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Brighton School of Business and Management Student Newsletter December 2010

News Update

Some news which we here at BSBM are pleased about: during the last month the number of countries in which we have working professionals studying with us has risen to 110.

December Theme – Managing People Effectively

Following the focus on Leadership in the last issue, many of our less experienced readers have asked if we can look in more detail at the basics of how to manage people effectively. This issue is a response to that.

Understanding team dynamics and what motivates teams and individuals is an essential area of knowledge for team leaders, supervisors, managers, and professional specialists, at all levels, in all types of organisations. Even in the most highly technology-driven organisations, the individual and collective performance of its people is critical to its success.

There are many thousands of articles on managing people – here are a few that our Management tutor team felt would be of interest

Personal & Career Development – Tip of the Month

If you have never been very interested in your colleagues, or your team, or the managers above you, but have focused exclusively on your own performance, your own targets, your own development, then a change is necessary.

Despite meeting personal targets, performing well as an individual, and making good progress in your career until now, you will, for certain, come up against a barrier to further progress – unless you can also demonstrate that you care about others – their contributions, their support, their own development.

In today’s competitive and resource constrained business climate it is not enough to be personally effective. Organisations of all types and all sizes will be seeking individuals, at all levels, to have the ability to meet their own targets and also to motivate, encourage, reward, and develop others, and to acknowledge the contribution of other people to their own success.

Learning more about this aspect of personal performance is already an essential strand of personal and professional development, and will be increasingly more important for the foreseeable future.

What is a Team?

Almost all managers will have a group of people to manage and coach and there will be many occasions where the manager will have the opportunity to “team coach”.

This is an area of coaching skill, and in many cases, it is a far more difficult skill to grasp than just coaching an individual. I have seen many managers who have grasped the skill of one to one coaching fail in team situations and in many cases return to their old “dictatorial” ways simply because they did not know how to coach effectively in a team situation.

So where do you begin? There are numerous things about teams.

What specifically is a team? What makes a good team? What about team roles and mix of personalities? Team dynamics? Team Development? Problem Solving? Facilitation of the team?

In this chapter we will start with the basics and look at the few first steps the coaching manager can take in order to start to lead and coach their team.

It is important to firstly understand specifically what a team is. I have been amazed by the number of people I have encountered over the years that claim they know what a team is and when challenged to come up with a definition, struggle to do this. Many people think that just by working with a group of people that they are a team but if that group does not have a collective goal or objective then they are not a team, they are a work group. A team is a collection of people who are working towards a common goal or objective. There are two aspects to teams – the task or objective and the process or the way the individuals are going to work together to achieve the team’s goals or objectives.

If the team is a new team, or if the manager is new to the team, then it is important that before any further discussions take place, a contract is drawn up between not only the team and the manager but also between the team members. You will remember the importance of contracting in coaching. It is as important in teams!

How are you all going to work together? What are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours? How is the manager going to work with the team? Expectations? The coaching manager will not only contract with each individual they will also contract with the team.

Some teams actually draw up a formal written contract outlining what they are going to achieve, how they are going to achieve it, and what behaviours are needed to be observed by the team members if they are going to be successful.

The first task of any coaching manager is to ensure the team know why they are a team! Each individual must know what the overall team goal is and also what specific part they will play in the quest of that goal. A coaching manager can lead a team session and outline the goals and the respective roles to the group “en masse” but they should also check on a one to one basis both in the meeting and then again with each individual outside the meeting. The second meeting is essential in order to fully check that the individual fully understands the goals and their part in the process towards hitting that goal. You would be amazed by the number of people who confirm that they fully understand what has been agreed and discussed in the meeting when actually the reality is that they don’t! They are not prepared to own up in the meeting that they don’t know what is happening because they do not “want to make a fool” of themselves. A good coaching manager will check understanding in the meeting and then again with individual after the meeting.

Only when all the individuals in a team know the team goal and their part in supporting the team to achieve the goal will the team move forward.

So, in summary:

• When first working with a team – contract with them. How are you all going to work together?

• Identify the goal or objectives of the team.

