk to your boss, and you can tell that they're not really present with you because they're trying to get through the conversation as quickly as they can to get on to the next thing, we don't want to do that.
Again, we want to be approachable. We want to manage ourselves well, stay calm, be positive, be stable, and organize so that when people need us, we can be the best version of ourselves. Be patient, calm, helpful, supportive.
All right. Next let's talk about communication skills. And this to me probably is-- of all of these-- they're all important-- this is probably one of the most important. I mentioned, again, if there was a leadership wheel, to me, the hub of the wheel, the center of that wheel would be how we communicate with our team.
And so one of the things I want us to remember is prioritize people over tasks. What I mean by that, don't see spending a little bit of time with an employee, stopping in the hallway for five minutes when you're on site, don't see that as a waste of time when you're in a hurry to get to the next thing. See that as an investment. People need to know that their leaders care about them.
Gallup, the polling company, did some incredible research folks. And what they concluded was-- and they talked to over 1 million employees in America, they concluded that regardless of why someone takes the job, how productive they'll be while they're there and how long they stay has most to do with their relationship with their boss. And relationships as we all know are built and maintained on day-to-day communication.
And so Bob Nelson, he's a leadership guru that I think highly of. He had one famous quote that said, "An employee's motivation is the result of the sum of the interactions they have with their direct supervisor." I thought that's interesting. I'll say that again. "An employee's motivation is the direct result of the sum of the interactions they have with their supervisor."
If those interactions are helpful, supportive, if that boss shows interest in the employee's input, is respectful about the employees' ideas, that supervisor is typically-- or that employee is, typically, going to be motivated because the supervisor is doing a good job.
I have a great boss at Deer Oaks, our executive director. I've worked for her now-- I think I've reported directly to her now for like nine years or so. She's a great boss. She's patient. She's kind. And yeah, she's a good leader for sure. She has no problem holding us accountable to get the job done, but she does it in such a way that you know you're cared about as a person.
And she always has your back. You always feel supported. And as a result, our motivation level for the team is really high. And we have a lot of people who've been here for a long time. I've been here 12 years. A lot of my colleagues have been here for 14, and 16, and 13 years.
And I think one of the reasons-- one of the main reasons is our supervisor does a really great job of creating a very positive, caring environment for the team. And we know she cares about us as people, not just as employees.
And that's big, folks. To make spending time with our people, and see it as an investment. And just make sure that you don't just get right down to business, but you take the time to ask people about themselves, show an interest in their lives. Get to know our staff as individuals.
I like to ask people about their kids, find out what's important to them. And I'm not talking about prying into people's personal business, I'm talking about just talking and showing an interest in general like you would ask any person that you would meet as an individual.
So we find out as-- for example, one of the ladies on my team is from Indianapolis, and she loves the Indianapolis Colts. Well, during football season, I look at my team, and I also keep an eye on her team because when we have our one-on-one meeting during the week, it gives me something to talk to her about instead of just getting down to business. I'm always looking to find areas that people are interested in that we can catch up about.
And so we're building a bond together showing that we care about each other as people. And when that happens, again, employees, typically, are more motivated to get engaged. Research shows that when employees feel that their supervisor cares about them as a person, they're much more likely to get fully engaged and give 100% on the job. So let's make sure we're not just getting down to business every time we see somebody.
Yeah, we need to get things done, but let's also take some time to bond with people, find out what's important to them, and catch up with them when you see them from time to time. I do one-on-one meetings with my team every week. And I've got a small team. I've only got three people on my team right now, so I can do it once a week. Some people do one on ones every other week, or once a month, and that's fine as well.
But I start every one-on-one meeting, typically, by asking people about their lives. About things I know that are of interest to them, or things that are going on in their world. And after five or 10 minutes of that, we get down to business, and we have a very productive agenda. But I want them coming out of those meetings, not just getting work done, I want them to they're cared about as people.
