At last year’s ConnectWise conference, keynote speaker Marcus Lemonis (CEO of Camping World) asked the crowd to raise our hands if we ever had to fire a “bad employee.” Hands went up by the hundreds. He asked who felt relieved after firing this person, and again, the hands flew up. Then, he made a pointed statement that the success – or rather failure – of this “bad employee” was on us as the individual’s leader and mentor. Ultimately, he was leaning on us as managers to recognize our power to encourage others to succeed.
That speech heavily impacted how I approach managing the service department at MyITpros. I believe that the five things discussed in this article are the most effective actions we can take as managers to help our employees flourish.
Build real relationships
I’ve had trouble bridging the gap between manager/employee relationships and work friendships. For example, when interacting with my boss, I cannot completely step away from the idea of him/her being my superior when outside of work or in casual conversation, always thinking “This person holds the keys to my career and financial future, so be careful what you say or do.” As the leader of a team, I have to be the one to bridge the gap between me and my employees because it’s important to know them as people to effectively help them grow. I must create a space for them to be themselves, and I need them to feel safe and willing to speak up on a professional and personal level. In a nutshell, I need to earn their trust, so I listen, I offer to help and I am ultimately more than just their boss.
Key takeaway: Get to know your employees as people. Don’t be afraid to bridge that gap, however uncomfortable or counterintuitive it may seem at first.
Be open to new ideas and admit fault
As managers, we often stand at the crossroads between enforcing company policies and being open to new ideas. It’s important to remember that your team sees things from a different angle to those looking down from the management perch above. With this in mind, I try to validate the ideas proposed by my staff by taking them up the chain of command for greater discussion and bringing back the takeaways from the top.
I’m also confronted with the possibility that I or the company could be wrong about the way we do things. While it’s uncomfortable to admit to mistakes, the process is much easier if you’ve built real relationships with clients, bosses or the people who report to you.
Key takeaway: Your employees see things you can’t. Be willing to listen to and discuss their ideas, and remain open to evolution. Remember, you/the company could be wrong.
Work at inspiring your team and promoting their individual dreams
Let’s face it: As much as we insist we’re not a call center, the bread and butter of what we do happens on the phone. Taking and making calls day after day can wear out any service member, quickly leading to demotivation. My goal is to stave off disengagement by finding what excites and inspires them, then encouraging them to chase that dream both inside and outside of work. Not all of their dreams align with the roadmap of growth at a professional services company, but that’s OK. In fact, I’ll do whatever I can to promote personal growth while also helping employees grow within the company. If your employees feel you truly care about them and their personal goals, this keeps them motivated to provide better service to your customers.
Key takeaway: Help your employees find their muse. Support their dreams, and in turn, they’ll be motivated to provide good service.
Know metrics aren’t everything
Although we use employee evaluation metrics at MyITpros, we know they aren’t everything, as situations are never black and white. For us, metrics are a way to identify strengths and weaknesses, not just measure and reward performance. Rather than taking punitive action when an employee is consistently falling below an assigned metric, we work closely with the individual to find the root cause of the issue and help identify a solution.
Key takeaway: Metrics are numbers. Your people are not.
Remember to have fun
Have fun with your people! Yes, you work in a professional setting, but it’s OK to take a moment here and there to kick back and have a moment of relaxation. Prank them. Let them prank you. Have Nerf wars (a personal MyITpros favorite). Make jokes and laugh.
Key takeaway: Promoting an environment where people can check out of “work mode” and enjoy one another’s company strengthens team relationships and keeps employees from getting burned out.
As leaders, we must attempt to create a dynamic growing space for the people we employ, fostering opportunities for them to achieve greater success. This, in turn, will ensure the company’s success. Ultimately, corporate achievements become a byproduct of a leadership style that focuses on treating employees like the unique people they are.
The purpose of this blog is to answer the questions you ask! We're so lucky to have an amazing manager like Matt in the ranks- visit our team page to learn more about the MyITpros staff! We encourage you to contact us to speak to a qualified IT professional about any technology questions you have for your business!