Several months ago, Matt McWilliams encouraged his readers to establish and maintain weekly one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. At the time, I was contemplating what I could do to connect with my team on a deeper level.
As an operations manager in the construction industry, I’m challenged to balance my time as I’m responsible to make sure my group is operating as planned. I meet with my team members monthly on an individual basis to review their projects to review their projects from a financial, resource, risk, and customer perspective. These monthly meetings, which typically last about an hour, provide a pretty good snapshot of things from a business perspective, but they don’t provide a lot of time for diving deeper personally.
I’m also responsible for participating in other department and company meetings. Again, these meetings are important for certain aspects of our business success, but they typically don’t provide opportunity for connecting on a more personal level.
I’ve heard it said that “It’s business, it’s NOT personal.” Well, I disagree. As a Christian leader in the workforce, I have a responsibility (and privilege) to represent Christ well. For me, this means our relationships in the business world are meant to be personal.
This is the question that rolled around in my head as I read Matt’s post. I have so many things on my plate already. One-on-one meetings just don’t fit into my already busy schedule.
But Matt challenged me with this question:
And so…I took Matt’s challenge and encouragement to heart. I’ll confess, I haven’t followed Matt’s recipe exactly. Instead of weekly one-on-one
We talk about business and the challenges that they are facing on a project or assignment. And we also talk about life outside of work. I’ve learned about their interests, their passions, and their families.meetings, I started with monthly one-on-one meetings. For the most part, these meetings have been 30-40 minutes each. I use a one-page outline to guide our discussion and to take notes which helps me capture details of our discussion. With 12 direct reports, these notes have been essential to helping me remember our conversations. And it helps with my follow through on any action items that I have taken from our meeting. (NOTE: You can download Matt’s one-on-one meeting template here.)
It makes all the difference in the world.
The average working person spends 9-10 hours of their days at work – every day. (That’s two-thirds or more of their waking hours). Most people work over 2100 hours every year. If my math is correct, most people work about 80,000 hours in their life time. However you do the math, we spend a lot of time at work.
We are relational beings. We are made to connect with others and to be in community with others.
We are missing a huge opportunity to connect with others if we go to work, come home, get our paycheck, but fail to connect with our co-workers.
My one-on-one meetings have helped me be intentional in connecting with my team. It’s helped my team to feel more connected to me. And it’s also helped my team succeed from a business perspective.
I’m so thankful I listened to Matt and started having one-on-one meetings with my team.
Rewarding employees appropriately is a key aspect of improving employee performance. It’s essential that employees are recognized for a job well done. Sometimes this recognition is tied to a monetary reward, and sometimes it’s necessary to find non-monetary methods for rewarding your team.
Inappropriate rewards could easily work against the overall performance of the business and it’s employees. Rewarding employees who don’t deserve could be argued as grace, but this kind of “reward” sends the wrong message to employees, and it sets teams up for mediocrity.
Appropriate rewards push individual performance to new levels, and they raise the bar on overall company performance. Here are a few reward types for you to consider as you seek to improve your team and company.
I’m sure there are some other ways to reward employees. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above list and your ideas for rewarding employees. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
For more great articles on this topic:
When my son was a toddler, he struggled when it was time to do something else like go to bed, take a bath, or get in the car. He was busy doing something else, and he didn’t like an abrupt end to what he was doing. After enduring several tantrums, my wife came up with a plan. She suggested we give Isaac a ten minute warning before it was time to do the next thing. This gave him the chance to finish up what he was doing, and it gave him a heads up that something else was coming. This strategy worked wonders in how Isaac handled transitions.
I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking with fellow youth leaders at our church. We were talking about being ready to interact with students at least ten minutes before our meeting starts. This requires me to put aside my thoughts from my previous appointments.
Too often, I abruptly move from one appointment on my schedule to the next without the opportunity to shift my mindset. If I’m going to practice the discipline of being present, I must learn to first practice the discipline of transitioning well. A solid plan for transition will help me make the most of my experiences before and after my schedule shifts from one thing to another.