Now, folks, it's also important how we communicate. So it's not just what we say, but how we say it. A lot of supervisors tend to be more directive in their communication approach. What I mean by directive is they tend to give opinions a lot, tell people what to do.
When they assign work, they're telling them what to do, and how to do it. They're not asking people for their input very much. If there's problems to be solved, they're the ones always telling people what needs to be done to solve the problem. If performance is lagging, they're the ones always coming up with the corrective action plan and dictating it to the employee.
Folks, let's remember that collaboration is a motivating communication style. Being overly directive is not. Being overly directive makes people feel like they're being talked at, or talked down to, or being micromanaged. If you're collaborating-- collaboration, really, is two people talking together. It's brainstorming. It's asking the employee for their input.
So, for example, when I assign work nowadays, I don't just tell people what to do and how to do it. But I'll make the assignment, I'll talk about the scope of the assignment, then I'll ask the employee, what do you think we should do to get this done? And I feel like getting them involved in the development of the work plan is a more engaging experience for the employee. It makes the employee feel more a part of things.
They tend to take more ownership. They tend to feel more respected. And so, folks, let's make sure we're not calling all the shots, but that we're regularly asking people for input. Whether it's input in solving problems, input in how the work is going to be done, or even if you're talking about performance that needs to be improved.
Ask the employee-- after you've talked through the issue, say, what do you think we should do to turn this around or to improve this? And give the employee the opportunity to have some input into that. When employees feel like their supervisor values their input, they are much less likely to leave and go somewhere else.
Right now the field of employee retention, one of the main stay-leave decision factors for employees is, does my organization, does my boss value me as a contributor. And when we ask people for their input regularly, it shows that we value their opinion. We're giving them a voice. And it really helps to improve their perception of being valued and respected, which will reduce the likelihood that they might go somewhere else.
Next let's talk about team management folks. And so this is an-- I think it's an under-focused on part of management. And I know we all know that we're team building. And I think almost all of us at one time or another has created or scheduled a team building event. But what I've come to realize is that not a lot of supervisors make team building a process.
And team building shouldn't just be a one-time event. Sure. It's better than not doing anything at all, take the team bowling, or do a team picnic, or something like that. Sure, that's a good thing, but we really ought to be thinking about team building as a process. What are we doing as a team on a regular basis, month in, month out to build a really comfortable culture for the team where people feel a sense of belonging?
When a team feels like it's a work family, people, again, are much less likely to leave and go someplace else. Turnover is reduced. Motivation is higher. It's interesting, one research study from the book The Leadership Challenge said the teams where individuals have really gotten connected with each other and care about each other as people have remarkably higher productivity as much as 70% more than teams that say, these are just my coworkers.
And so, folks, let's make a habit of creating an environment, or make a habit of intentionally creating a strong team. And so I have a team building plan. And so what I do with my team building plan-- I want to get through just a couple of examples here is I start team meetings with-- I look for opportunities for bonding.
So first and foremost, folks, my team building plan consists of weekly team meetings. And so we do 30 to 45 minutes every week. We've got a small team. Again, there's just the four of us, me and three others. But we start a lot of our team meetings with what I call icebreakers, where we go around the-- we all work remotely nowadays, and we go around the virtual room. And we'll address a question to help each other get to know each other better.
One time we did-- let everyone talk about the best musical concert they ever went to and why. We got to know each other's musical preferences, and we had a lot of laughs about that.
Another time one of our colleagues led us to do, now that you're an adult, if you were giving advice to your teenage self, what would you tell them would be important to live a happy life? And that was interesting to hear people's takes on that. So we intersperse opportunities for bonding at the beginning of team meetings.
Folks, we want to get people comfortable with each other. If you think about what really creates job satisfaction is it's not necessarily the work we're doing, the work is important, but at the end of the day, what really makes people happy at work and where they really enjoy their days is when they're working with a supervisor and a team that cares about them, that they care about.
So we want to facilitate that as a supervisor. We want to create regular meeting opportunities for team bonding. And so I regularly bring the team together for our weekly team meetings.
