With so many intangibles to manage on a daily basis, managers of facility management teams and other “bosses” can overlook one of the most critical factors to an organization’s success; the people. Your team is your support, your ways and means and sometimes your reputation. A good facility management team operates cooperatively, keeps the overarching goals in mind and springs to action, when called upon. Can you say the same about your workforce? Are they engaged? Do they ask questions, follow up on assignments or take initiative to go above and beyond?
If you feel as if these or other positive attributes are rarely present in your workforce, yet you know they are trained, equipped and capable of completing the job, the problem may be less about the team and more about you and your managerial skills. What may have just started as a minor annoyance can soon fester into a complete lack of trust and loyalty, for you and your team alike. So, what are some of the signs that you’re driving away your people and how can you correct it?
Classic Managerial Blunders
Often, the root of the problem lies within the methods in which the people are being managed. Some of the more common pitfalls are…
- Overly demanding/unreasonable schedules
- Quick to blame others
- Reactionary instead of proactive
- Out of touch with the team and their workload
So, how do you recognize the fallout from these and other managerial mistakes? Sometimes, they are subtle, but they tend to have one common theme - you.
1) Responsive, but not motivated
This is often one of the first signs of problems. Work is still being completed, but with less emphasis on deadline, quality or quantity. Overtime isn’t being requested, there is little if any volunteering and the office clears out right at 5.
2) Regular employee turnover
If there seems to be a large number of employees asking for transfers or leaving the company all together, something is more than likely driving them away.
3) Avoid at all cost
Do employees seem vague about their outside life, don’t engage in regular conversations or social situations with you, avoid eye contact or go the other way, when they see you coming? Should you take it personal? An isolated instance might be explained away, but if it’s a regular occurrence or shared amongst multiple employees, something needs to change.
4) Appointments, sick leave and out of office messages
Is a team member always requesting time off? Do sick days happen too frequently or are their doctor’s appointments always calling them away? If you are invested in your employees, you would probably already know if they have medical issues, which would require the time off. But, if someone feels they aren’t that important to the company or won’t really be missed, they are much more likely to find reasons to be elsewhere.
5) The never-ending workload
Are there always jobs left incomplete? Do you find yourself having to follow behind your workers to see if the job was done properly? Consider this further evidence that your team isn’t really a team and you’re not working towards common goals.
Although these scenarios may seem a little drastic, understand that some of these feelings of resentment may reside within the workforce, just to a lesser degree. Signs of detachment are always early warnings and shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Start by getting to know your workforce, first as a group, and then as individuals. And, if you feel someone is unhappy, knowing them more personally affords your the opportunity to approach them individually and discuss the problems with a level of appropriate candor.
Show sincere interest in the advancement of their careers. While you are becoming further acquainted with your team, delve into their aspirations. Find out where they want their careers to lead and what kind of timetables they expect to work with. This equips you with information to assist in making those goals a reality.
“Acknowledge people’s ‘native genius’—not just the things people do exceptionally well but the things they do naturally… take the time to understand the capabilities of each individual so that they can connect employees with the right people and the right opportunities—thereby building a virtuous cycle of attraction, growth, and opportunity.”-Liz Wiseman
- Capitalize on your team members’ natural abilities. If someone is a people person, for instance, put him or her in positions to interact with people. By accessing these innate abilities, you build confidence and create opportunities for leadership to flourish.
- When addressing problems, don’t look for blame. Look at mistakes as an opportunity to mentor your people. Show them what you expect in their work, tips and tricks of the trade that helped you and words of wisdom you want to impart on them. View mistakes and issues as an opportunity to advance as individuals and as a team. In doing so, your workforce will naturally become enthusiastic about putting the puzzle pieces together, rather than intimidated.
- Be more proactive in your planning and decision-making processes. You need to have solid organization for yourself, as a professional, and your team needs guidance beyond today or even this week.
- Give reasonable goals and create a sense of responsibility where the employees want to do their best without feeling constant pressure.
A proactive manager looks to promote all of the good qualities of their team, usually in a lead by example manner. Believe in your people and find opportunities to challenge and reward them. Nurture your team the right way to get the most out of their efforts and avoid becoming public enemy #1.