1. Say “Thank you” (and mean it)
As we rush through our lives, we often don’t really notice what people do for us. They may be colleagues, suppliers, or members of our team. But how often do we stop and say a heartfelt, sincere “Thank you” to those people?
Many organizations think that paying people is enough. Or that they get a bonus, so they’ll get their reward later. But think back to the last time someone said a proper “thank you” to you. Felt good, didn’t it? Especially if it was done right after the moment you did something they were pleased about, and they told you why they were pleased.
Saying “thank you” costs you nothing other than a couple of minutes. But the impact goes way beyond the moment. You’ll make them feel good, you’ll feel good, and they will now know that you value what they do. Got to be worth it, hasn’t it?
2. Have a 5-minute chat with someone on the team
If you have a team, chat to one of them about what they do, how they do it, or what motivates them. Ask them if they’d like to ask you anything. Don’t be critical of any reply you get.
This will give you a lot of information about real progress, help you understand the mood of the team, and get to know what really motivates the people in your team. It may not be what you think.
3. Delegate one task
Managers often try to do everything themselves. Your primary role is to guide the members of your team into learning how to do things themselves. If you don’t, that may explain why you always work late and miss deadlines.
Delegation means you have to train, inform, and support your team members — not just dump tasks on them.
4. Go home on time today
If you delegate, you can go home on time. Working late may seem like a way to show that you are committed and busy. But it doesn’t. Working late has been shown to increase your stress, along with making you less efficient and unpopular with your team. Unpopular? Yes, because committed people don’t like to go home before their boss. So, if you stay late, you are committing your team to stress, inefficiency, and resentment.
So, close your laptop, say a cheery “goodnight” to your team, and go home.
5. Reread that important email (before you send it)
It’s too easy to dash off an angry or rushed email, and live to regret it afterwards. So, next time, write it, wait 5 minutes, reread it, correct it, and then send it.
Also, check the replies. Do you really need to reply all? Probably not.
6. Share your goal
A team that has a clear goal works towards achieving that goal. You may have told your team what their goals were at your annual briefing, but it is unlikely they remember it now. If you want your team to focus their efforts towards achieving your goal, they need to be gently reminded of what it is.
You don’t have to make a big deal about it, but ask one person every day how the goal fits with what they’re doing.
7. Say “No” (nicely)
Don’t feel you have to bend over backwards in solving everyone’s problems for them. If you do, you will soon have a desk full of monkeys — problems your team has delegated to you!
If you say no just once a day, your team will learn that they should at least try and identify some possible solutions to the problem first.
8. Be courteous (take a deep breath)
Adopting the above daily habits will make your life easier. But, if you find yourself getting frustrated with someone or something, remember that politeness is way more effective than shouting. I know it, you know it. So, just do it.