The number one reason I have team meetings every week is I don't want us to be disconnected from each other. Especially since we work remotely, I want us to stay connected. And so I bring us together, and we have a business agenda, but we start every meeting with just reconnecting with each other.
And so we'll do the icebreakers, like I mentioned, and then we'll intersperse those meetings-- we also do a lot of brainstorming in our team building. As part of my team building plan is instead of me just dictating the agenda, my colleague, the other person that manages the team with me, my colleague and I, we typically will bring up topics to the team, and we will facilitate a brainstorming session. And so everyone has input.
So, again, it's not a management-led team meeting or agenda, it's a facilitated conversation where everyone gets a say. And the interesting thing, since we've been doing that in the last three or four years, I find our team meetings are so much more engaging for everybody. They tend to go longer because people have taken an ownership.
But be thinking about that. Think about what plan can you put together for the rest of the year-- those of you that are on fiscal years, you got your new fiscal year starting July 1, coming right around the corner, think about, what can I do this next fiscal year to really build a better bonded team?
Where I can as the leader be more bonded to each individual employee, help them feel more connected to me, help them feel a little bit more cared about as a person, not just as an employee because that leads to engagement.
And then, what can I do on a regular basis to get the team better bonded with each other? Again, whether it's team meetings. You can add team building events in addition to team meetings. Throughout the year we'll do special team building events, where we'll do a secret Santa gift exchange in December. We've done that every year now for the last four or five years. It's a lot of fun.
When we're in the office together, we've gone off site. We've gone bowling a couple of times. We've gone to Topgolf. We've done a lot of different things. But have a plan. Don't see team building as a one-time event. Have a plan and make your team meetings, whether it's weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, make your team meetings the foundation of your team building plan.
And make sure that as part of those meetings you're giving people a chance to bond together, to get to know each other better as people. Because, again, that's what forms that bond with the team and makes them feel like they're a work family, and that increases job satisfaction, and it increases productivity, and it keeps people around longer.
All right. Last but not least, folks, and I'll open it up for questions, let's talk about productivity management. And so what I want to talk about, again, is that performance management, much like team building should not-- it should not be an event like the annual review.
I know some managers tend to see performance management as the annual review. It's like, OK, it's time to sit down and do your annual review, let's assess your performance. But, folks, the annual review, if you think about it, should be a summary of what you've talked to an employee about throughout the year. It shouldn't be performance management. It shouldn't be where you're managing performance.
So performance management should be an ongoing process that should include regular conversations between employees and direct reports-- I'm m supervisors and their direct reports, on an ongoing basis talking about tasks that are in process, projects that are being developed, problems that need to be solved, those kinds of things.
And so I want to talk about two parts of a performance management process that have worked really well for me. And it's consistent with some of the literature about ongoing performance management effectiveness. And I'm going to take collaboration and ongoing coaching. So collaboration would be, when you assign work, folks, try to make sure that you're not just telling the employee what to do and how to do it.
If the supervisor is assigning work in a micromanaging way by saying, here's what I need you to do, and here are the steps I need you to follow, folks, that's received by employees as micromanagement.
You may feel like maybe you're just trying to train them and teach them how to do it right, but if the employee doesn't have any input into how the work is going to be done, typically, they'll feel a little bit micromanaged, and they won't buy in as much and take as much ownership on the assignment, which we want them to do. That creates more motivation when people take ownership.
So when you assign work-- first of all, if it's any significant assignment, I highly recommend you don't send the assignment electronically. A lot of supervisors will-- and I've done it myself too many times, a lot of supervisors will send an assignment via email. Now, it's fine for a one-off task. I'm not talking about, we need to meet in person for every little thing.
But if it's a significant piece of work, a significant task, a project that's important, let's make sure that we have a meeting about it so you can have a conversation and collaborate together. What you want to do is you want to have a collaboration conversation about that project where you and the employee are partnering together to figure out, this is what-- this is the scope of it, here's how we're going to get it done, and just be on the same page about that.
