The UK has voted to leave the EU, there’s not much you can do to change that today. Managers are often surprised by the amount of trust and respect that their employees have for them. Many will find themselves being pulled aside by employees over the coming days to be asked what “Brexit” will mean for the organisation, and for them as individuals.
It doesn’t matter how you voted, if you voted, or if you had the right to vote in this election, that’s not what your employee needs to know. Employees want to know if they’ll still have the right to live and work where they are, if their job is safe and whether any major movement of employees is scheduled.
You may have a clear set of guidelines from your organisation, that help you to frame the conversation. As a manager you likely won’t know the answers to all their questions, and that’s OK, it’s even OK to say it, but it’s important to do so in a way that’s reassuring and honest, rather than nervous and filled with speculation. Not knowing the answer isn’t a failure, but not acknowledging the concern will only make it grow.
The most honest answer for most questions for most people today is “we don’t know, and it will take some time for everything to work out, there will be opportunities and threats for our organisation, and we’ll work to ensure the best outcomes. In the meantime, carry on doing a great job.”
Brave conversations are an important part of the manager’s role.
You’ve probably seen a TED talk before. If you have you may have been inspired. This TED style talk may inspire you too, quite what you’ll be inspired to do we don’t know, but all the elements are there to engage and motivate you, all it’s missing is the point.
It is a masterclass in giving a, well, masterclass, in thought leading.
The nice people at Licor Beirao spent good money on an advertising board at Wembley stadium, making the most of their home country Portugal playing England in a warm up for the Euro2016 tournament.
They got rather more exposure than they bargained for when Portugal’s Bruno Alves lost his head, almost taking England striker Harry Kane’s with him.
Their media team came up with this fun response to make the most of their moment in the spotlight …
When you want to review what’s happened – at a meeting, on a project, or in a conflict situation- speedy three step plan helps you to stay objective and focus on improvements. Give it a try.
- Agree FACTS
Standards – What should happen?
Performance – What did happen?
Difference – Any unacceptable gaps?
- Agree CAUSES
Open with open questions
Listen to the answers
Don’t jump to conclusions
- Agree ACTION
Focus on facts – What needs to be done, by whom and by when?
Set progress review date
Take agreed action
If you want to get the best from your applicants, you can help yourself by building up trust and encouraging openness.
- Arrange the room layout
Sit at adjacent sides to a table; avoid direct across-the-desk positions, alternatively dispense with a table altogether.
- Maintain intermittent eye contact
- Look positive and interested
- Show concern, surprise, amusement
reflect emotional responses, facial expression and tone of voice.
- Sit forward at times, work at the desk with the candidate when appropriate
use space and body posture.
- Leave silence
when the candidate needs to reflect over issues.
At a recent HR event we got talking with Sir Cary Cooper about work, about millennials, and about football. He’s a passionate Manchester City fan, and had just seen his team progress in the Champions League, but he was also keen to talk to us about Leicester City’s remarkable season (which has kept on being remarkable).
The comparison in question was between Leicester City’s wunderkind, Riyad Mahrez and Manchester City’s junior superstar Raheem Sterling. Whilst Stirling had reportedly cost Manchester City £49 million, Mahrez had gone to Leicester for a little under half a million. You could buy 120 Riyad Mahrez’s (if such a commodity existed) for the price of one Raheem Sterling, yet at that point in the season, it was Mahrez that was tearing through defences, showing off some silky footwork and delivering as many assists as goals, whilst Sterling didn’t always make it into the Manchester City team and struggled to make an impact when he did.
What was so different, not just in the two players, but in the management styles and team cultures that seemed to stifle Sterling whilst Mahrez thrived?
One clear difference seemed to be expectation.
Both teams had different levels of expectation at the start of the season, Leicester to survive in the Premier League, Manchester to win it, and maybe the Champions League too. Both players featured differently in those expectations, Sterling was seen as key to those wins, Mahrez as a nice to have, who had had a good little run at the end of the previous year.
As one of the most expensive players ever, fans, commentators and owners expected a lot from Sterling, perhaps far too much from someone so young. Liverpool fans had been outraged when Sterling left, and shared that anger with him. When Mahrez left Le Havre in France, fans shrugged. Whilst they’d loved seeing the Algerian’s silky skills, mesmerising stepovers, nutmegs and Rabonas, they had grown frustrated with his showboating, failure to track back and inability to take throw-ins legally.
Raheem Sterling was expected to perform at a super human level, an expectation he could never live up to, whereas the pressure on Mahrez was low.
Mahrez could try things out and make mistakes, the manager ensured other players were deployed to cover the gaps he left. Sterling had the expectation of his signing fee and wages weighing him down.
So what can that tell us about managing young talent? In this example, as with many more mundane workplaces, young talent can transform a team, but only when the weight of expectation isn’t so high. Reduce the pressure and talent can flourish. It’s tempting to offer brilliant young people huge salaries and signing bonuses, but the stress of living up to that can be overwhelming, agreeing a path to success that manages expectations on both sides with a clear route to financial success can be more effective.
Oh, and don’t forget to let your talent have fun and express themselves at work, no matter what age they are.
- Try not to be directive
- Avoid asking, “How do you feel it went?” Instead ask, “What do you feel went well?”
- Use open questions to encourage the individual to think through their actions and draw out their own solutions
- Listen to understand
- Use a mix of questioning techniques e.g. open, closed, probing, hypothetical, clarifying, reflective etc.
- Confront and challenge when appropriate, using specific, recorded examples
- Suspend your judgement and use objection handling skills as appropriate
- Create additional coaching opportunities by demonstrating the skill and giving the individual the opportunity to practice
- Use summaries
- Seek agreement to key development areas
- Elicit/highlight the benefit of change
- Elicit/suggest options to bring about change
- Set agenda for next steps to include follow-up/review