• Work out how you are going to work together to achieve the objectives. Does the   contract that you discussed still fit, or does it need adapting in order to achieve the   objectives?

• Check the team’s understanding of what the objectives are and then check again on an individual basis ensuring that everyone is 100% clear about what is needed to be   achieved and about how it is going to be achieved. Check individual motivations as   well.

These may seem simple steps but you would be amazed how many managers rush into dictating what has to be achieved without first drawing up a working contract and ensuring everyone fully understands the objectives and their part in the team achieving these objectives.

* from an article by Allan Mackintosh

Talking With Your Team

If you want to improve individual and team performance, think about your daily conversations with the individuals and the teams that you manage. No better opportunity exists to reinforce and help refine excellent employee performance. You discuss new projects, talk about overdue assignments, give updates about completed tasks, and more. Use these conversations to reinforce the importance of doing a great job. How? Link the employee performance to a workplace result.

Examples of Linking Employee Performance to Results Requested

“When you submit your reports on time (improvement you want employee to make), we are able to meet our deadlines for submitting the monthly reports to the field office (result of improvement).”

“Entering clients’ medical records into the database by 5:00 PM every day (improvement you want employee to make) helps us achieve our strategic goal of quickly responding to health issues (result of improvement).”

“When you order the engineering supplies on time, (improvement you want employee to make) that allows the production teams to do their job in a timely manner (result of improvement).”

If you attend the monthly meetings (action you want employee to take), you will have an opportunity to interact with all of the senior managers in the company (result of action).”

“By participating in this project (action you want employee to take), you will have an opportunity to learn more about the organization’s strategic plan (result of action).”

Why Does This Results Approach to Improving Employee Performance Work

The main reason this results-based approach works is because you are able to explain the value of positive performance from different perspectives. You can talk about results that are important to employees and results that are important to the organization.

You are also able to use multiple reasons to explain why something is important or why something is not important. So if employees react negatively to one result (i.e. impact another employee), you can use a different result (i.e. impact customer service) to illustrate your performance conversation. That means you don’t have to say, “Do it because it’s your job.”

What Type Of Results Can You Link To Employee Performance?

At the individual level, you can link employee performance to desirable outcomes such as greater autonomy, less stress, reduced workloads, or increased visibility. These results emphasize personal and professional interests.

On a broader level, employee performance can be linked to organization mission, office goals, customer service, or team performance. These require employees to look at the larger impact of their performance results. Just make sure you include results that reflect personal interests of your employees as well as results that are important to your organization.

Examples of Linking Employee Performance to Results

Link Performance To Job Enrichment: Employees want to feel that what they do is important. Doing more challenging work or working with different employees are just two examples. Investigate things employees like about where they work. Determine what makes them excited. Use this information to explain how effective employee performance can lead to greater job enrichment.

Link Employee Performance To Learning And Development: Consider your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Would new knowledge, skills, or abilities be helpful? Or, maybe the employees can obtain certification in a job-related area. Use this information to show how positive employee ]performance can result in enhanced capabilities.

Link Employee Performance To Career Advancement: Think about how certain actions give employees greater opportunities for advancement on the job. Perhaps you can consider possibilities for a job rotation or a high-profile assignment. Use this information to connect employee interests to performance, highlighting the impact on upward mobility or desired lateral moves.

Link Employee Performance To Money And Rewards: Identify the monetary perks that exist for employees. Go beyond the regular pay check. Include anything from cash payments to tickets to the theatre. Use this information to link employee performance to financial rewards or other types of benefits.

Link Employee Performance To Other Employees’ Performance: Identify who employee performance impacts? Consider managerial staff, technical staff, support staff, and others. Use this information to emphasize how one employee’s performance can positively or negatively impact another employee’s performance and results.

Link Employee Performance To Office Achievements and Results: Look at an organizational chart of your company, agency, or association. Examine workflow processes and the products or services you provide to other offices or departments. Do they depend on materials or information from your employees? If so, consider what happens when they get what they need or when they don’t get what they need. Use this information to explain why effective performance is important.