I love that approach folks. When you do that with employees, when you really talk through, here's the scope of the assignment, we got 30 days to get this done, what do you think we need to do to get this done? What resources do you think we need? And you go back and forth as a partnership, and you collaborate with the employee.
You come out of that meeting, really, with a partnership where you're on the same page. You and the employee are agreeing how the job is going to get done. And the employee, typically, is going to be much more bought in and much more committed to doing a good job because they were part of the planning of it. People support what they helped to create.
So that's the first thing, I think, it's really important for ongoing performance management is make sure you're collaborating on the assignment of work, and you're really doing it as a partner. You're not just dictating it, or telling the employee how to do that, you're working with the employee. You're rolling up your sleeves, and getting in there, and working with the employee, and giving them an opportunity to own the process.
And then the second part is have ongoing conversations, ongoing coaching conversations with employees about the progress they're making on the assignments. And so it's really important-- at the end of the assignment of work collaborative conversation, what you want to do there is agree to the employee as to when you're going to follow up to talk with them about it. When you're going to ask for a progress report, when you're going to want the employee to update you about the progress they're making.
Now, here's a really important point. I do weekly meetings, as I mentioned, with every one of my staff. One of the reasons I do that is to stay connected to my team and to keep those bonds strong between me and each one of them. That's the important part of it. But another important part is to stay on top of the flow of the work and to hold people accountable to get the work done correctly and on time.
And so at the end of a collaboration conversation when I'm assigning work, the employee and I will agree, now, OK, we talked about this assignment, and you've got four weeks to get this done.
And, for example, we'll say, if you don't mind, why don't you be prepared, since we meet once a week anyway, that during our one-on-one meeting each week, would you please be prepared to give me just a quick five-minute update on the progress you're making on this project? Just so you and I can make sure we're on the same page together, or I can offer support, and so on and so forth.
And when you do something like that, now the employee has an expectation. He knows you have an expectation that is going to be less to procrastinate because they have to get moving on that project because they know you're going to-- they're requiring you to update them once a week. And so that does tend to move the work along pretty well and hold the employee accountable to keep the flow of the work moving forward.
But it also gives you an opportunity as the supervisor-- if the employee gets off track, let's say, two weeks later-- at your one-on-one meeting-- the employee is sharing that they're doing X, Y, and Z, and you were thinking they were going to be doing S, T, U, and now you realize we're not on the same page anymore.
And then you can take a step back, still, and there's time to course correct. To say to the employee, wait a second. We had agreed two weeks ago you were going to do X, Y, Z, now, why have you changed the plan? And let's say they say, well, I got into it and I felt like we should go in this direction instead. Say, OK, well, let's take a minute and talk about that because I want to be on the same page with you.
And, again, it gives you a chance to get back on the same page together and to go back and forth. Because, again, it's a partnership. And if the employee is just going to change directions, or if they're not going to follow what you had agreed upon, then this gives you an opportunity on those check-ins or those updates, gives you an opportunity to get back on the same page together and progress towards meeting your deadlines.
All right, folks. I know we covered a lot in a very short period of time today. I want to go ahead and open it up for questions. And so if you have any questions, if you can please type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
While you're thinking of potential questions, I want to remind you-- we did have several people join us after we started today. I want you all to remember, again, this is the second-- "How to Become an Effective Manager," this is the second topic in the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate webinar series.
We started in February with "How to Effectively Supervise a Hybrid Work Team." We've got today's session today, "How to Become a More Effective Manager." In August we'll be presenting "How to Give Difficult Feedback to Your Employees." And in November we'll conclude the series this year on "Managing the Stress of Time and Competing Priorities."
The reason I'm sharing that with you, folks, if anyone either missed the first session and still wants to view the recording, or if you have not been given the opportunity to register for the last two that are coming up here in August and November, just hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation today and ask our staff to send you either the link for last month's recording so you can view it, or to send you the registration link for the ones coming up in August and November. We'd be happy to send those to you folks.