Here are four tips for being intentional about your times of transition from one activity to the next:
As I head into a busy day at the office, these are tips I need to remember TODAY.
I spend my “free time” in the car or on the treadmill listening to podcasts, so I can learn more. On my nightstand, I have a few leadership books. I listen to 150 podcasts every week, and I read through (or skim through) over 330 blogs whenever there is a new post.
I stand by the saying “Leaders are readers.”
But I think I sometimes take it too far.
When I say I want to do the right thing, I mean this:
I don’t want to mess up when it comes to these areas of my life (and other areas). I’m a perfectionist. Unfortunately, I get it wrong if these are my pursuits.
I want to be a great Christ-follower. If I can get this right, the other things should take care of themselves. If I’m serious about this proclamation – if I’m serious about wanting to be a great Christ-follower, I should do what God says.
What is the number one way to do what God says?
If you want to do what God says, you have to know what God says.
“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11
If I want to follow Christ, I have to start by digesting God’s Word. Spending time in God’s Word does not happen with a closed, dust-covered Bible on the coffee table. It happens when I open it up, when I study it, and when I take time to chew on it. Only then can I truly do what God says.
If you want to do the right thing, start with God’s Word.
This week, I’m in the middle of the performance management process for my team members. This is an annual opportunity to provide feedback to my team members on their performance over the past year. I could be easy to rush through this process which is required by my company. I could simply write a couple of sentences about each team member and move on to the next year.
Taking this approach doesn’t do my team members any favors, and it doesn’t help my team or the company get better. A well thought out and carefully executed performance review can be the bedrock of success for your team and your company.
In today’s post, I offer ten ways to get the most out of the performance management process. This is written from a managers perspective; however, this is a great reference for those who don’t manage direct reports. After reading today’s post, you may want to suggest that your supervisor start this type of performance management process for you. You may simply want to tweak what is already happening at your job.
Whether you are a manager of direct reports or not, I hope you’ll find this list helpful in understanding ways to get better. Success doesn’t happen by accident. Success happens by being intentional, and this list offers suggestions – no, essentials – for being intentional with the performance management process.
Here’s an interesting article to go along with this post:
After seeing our nutritionist, I changed by morning routine. I used to do cardio and leave a little time for lifting at the end. Now, I lift first before I do the cardio part of my workout. Yesterday morning, I was at the gym when one of the trainers started watching me as I spent time on a few of the strength machines. He interrupted me a few times to give me tips on how to more effectively use the machines. Then he took me over to a few other pieces of apparatus to show me a few other strengthening exercises. Again, I just needed a little expert advice to get me heading in the right direction.
Last night, I contacted a garage door expert to help me with a problem with one of my garage doors. When he came over, he made a few adjustments and recommendations, and my garage door started working properly again. I just needed a little expert advice.
My natural tendency is to do things on my own. I don’t like asking for help, but I don’t have time to figure everything out by myself. Sometimes it pays to call in the experts. I must learn to practice the discipline of getting expert advice. This discipline will save me a lot of time and aggravation when I hit a roadblock.
If you are like me, you probably struggle to practice the discipline of getting expert advice. Here are a few ways expert advice will help you stretch:
Earlier this summer, I was elected to be president of my Toastmasters International club. It was an honor to be selected for this position, but it also comes with a lot of work. I have to kick-off and close our club’s bi-weekly meetings. I have to plan and lead our club’s executive committee meetings. And I have to interface with fellow officers, club members, and guests.
One of my responsibilities as the club president and member of the club executive committee is to create a Club Success Plan. Essentially, this is a document to record the club’s current status, challenges, and goals for the coming term. And the Club Success Plan provides a place to write down a plan for overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals.
This week spent time completing the Club Success Plan, and I’m excited for the results when we look back at the plan throughout the term and at the end of the term in June.
As I was working on the plan, I reflected on the importance of writing a success plan for other areas of our lives.