Link Employee Performance To Organization Success and Results Measures: Think about how your organization measures success. Some organizations use sales quotas as a guide. Others track the acquisition of new customers. Look at strategic plans and operational goals for direct or indirect links. Use this information to explain the broad-level impact of doing or not doing certain activities.

Link Employee Performance To Guiding Principles: Look at your organization’s vision, mission, and values statements. This information tells you the kind of fundamental practices that are important. Examine instructions on “how” employees should do things as well as “what” they should do. Also consider rules, regulations, and policies. Use this information to support the importance of certain types of employee performance.

Make Your Conversations Matter

Talking about employee performance and performance results is something you do every day. Make the most of these discussions. Give employees a reason in your conversations for doing a great job and they will produce results for you.

Conclusion

Focus on your people, talk with them on a regular basis, work hard for them, work hard with them, and you will manage them effectively and help them to develop and be more successful in the future.

* summarised from a  www.about.com  human resources advice article

Creating Positive Team Dynamics

Do the people at work frustrate you repeatedly? Do they disappoint you by not following through on commitments or upset you with insensitive comments? If so, you’re not alone. Creating positive team dynamics within a group of diverse people poses a significant challenge in today’s workplace.

Professionals today must work closely with more people than ever before. On the job, teams are more common these days, and getting results is a challenge, especially when the team is diverse. As a team member, you’re often charged with satisfying your customers, ensuring that the deadlines are met, and that the results meet certain standards.

In this session, I’ll explain how you can help others develop commitment and motivation, create positive team dynamics by using team norms and values, and discuss the six components that you use to build successful teams.

Developing Commitment and Motivation

We all know that people don’t always act the way we think they should. When our different expectations are not met, we become confused, frustrated, or even angry—and sometimes that results in conflict.

One powerful way to avoid confusion, frustration, and conflict when working with others is to agree on what is mutually important to you and how you want to work together. Discussing motives, why people do what they do, and what each member expects of the others helps create positive relationships. Team members can then focus their attention on optimal performance: getting work done faster, with better quality and less cost.

To get commitment to the project, first you must understand what people want to get out of their work and their association with you. So, let’s talk about the Expectancy Theory. Victor Vroom developed this theory long ago, and it is still very effective because it is mainstream psychology, it is simple and practical, and it works! The Expectancy Theory is the universal key to what motivates people to be productive on the job. It explains that people, given choices, choose the option that promises to give them the greatest reward.

So, to find people to do a particular job, all we have to do is find out what motivates them best. Sounds easy, but sometimes it is hard to do. More than anything else, it’s a matter of getting to know your people and what they find rewarding!

This is a prescription for greater motivation based on the Expectancy Theory.

Tell people what you expect them to do on a regular basis. Be as specific as possible, share your goals, and explain the standards of performance you expect.

Make the work valuable. When possible, assign work that they like to do. Give them work they can do well—work that helps them achieve their goals.

Make the work doable! This helps increase employees’ confidence that they can do what you expect. Give them training, coaching, and really listen to what they say when they tell you what they need. You must also provide the resources they need to do the work.

Give them feedback. Remember to let them know how they are doing. Positive feedback means they should continue what they are doing. Negative feedback, of course, means they should correct mistakes. You may have to help them discover their mistakes before they can fix them.

Reward successful performance. Remember that rewards can be different for each person because after all we are all unique individuals. Rewards can be money, recognition, a heartfelt thank you, more responsibility, or even some kind of award or certificate.

You may have heard it said that you can’t motivate anyone else, that motivation comes from within. I agree with that, but I also firmly believe you can inspire someone to do better. Being enthusiastic is important too. When people know what is expected of them, the benefits to be received if they complete the work, and if they receive encouragement from others it helps as well.

Team Dynamics

We are all unique individuals, so our values may be quite different from those held by other people on the team. I think everyone recognizes that people are different, and this is why we have to work harder to create positive team dynamics in a diverse group. Although we agree that people are different, only recently has identifying and valuing those differences become relevant. We know now that each individual usually has something unique that they can contribute to the team environment, and that we must value those individual differences.