Because at the end of this year, anyone who has either viewed live or viewed via the recording link-- we track both of all four of these sessions during 2023-- you will receive the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate. And over 2,000 people have qualified for the certificate over the past several years.
So, again, we're happy to help you stay on top of that if you'd like us to. Just hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation or reminder for today, and let our staff know what you need, we'd be happy to respond to you. All right, folks. Let's see if there's questions.
OK. Here's a great question. Here's, can you give me some examples for team building activities for virtual team building since we are working in a more hybrid environment over many sites? Absolutely. And so let me give you some great examples.
One organization that I became familiar with before COVID, they used to have popcorn Fridays every Friday. And so, basically, people would congregate in the employee break room, and they would pop popcorn, and they would visit together for a half an hour. It was a half an hour Friday afternoon break that the organization gave to everybody.
Well, a couple of months into the pandemic, this particular organization went remote like so many organizations did for social distancing reasons, and people were saying, we miss popcorn Fridays. So they reinstituted them for virtual teams.
And so basically what they do now is every Friday at 3 o'clock, everyone who's working remotely, they go to their own microwave, they pop their own popcorn, and they sit on a Zoom call, and they enjoy popcorn together, and just make small talk with each other like they used to do when they were in the office together. That was a really good example I had heard.
I've heard other really creative examples like people are doing virtual coffee breaks together. Everyone goes out to Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, and gets their coffee, and then they meet at a certain time, and get on a Zoom call or a Teams call together, and have coffee together. Virtual lunches together. I've heard lots of creative things that you can do to keep people bonded together. Thank you. That was a great question.
Here's another good question, folks, is what suggestions do you have for team builders for introverts? Our company is being sensitive to being inclusive, but I find it challenging when it comes to team building. Folks, I think that's a great point. Now, not everybody-- obviously, the world is really split in half, basically. Half the world is more introverted, half the world's more extroverted.
But, folks, let's not forget that-- or let's not think that folks that have a more intense introverted personality style don't have interpersonal needs. They do. Every human being has social needs. We all do. We just express those needs and we create energy a little bit differently.
You can tell I'm an extrovert, I get energized by being in a group. Other people get energized one on one. So you just have to-- you've got to be thinking about how you do that.
And so team builders for introverts, you might do some things in smaller groups. You can be careful not to put people on the spot. Sometimes in a large group setting, people that are more introverted might not want to be put on the spot. If you're going around the virtual room and everyone's getting a chance to talk about something as part of an icebreaker, that might be uncomfortable for some people.
So what I would do, absolutely, is talk to people who are more introverted and ask, what kind of team building events would you be comfortable with? And you'll be surprised what you'll get. We had one person on our team years ago that was really, really introverted, and once we started doing some of these icebreakers, and they were given the opportunity to lead some of them-- the choice, they had the choice, they didn't have to-- but they stepped up and did that.
And, really, it really helped this one person I'm thinking about warm up to the rest of the group a little bit because they actually enjoyed it, and they looked forward to their turn. But you don't want-- the bottom line is you don't want to put people in uncomfortable situations.
So ask people individually and together as a group, what icebreakers are most comfortable for you, or what team building activities are most comfortable for you. And you can also Google. There's lots of good stuff online about team building ideas. So thank you. That was a great question.
I'm looking for more questions, folks, since I got so many questions today that would be more generally-- that could help us all-- I'm looking for more general ones that we could all relate to a little bit.
OK. Here's a really, really good question. This individual said-- one of our colleagues said that, I used to be a supervisor in a private organization, and we micromanaged our employees. Now, as a government supervisor, how can I change so that I don't micromanage everything? I appreciate that so much. That's such an important question.
