bobbie smith

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published author, writer, editor, communications expert

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What did I say yesterday?

Look at what messages have gone out before communicating new ones.

A huge mistake managers often make is to communicate new messages without reviewing what they've already said on the subject in the past, hoping no one will notice. Imagine how far a politician would get using that approach. Unfortunately, we can imagine it all too well.

The mistake is not in forgetting what you've said before; with all the messages coming from the CEO, the website, from various marketing and customer service campaigns, it's no wonder we cannot remember what we said yesterday. However, it is our job to either know or find out exactly how we characterize our messages and what we share, even long after we've shared it.

For example, if you tell your team to focus on continuous improvement and then a week later, in a weak moment, yell at someone for taking too much time to reevaluate a process, you'll lose trust and credibility--probably two of the most important badges of honour you could wear, as a manager.

Francis Norman (@FrancisNorman) echoes some of my thoughts in his August 2010 article: Consistency of message in communicating to your team. He, too, notes the example of politicians needing to stay on message and how disasterous it is when they ignore what they've already said. Norman also points out that in the context of projects, while the results may be less 'public', it is just as important to stay focused on message and goals. And that means, reviewing anything you've said in the recent past on the subject first, and communicating second.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Be interested in your employees.

Walk around the office and chat one-on-one with people, asking them about themselves, their day-to-day work, their kids, how their weekend was.

If you make time to also walk around your corporate office and talk to people individually, they remember that and will cut you a little slack when you’ve got to rush out the door the next time. It also allows you to get to know your people well, what makes them tick and what makes them successful or what makes them do their best.

Knowing your people and having a relationship or personal connection with them, however small, allows your organization to want to perform better. Those employees become a lot more willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for you.

Just make sure you are consistent. You don't want to be that manager who tries something once or twice and then gets too busy to keep it up.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Say hi, no matter how busy you are.

Blowing by other business units in a hurry in your suit and tie with your Blackberry buzzing, but not talking to employees on the way, sends the message that your current business is much more important than they are and that they do not matter. 

People understand when leaders and managers are busy; when this happens all the time and you never stop, they start to think you don’t care.

When you visit other business units and especially units in the field, try to avoid being too important to talk to them, or only talking to the other managers because you don’t have time.

Stopping for a few minutes from time to time, or regularly would be even better, to say hello, shake someone’s hand, or thank them for doing a great job can: 
  • boost an employee’s morale
  • increase engagement and 
  • send a powerful and positive message from you to employees that they matter.