These numbers are based on a LinkedIn survey conducted recently. I find these numbers telling and expected. Let us spark conversation around the top 3.
Top Skills Managers Are Lacking:
- 28% - Team Building
- 17% - Providing Feedback
- 14% - Time Management
Team Building -
It should not be a surprise that team building is always desired on the menu by employees that can directly, positively impact their engagement and sense of team and corporate culture. Team building is a small investment of time and perhaps resources that have a lasting impact and provide a good ROI. Some strategies I have used for team building include a monthly waffle and ice cream day for the lunch hour. a waffle machine is not expensive and simply uses pancake mix and creates a fun and social activity that everyone can get involved in. You could also do a crepe day, an ice cream Sunday station. Or, leave the office, rent kayaks, and go on a harbour tour, or book your team into an escape room (there are many all over the world). Lots of options to consider, if you are unsure, ask your team what they would enjoy doing, have them provide ideas.
Providing Feedback -
Also not surprised to see "feedback" in the top 3. The word "feedback" still seems to conjure a near or actual physical reaction by people. One of my favourite authors and inspirational leaders is Susan Scott who wrote the book, Fierce Conversations - Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time. Sounds pretty deep right? So why do people resist or consider feedback to be a bad experience? It is likely because what a lot of people "think" feedback "is" was based on previous experiences that were not actual feedback. Likely they were the unfortunate recipients of what I like to call "drive-by feedback", which means that someone appeared, dumped all over them with what they think you are doing wrong and then walked away without allowing any conversation to take place. Feedback done correctly is a two-way street of messages sent and messages received. Susan Scott has a fantastic quote from her book that hits it home for me, "the conversation IS the relationship". This means that what we say, how we say it and our body language or packaging we use to wrap it up, indirectly relates to the quality of the relationships we all have in our personal and professional lives. I could write an entire book about this one topic alone so I will offer that we all need to remember or go back to basics. Feedback is not punishment, and it should not feel like it is. Ask yourself if you as a manager/person have contributed to the issue you are confronting and then own your contribution. Most importantly, just have the conversation! Practice makes permanent so the more you do it the more comfortable you will become as will those around you.
Time Management -
This survey result also did not surprise me. I feel that professionally, a lot of organizations and managers have become complacent about their own accountability to manage time. How many of us feel that our workplaces have too many meetings? or meetings that seem to earn little to no value? finally, how many of your workplace meetings start AND end on time? Have you ever felt frustrated when someone does not follow through on a time commitment with you? This is such an easy thing to not mess up. Being or looking busy does not mean a person is effective. I have three rules I have followed most of my career and they have done well for me.
- Always ensure your team knows when are where you are. I do not mean to constantly tell them. I mean to set an expectation that can be consistent. Post your hours somewhere? I have done this in workplaces where I have direct access to up to 2300 employees.
- Meetings MUST start and end on time, no exceptions, no excuses, ever. Nothing is more frustrating to people, or a team when they do their part to show up on time and prepared and then sit there waiting for the meeting organizer to show up. It ruins most of the goodwill that may have come out of the said meeting before it has even started. If someone receives a meeting request for a 30-minute meeting, do not be surprised how frustrated that people might be when that 30-minute meeting turns into an hour or more... I hold myself to a simple standard and ensure my team holds me and others responsible. If for some reason I am not at the scheduled meeting within 5 minutes of the start time then clearly an emergency has popped up and they are free to go, consider the meeting cancelled/postponed. Same for the end time. My team knows that if any meeting is scheduled for 60 minutes yet seems to be going over then if they have other commitments, they are absolutely free to go to their next commitment to not keep them waiting, no questions asked. When you value other people's time they will value and respect your time.
- Keep commitments. We have all been there. Told we will hear back about _____ by such and such date at such and such time. Then... nothing. It feels like whoever made the commitment to us did not really care about whatever the commitment was and from the beginning had little or no intention of keeping to it. There are so many tools these days to ensure we keep our commitments, use them. Find a system that works for you, whether it is tech or a pencil and dayminder. When you value people's time they will value you.
In conclusion, think about how these top 3 effect you and how you could effect change with them for yourself and others. I am open to your thoughts and feedback so please do share, comment, or message me about it.
If you will excuse me, I have a time commitment to get to.