You Get What You Feed !

What you care and believe in most is what people will see in you each day. If your questions are centered around customer service as you walk around, then staff will better understand it should be their concern and focus as well. The same will be prevalent if your discussions surround the weekend social events and then you may wonder why there seems to be much socializing instead of the business-at-hand collaboration you hope stimulates discussion.

Let me put it this way, “you get what you feed”. If the top feeds, but the sup/mgr’s don’t believe or instill into their goals, or if the top does not have or constantly pursue a vision, how can anyone else tap this vision or strategic alignment in their daily work. If we are ALL heading down a path together, the path better be clear, focused, and direction oriented. This is simply the company vision and strategic initiatives.

As sup/mgr’s talk to staff each day, is it clear how they fit into the vision and strategic direction of the company? Making clear inferences on the connection between specific work done and the effect on the whole company or division, links the employee directly and brings importance to their role.

Action: Verbally link in “what you believe in” into your daily/weekly discussions. Try picking one vision point and discussing within communication this week, don’t wait.


Walking and Linking

One of our roles as managers/supervisors is to know who is doing what and linking them to other employees working on new or similar topics, creating new opportunities to collaborate. Bringing ideas together provides the personal and company growth, creating an entrepreneurial atmosphere, found in many start-up companies today. For these reasons, if you actually know what employees are working on and take interest, then are able to see the skill environment around your company or area, and you are more apt to see areas of collaboration. This is part of your job, mentoring often, with direct and specific feedback, then linking minds together.

Everyone brings different backgrounds, influences, skills and knowledge to their position. By bringing staff together to brainstorm and/or discuss their specific attributes to a project or role, the formation of alliances and collaborations take hold and allow new thoughts to stimulate.

Have small groups meet around staff workstations to discuss a project or topic, let creativity and open thinking be the norm for these sessions. Experiment with different staff members with different groups. After a while, small group meetings will become common and ideas hopefully pervasive.

ToDo – Think of staff members who bringing together could be creative by discussing their work/projects together. While you are meeting with someone at their workstation, ask if they ever discussed their current project with ______. Make it a point to bring them together and open the discussion by having them briefly discuss their specific work. This is a great opportunity to praise work in front of others.

Find at least 3 good things in your staff today – and tell them

Encouragement goes along way. We know that but seldom do we make the time to wander around and meet our staff at their workstation, which is the place they perform their good work. They want us to see, hear, and understand exactly what they are doing, and show pride in their achievements. We are all proud of our projects and specific attributes we bring and complete at work each day, and who do we most want to share this with – our supervisor.

Seeing and believing that managers know and care about the work we do makes all of it worthwhile. With acknowledgement, we will work late, skip lunch, and of course take on more and more. As humans, positive reinforcement is known to be an all-powerful encourager. Douglas McGregor in his book, “The Human Side of Enterprise” published in 1960 has examined theories on behavior of individuals at work, and formulated “Staff will contribute more to the organization if they are treated as responsible and valued employees”. What we don’t mean, is walking around and expressing gratitude for one’s overall contribution or commitment to the organization. This is way too easy, and only presents as a topical “good job”, and does not get to the core of an employee’s real contribution. Having said that, it is a good start if you are not used to meeting and talking to staff in their work area.

Action: Start by meeting with at least three staff members at their workstations on Monday, ask them what have they accomplished to-date, then find out what they hope to complete by Friday. Take time on Friday to follow-up again. Find the positive items and compliment them on their achievements or progress forward.


Welcome to the Management Mentor Blog! We aim to replicate some of the benefits of a mentoring relationship through this vehicle. Here’s what to expect:

  • 3 Categories of content: Organization, Team, Self
  • Practical tips for new supervisors and managers
  • Short posts with actionable recommendations
  • Bi-weekly original posts plus additional posts with updates and links to resources
  • 1-year of new content culminating with a comprehensive eBook by Winter 2013

A key element that makes a great manager is the ability to mentor each and every employee. Every employee should not only be appreciated for their efforts, but should be encouraged to grow and develop their career.

Most employees want to grow, but do not know how to broach the subject with leadership. The misnomer here is that the onus should not be on the employee, but on the manager to take a special interest in staff development. The challenge for the experienced one is to realize how this role fits in their daily work life. If managers think policies, procedures, internal processes, financial stability, etc., is why they are here and what they should spend all their time doing, they are very wrong. Building and growing staff is for the betterment of the organization and the future success for the individual. If this practice gets ingrained into your organization’s culture, watch out! Most everything else falls into place and everyone will want to work for you.

While managers have the burden of responsibility when it comes to mentoring, it is in the employee’s best interest to seek out these opportunities. The benefits of mentoring are well documented and researched. However, the inherent upside of a personal relationship with a successful, experienced individual in your field are obvious. In addition to the rich learning you will garner from this individual, mentors are also ideally positioned to open networking doors, assist with growth projects and recommend (or hire!) you for future jobs.

The Management Mentor is a blog for everyone- those who should be mentoring, and those who should be growing. We invite active participation from readers in the form of comments, emails or even phone calls. The feedback we get from all sides will continue to build skills and experiences in us all. Your positive participation will have immediate results for others. It is amazing what bits of feedback can do.

The Management Mentor.

Stay tuned for our first post and practical tip the week of Jan 23, 2012!