Team values are the beliefs that are important to all members. Values are rules that can dictate the behavior of individuals. Ask your teammates what is important to them; then write down their responses. Once you have a list of individual values, you can work on the team values. A list of team members’ values can be very long. However, a list of team values should be concise. The list is short because it is important that each member believes strongly in them and is willing to live by the team values.

To build positive relationships, there are four types of differences to consider. The challenge for your team is to find the unique combination of values that the team supports and that meet individual needs, so each member follows them for the benefits of the entire team.

Interpersonal styles—whether a person talks fast, uses hand gestures, or withdraws quietly.

Personal work styles—how a person is organized or not organized, and how they set priorities. We all like to do certain tasks and not others, but we may not appreciate how our actions affect the people around us.

Experience and background—New people may come in and want to change everything; veterans can be unwilling to consider new ideas.

Communication styles—how people get information to others. As you are asked to participate more frequently on teams, your success will be increasingly dependent on your ability to work well with people who are different than you. Working effectively with people who are different is essential! Some examples of good individual values are:

Honesty—being truthful with others

Quality—striving to achieve the best results

Friendliness—building positive relationships

Thoroughness—completing whole jobs or projects in a thorough manner

Once your individual values are defined, you can start to define those of the team. Identifying team values involves looking at the lists from team members, listing those that everyone agrees are important, and determining company values that might pertain to the team. With your team values fresh in your mind, focus your attention on developing a list of team norms. There should be a lot of discussion about this. Team members must come to a consensus on the ways the team will operate.

Here’s how to identify your team norms. Have team members brainstorm a list of how they want the team to operate. Thoroughly discuss each norm, and talk about the effects of each on the team’s work. Mark those norms that everyone agrees will help the team and for that reason should be kept. These are things like beginning or ending on time, confidentiality, and respect for others. Identify other norms, such as how team decisions will be made and how disagreements will be handled.

The next hurdle to overcome is gaining commitment from members. Ask each team member individually to answer the question, “On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how committed are you personally to these team norms?” Asking them individually allows you to get commitment from everyone. Team members must publicly acknowledge their buy-in and commitment. Discuss any low level—don’t just overrule it. If a person has a low commitment (below an 8), the reason should be discussed, because the norm may need to be tweaked a little.

Winning teams have buy-in and the commitment of all the members when it comes to norms! Norms become an important tool for self-management. Team values and norms provide a stable foundation for building positive relationships on teams. Values define what is important to you and what rules you expect team members to follow at work. Norms go one step further, describing specific guidelines each person is expected to follow when working with other team members. Winning teams identify and embrace values and norms that recognize individual preferences, but define how the team needs to work together to be successful.

Systematic view

As teams become more predominant in the workplace, expectations of what teams can achieve grow. But the dilemma for many teams is that they are failing to achieve their expected results. Often breakdowns in communication create frustration and loss of productivity. In fact, poorly organized teams are actually slowing down progress—the exact opposite of the desired outcome of quicker, better quality and lower-cost expectations!

Task behaviors help a team accomplish its objectives or achieve desired goals. These are actions that are done, such as assigning work, presenting information, and making decisions.

Relationship behaviors are actions taken to build interpersonal dynamics, such as learning what skills and abilities your teammates possess or providing feedback.

By using the correct mix of task and relationship behaviors at the appropriate times, your team can progress to its peak level of performance more quickly and with less difficulty. Actually, the task and relationship behaviors should stay pretty well balanced on the team for the best results.

Teams are frequently just thrown together and assigned a task. When they get off to a rough start like that, they have the odds stacked against them for achieving successful results. If you adopt a systematic view of teams, you can use these guidelines to help your team become the most productive.

Developing successful teams

There are six components in the development of a successful team.

Establish Mission – What are the team’s mutual goals and how committed are the team members to those goals? Having a common team mission and purpose is a key to achieving successful results. The mission must be established early in the formation of the team and then translated into achievable goals that all team members clearly understand.