What do you want to accomplish this year? What goals do you want to achieve?
Do you have a plan to get there?
Typically, we talk about goals at the beginning of the year. Everyone gets hyped up on New Year’s Resolutions. The enthusiasm lasts for a few weeks or even a few months before we settle back into our normal existence trying to survive the pushes and pulls of our busy lives.
By the time we get to this time of year, our resolutions and goals are long forgotten, and we are trying to make it to the next weekend.
As Benjamin Franklin said, many of us fail to achieve our goals because we fail to create a plan for getting where we want to go.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to fail. I like to succeed. I like to achieve. I like to make progress towards my goals.
Writing a personal success plan doesn’t have to take forever. You can write a success plan for yourself using these simple steps:
If you’ve been hanging around for a while, you know I’ve written quite a bit about delegation over the past year. I wish I had found this quote earlier to include with these posts.
When I did come across this quote, I was reminded how we have the opportunity to stretch our team members by delegating. We do ourselves and our team members a disservice when we fail to delegate. Take time today to delegate.
As I mentioned yesterday, my basement flooded.
The first step in dealing with a flooded basement is understanding what caused the water problem. Both of my sump pumps were working, but they obviously couldn’t keep up. Why was water coming into the basement more quickly than it should? The rain earlier in the day had been very heavy, but the pumps should have kept up.
When I walked around the outside of the house, I discovered that one of the downspouts at the back corner of the house was not attached correctly. This was causing a large amount of water to flow straight into the foundation. I fixed the downspout, but the damage was already done.
Had I walked around the house before the rainstorm, I would have noticed the problem, and I would not have been dealing with a wet basement.
As I have been reflecting on this experience, I was reminded of the importance of taking a regular inventory of our lives. Regular self assessment gives us an opportunity to see where we are – to see what things are okay, what things could be better, what things need to change, and what things need to be removed.
By practicing the discipline of self assessment, we minimize the potential for disaster, and we maximize the potential for achieving future success. Here are some areas where you should be conducting a regular self assessment:
Self assessment won’t happen or be effective unless you take it seriously. Create a routine for taking an inventory on these areas of your life. Some things require daily assessment. For other things you might check in weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to prevent a flood in your basement or to prevent another kind of disaster in your life. Decide today to practice the discipline of self assessment.
Do you like getting feedback from others?
What kind of feedback do you like?
What kind of feedback do you really need?
Are you surrounding yourself with people who will tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear?
Stretching can be painful, and getting feedback from others can be a stretching experience. And yet feedback is what we often need in order to grow – in order to recognize our gifts and shortcomings – and in order to live our life to the fullest.
With this in mind, I think it’s time we start practicing the discipline of getting feedback.
Today, I need your feedback, but first I want to give you some advice on practicing the discipline of getting feedback. By using these six steps, you will keep stretching in a worthwhile direction.
Now that I’ve laid out these six steps for getting the feedback you really need, it’s my turn to ask for your feedback.
I’m in the process of evaluating my writing focus and I really need your help. I am going through this exercise to help me stretch and to help others stretch. I started this process by asking myself to write down the names of 20 people who I think could truly, genuinely benefit from what I have to say. I filled a page in my journal with these names. Then I spent time considering the most common questions people ask me. Here are a few of the questions that came to my mind:
To confirm I’m on the right track (or to add to the list), I have been intentionally asking the 20 people on my life (and a few other people) to give me feedback. I’ve been asking them this question: “If you could ask me any question, what would the question be? In what area of my experience do you think I could help you?”
It’s a little scary to ask these questions, but it’s an experience I need to have. I need this feedback to make sure I am on the right track. I need this feedback to help me see what is on the inside of my bottle.
And it’s feedback I need from you as well. I value your feedback as a reader and participant in The Stretched Community. And so, I leave you with this question, and I hope you will take time to leave me a comment. I need you to help read the label on my bottle.
Please take time to leave your response in the comments.