Exactly how much can you as a manager achieve in 5 minutes? The truth is that for many managers, 5 minutes is more than enough time to create a management breakthrough – to transform (at least temporarily) the nature of their relationship with the people that they manage.
So here are some ideas:
Find Out What Matters
Spend 5 minutes with each member of your team, and ask them about the things that matter most in their life. When you know what really matters to people and provide management that reflects these priorities the working relationship is transformed.
Try this: “I’d like to know a bit more about you. Can you take a few minutes to tell me about the things that are most important to you at the moment?”
The response might be initially work oriented or not. If it is work oriented try a follow up question such as “And what about outside of work? What things are important to you there?”
A small minority of people will not be happy talking to you about non work related stuff. Most will be thrilled that you want to spend a bit of time finding out about them as people rather than employees. If you are using weekly 121s this is a great theme to explore on a regular basis.
Recognise the Good Stuff
The vast majority of things that happen in the vast majority of organisations are overwhelmingly good. However as managers we learn to focus on what is not good, what is not expected, what is not under control. This can make us seem hyper-critical. Take a minute to think about all the GREAT things that your team has done this week. Take opportunities to focus on the good stuff, acknowledge it and thank people for their contributions to it. But mainly just be aware of it. As you build your awareness of the achievements of your team you will build a more constructive relationship with team members.
Move Into Service Mode
Take 5 minutes to fill up everyone on your team’s coffee (or water) cup. Buy them an ice cream on a hot day. Serving is a great way to show your team that you care. Especially if you know who drinks coffee and who drinks water before you get started.
Serving people is a great way to strengthen the relationship.
Write as many thank you notes as you can to your team in 5 minutes. Be specific, and let them know just how much you appreciate them and their work. You can send choose to send a quick e-mail, but a hand written Thank You note works much better.
Most of these things work well if you do them just once. Most work far better when they are repeated – perhaps daily, weekly or monthly. We are great at spotting patterns and making meaning.
Set up patterns that show that you care.
Then people will begin to believe that they really are your ‘greatest asset’.