Team design and leadership – How is the team structured? These are the individuals who make up the team.  Effective teams are not simply groups of individuals thrown together; they are individuals who each play a critical role in the team’s success.

Team rules and guidelines – the values and norms you agree to for the team. One of the most important team building blocks is to immediately establish the rules and guidelines that will guide behavior and interpersonal dynamics. By focusing on team values and norms, you set the standards for the life of the team. It is critical that team members participate in establishing the values and norms, so they are committed to them. The values and norms must be consistent with those of the company.

Team dynamics – This is the team maturity. In this component, the team identifies the team life cycle or stages of maturity. Life cycle stages: Infant, Adolescent, Young Adult, Established Performer—as the team members gain confidence and maturity, the team moves from the Infant stage along to the Established Performer stage.

Team controls – If members are clear about their roles and how they contribute to the overall success of the team, an empowering climate is created. Much of the success of the team depends on how much responsibility can be delegated to team members. Individuals begin to take initiative to solve problems and complete tasks without being asked.

Evaluation – The measure of success depends upon whether the team achieves the desired results. An evaluation of the team’s output is conducted by an assessment of both its customers and management sponsors.

As we consider how all of this information applies to us today, the stage is set for teams to fill the gap left by change, including restructuring and downsizing. Teams have more responsibility than ever before to contribute to the success of the organization. Much of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the individual team members who must work together.

As a team member, you are responsible for ensuring that you clearly understand the goals of the team, as well as your own role and standard of performance.

You must also make an effort to build relationships that support positive team dynamics.

Conclusion

In the organizations of the future, there will be less bureaucracy and less dependence on higher-level managers. You should consider yourself one of the critical success factors in building winning teams in this environment!

* from an article by Suzanna Laurent – http://pages.prodigy.net/slaurent/

Featured BSBM Courses

If you about to move into, or are relatively new to, managing or leading people, we have a range of qualifications that may be of interest to you.

These are the:

Level 2 Award in Team Leading – for those leading or supervising for the first time

Level 3 Award in Management– for those approaching or new to junior management

Level 5 Award in Leadership – an introduction to leadership

All are accredited by the Edexcel BTEC Foundation – which is the UK’s largest Accreditation Body, whose qualifications are recognised internationally.

For details of these, please visit:www.brightonsbm.com/professional-management-courses-short/professional-management-courses-short-index.htm

Study Resources of the Month

Books

Purcell, Kinnie, Swart – People Management and Performance (Routledge, 2008) ISBN: 0415427800

Marchington, Wilkinson – Human Resource Management at Work: People Management and Development  (CIPD, 2008) ISBN: 1843982005

Ashman C, Green S – Managing People and Teams – the Early Years (David Fulton, 2004) ISBN: 1843121980

Hall A – Leading and Inspiring Teams (Care Management) (Heinemann, 2003) ISBN: 0435456733

Riley M – Managing People: A Guide for Managers in the Hotels and Catering Industry (Butterworth 2000) ISBN: 0750645369

Websites

Please see the links, above in the left hand column, for websites that contain valuable information, articles, reports, case studies, and reflections on managing people.

Student Recommended Resources

“…. www.learnerstv.com  …. lots of downloadable videos on business and management topics..”  – our thanks to Richard

 “…… www.leadershipnow.com  … excellent articles on most leadership subjects ….”   – our thanks to Sergey

Quotes from the Gurus

“People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” –
Mary Kay Ash

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Larry Bossidy

“Successful people management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” – Paul Hawken

“I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.” – Thomas J. Watson

“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.” – Agha Hasan Abedi

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” – Mary Kay Ash

Useful Study Links

Each of the websites listed here have a range of articles, reports, case studies, discussions, best practice checklists, and links to other sites

www.about.com

has numerous articles on all aspects of managing, developing, and leading individuals and teams

www.leadersdirect.com

some useful articles on developing people

www.businessballs.com

many articles on developing teams and individuals

www.managementhelp.com

huge range of articles on developing individuals and teams, and managing them

www.the-happy-manager.com

articles on all aspects of managing

www.leadingteams.net.au

consultancy site but has useful information and case studies 

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