Folks, the best way to change that is to be more be more collaborative in your approach. So just think about it. Whether you're talking to an employee about assigning work, or whether you're talking to them about a problem that needs to be solved, or whether you're talking to them about performance that needs to be improved, rather than you dictating it-- that's where employees feel micromanaged, when the supervisor dictates.
Like, here's how we're going to do this. Or, here's what we're going to do to fix this. Or, here's what we're going to do to get back on track. Have conversations that are about-- that are collaborative, that are brainstorming.
So say to the employee, OK, here's the assignment, let's brainstorm. How can we make this thing happen? What experience do you have with these kinds of things in the past? Let's brainstorm. Let's put our heads together and figure out a way forward that will make this project come to fruition in a really successful way.
And work together and ask people for their input regularly. The best way to go from being directive as a communicator to being collaborative is to ask people for their input. Instead of saying, this is what I think as a supervisor, say, hey, this is going on, what do you think?
Or instead of me saying, this is what I recommend we do, say, hey, we got this situation going on, do you have any recommendations? Have you experienced this kind of problem before? How did you handle it last time?
So try to do your very best to be as collaborative as you can and make your conversations two ways, and regularly ask people for their input. When you do that, it tends to make things less-- it makes people feel less like they're being micromanaged, and more like they're a part of it. It gives them a voice. Thank you, great question.
Trying to find more questions, folks.
Here's another really, really good-- and this is a common question I think would be helpful to most of us. How do you manage someone who's inherently negative all the time? That's a great question because it happens on work teams, folks. Gallup, the polling company, says that one in five American employees is actively disengaged.
And, typically, with active disengagement comes a fair amount of negativity. And so, again, it's not-- what I'm talking about here is it's not that we should be surprised when someone's negative. Negativity is pretty common in our world, and I know we all know that. But as we all know, if you allow negativity to go unchecked, that one negative people can really pull down the morale of a team.
One negative person who is out there on the floor complaining all the time, badmouthing the environment, or complaining about how they're being treated. And not that we shouldn't give people an opportunity to express how they feel, but I'm saying if someone's constantly doing negative venting, it does pull people down. And so I bring those folks in and I coach them.
And what I mean by coaching them is I would bring someone in who's chronically negative-- and a coaching conversation as most of us know-- and then we'll do one more question after this before we wrap up.
But a coaching conversation as most of us know is a collaborative conversation where you're giving someone an opportunity to give some input. You're not just telling them what they're doing is wrong, and here's what I need you to do to fix it. That's micromanagement.
To bring someone who's negative in and tell them, you're too negative, and you need to stop being negative, and this is what I need from you instead, that can be viewed as micromanagement. That can make that negative person even worse. That can make them resent you, make them feel micromanaged, make them feel like they're not being supported, which could actually make their negativity even worse.
Negativity fosters when people don't feel like they're getting their needs met, or they feel like they're not being treated the way they want to be treated. You want to bring them in and use more of a coaching approach where you bring them in and say, you have a lot of-- you always want to start every coaching conversation-- and I know you all know this-- in a positive way. Always start with something positive.
I would bring them in and say, hey, I wanted to talk to you today about the energy we have on our team right now. And I want to thank you for the times where you contribute to that. You've been really instrumental in helping some of our new people really get up to speed with how we do things around here, and I appreciate that very much.
I do need your help a little bit more with the energy level in the team. I've noticed in our team meeting, some of the energy in our team meetings has been more negative lately. And I know the team's been through a lot, and it's been stressful in the world over the last couple of years, I get that, but I want to make sure our team environment is more positive.
And I noticed that you've tended to be negative in our team meetings lately, can you tell me why? And let's say the person starts to justify that by saying, that's because things are bad, and I'm just being real, and just calling it as I see it. And I would say to that person, OK, I appreciate the way that you perceive things the way you perceive things, absolutely.
But I want to ask if you will help me because you're one of the veterans here that people look up to. I want to ask if you would help me keep the environment here or the culture here a little bit more positive. And so what could you do when you're weighing in your ideas in team meetings that might set a more positive tone for the team instead of just complaining about something that's not working?
