Part 2: A good manager, better team motivation, better team productivity, better team results

This is the second part of this topic that why I starts from the steps 6 and not from the beginning. If you don’t read yet the first part, read Part 1: A good manager, better team motivation, better team productivity, better team results.


6. Be there

This is the most important characteristic of a good manager, always be there for your team even if you are busy and travelling around the world. It is important and don’t be afraid to tell them that you are here for them and at any time except in some circumstances, they can go to see you and talk to you about everything.

Don’t think that after saying that, every day, someone will come to see you. In the contrary, they will respect you more and they know that you have a lot of things so they will only disturb you only if it is necessary.

If you are busy (for instance, you need to finish an important email), tell the person to wait or tell him/her that you will look for her/him once done and do it. Too much managers said that and they don’t.


7. Team recognition

Very simple thing but most of the time, managers don’t do it. Recognition of the good work. When the team is doing something wrong, I am always the first to blame because results need to be improved but when the team is doing good jobs, most of the time, managers forgot to congratulate.

No matter if it is bad or good, I do 2 things, a speech and an email. The speech is important for the interactivity, to get “hot” feedback and to see their reactions and the email, if it is bad, it makes the team to give a second thought and to think deeper about a solution. If it is good, every one like to read how good they are more than once, it is called “proud”.

You should also consider about an individual recognition, if a member does a good job, let him know personally, both, a speech and an email. Of course, it applies also for a bad job.

Every positive comments should be communicate to the team, even the most insignificant. If you receive a compliment email from a customer, write some words, don’t do a simply forward.

For instance, you receive an email from a customer saying good job, the first time, you will communicate but at the 3rd or 4th time, you may take it as granted. Don’t fall on this trap, if you receive 10 emails about good job, do 10 compliment emails to your team.

The other alternative is a team bonus based on performance and results but I will not recommended it if you have a big team, it is more effective to put a personal goal and change the team bonus by a team activity.


8. Team activity

In a big company, it is easier to get a budget to do a team activity at least once a year. I worked in different big companies and when I got the budget, first, I announce it to the team and asking them what they want to do. Based on the feedback, I will select the 3 most popular activities and I will send a second email to choose 1 of them. When done, I do the rest (looking for transport, reservation, etc.), don’t ask someone of your team to do it. If you have a secretary, you can ask him/her. If I get only a budget for a dinner or lunch, I ask them to choose which food they want and based on that, I do the same process. The activity can be as simple like a bowling so don’t need to be a weekend in Hawaii.

Of course, I also worked in small company and getting the budget is not easy at all. In this case, I will try that my company and the customer share the bill. If I don’t have any, I won’t use my money but it happens that I spend a little money from my pocket. For instance, I go to a bakery and ask to prepare a tray. During the Easter, I bought kinder eggs. The key is to control how much you want to spend.

The other thing also is to take a drink with them, you don’t need to pay the bill every time but sometimes, just say that the bill is for you. The purpose is to share a moment with them after work, after all, it is also a team activity.


9. Personal reward

Not all members performed the same result, some are better than the others. Usually, good people will ask money, in the IT, if you are managing a helpdesk or a 1st level, increasing the salary is not feasible and the only way it is to pass the person to the 2nd level for instance but not always it is possible.

It is a fact that good members will move for a better salary condition if they know that they can win more, this is something that you can’t prevent it, even if you are the best manager of the world but you can try to prevent it.

If it is “emotional” reasons (because they will move to live in another country, because they want to be closer to their home, because they find a more interesting position even if they will win less), nothing can be done so I just wish them good luck.

If it is “financial” reasons, first, I negotiate with HR to increase the salary. If it fails, I negotiate either again with HR or with the director a bonus based on results. It may be not enough but before to start all those efforts, make a balance to see if you can or not because if you know since the beginning that it is not possible, just tell him/her that the best is to go.


10. Goodies

Goodies are a good marketing tool to integrate your team in the culture and philosophy of the company and/or to the customer. Don’t doubt to ask it to your marketing department and to your customer about a mug, a pen, a bag, etc.

Goody is a tool with a double blade, in spite that it is always nice to receive a gift, I heard “what is this gift, a pen, what a shit !!!” but at the end, the team was happy, just disappointed. For the customer, I spot the pride in the eyes and in the voice when they see that the team display it on their table, much more if they see the team wearing their t-shirt for instance.

If you apply all those steps, I will not say that you will be a good manager because after all, we are all differents but you will be able to push the team to a higher motivation and therefore, providing good results and good services. The key is to be “human”, particularly true if you are working in the IT environment. The turnover is high in IT support, especially in helpdesk and 1st level support. In one of my experiences, I worked for a medium national company in which the salary is the lower of the market, a helpdesk guy could win 100 or 200 euros more working for the competitor. I was able to keep most of the good guys:

  • For listening to them and to find a solution to their personal situation without impacting the service (for instance, adapting the time schedule because they have kids, the train schedule, etc.)
  • To be able to get money from the company to do activities even to do a bowling
  • To take time to time a drink after the office, I didn’t need to stay 2 or 3 hours, 30 minutes are OK and sometimes, I paid the bill
  • Sometimes to bring the breakfast but doing a bill of expenses for the company
  • And importantly, to be close to them

Interesting Management