And give that employee an opportunity to step up and be a little bit more constructive. A lot of times if you coach someone and let them know that they're important, and ask what they can do to help you, sometimes people will step up. Not 100%, but sometimes they will. I've seen some people step up and become a little bit more constructive and positive when you call on them to do so.
And, again, if that doesn't change, I'd call them in again a couple of months later and have a similar conversation that makes it clear to that employee that you're just not going to accept chronic negativity, and that you're going to continue to work with them until they can-- and give them an opportunity to let you what they can do to make their contribution to the team a little bit more positive and constructive.
Thank you. That was a great question. Thank you. I got time for one more question today, then we'll wrap up for the day, folks. Thank you, everybody, for being with us. All right. Here's a really good final question is, how do you balance modeling calm with showing empathy when your entire team is stressed?
Folks, I think that's so important. Let's think about that for a second. A supervisor has a responsibility to support the team. We all know that. That's part of our job. It may not be in our actual job description, but we all know that's part of the job. It's part of the reason why we're there is to support everybody on the team.
Now, if the team is really stressed or going through a lot of tough times, let's say, you're understaffed, and there's a lot of change, and people are just really stressed. And so what I'm trying to say here is, first and foremost, be supportive, OK? You definitely want to stay calm, be supportive, but you also want to want to show empathy.
You also want to be honest with people and say, I know that some of you are struggling right now, and I am, too. I think it's perfectly acceptable to say to people, be transparent as long as your overall theme is we're going to get through this, guys, we're going to get through this together, I got your back, we're going to get through this.
So you don't want to get into a real negative venting place as the leader, but you can absolutely show empathy by saying to people, you know what, I know it's been real tough lately. I know it has. And it's been hard on us, I know that. I know that we're feeling a lot more stress than usual. I know workloads have been heavy.
I know we haven't backfilled those two open positions right now, and we're not sure when we're going to, and I know that's causing stress for the team. I know it's causing extra work for all of us, and I want you to know that I feel it, too. OK. You're not alone. I feel it too. But let's brainstorm how we can get through this together, OK. I want you to know I'm here for you.
What can we do moving forward to cope with the current workload? And I'm happy to do whatever I can to move some things around if I need to, or to jump in there and do some extra stuff myself to help us get through this difficult time. That would be an example, folks, of staying calm, and trying to hang in there with people, and being positive, but at the same time, being real.
Showing empathy. Showing that, hey, this is bothering me, too. And addressing the elephant in the room and say, I know it's hard right now, and it's hard for me, too. And how can we handle this together? What can I do to help us get through this?
And so I think that's an important message. We don't want the message to get out of balance. We want to stay calm and positive, OK, but also realistic and encouraging, and committing your support. That shows that caring and empathy.
But we don't want to get too far on either side. We don't want to be so pie in the sky that we act like nothing's wrong, and the team doesn't feel like you're hearing them, or that you're not supporting them, or get so caught up in what's not working that all your meetings turn into griping sessions. We don't want to do that. So you've got to try to find that balance between setting that positive tone and showing that empathetic support.
Thank you, folks. I know we have talked about a lot today in a very short period of time. I want to thank you all for being part of the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate series. Remember, again, we got two more sessions this year.
Coming up in August is "How to Give Difficult Feedback to Your Employees." Coming up in November is "Managing the Stress of Time and Competing Priorities." Remember, folks, all you have to do if you need the registration links for those last two sessions this year is to send-- hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation today and request the links, we'd be happy to send them to you, folks.
Thank you for being with us today. Remember by the end of this year if you've either attended live or viewed the recordings of the four quarterly sessions, you will receive the 2023 Deer Oaks Leadership Certificate at year end.
Thank you for being with us, folks. I hope everybody enjoys the nice weather that we're getting around the country right now, and I'm looking forward to seeing you again during our next session coming up in August. Thank you, folks. Take care, everyone. Talk to you soon. Bye.