About The Author Michael Podolinsky is Asia's Productivity Guru. For 33 years he's studied and taught productivity systems and techniques including Time and Stress Management, Managing Teams Productively, Facilitation Skills to get team members to open up and how to train, coach and mentor people.

People look for miracles. They look for quick fixes. They look for easy answers and ways to change things without work, thought or responsibility. Reality…it will NOT happen.

If you want something to change, someone to change, yourself to change, it requires work. I heard it said years ago, the only place success precedes work, is in the dictionary.

Well, want your team to work harder, smarter and more conscientiously? Here are 8 quick tips to get your team in tip top shape and to make you look fantastic as their leader.

First, give up on telling them what to do. The death of thinking, creativity and innovation is an answer. Stop telling them what to do and opt instead, for them to tell you what they should do.

Instead of telling them to clean up, shape up or sell more, ask them, “If you managed this team and people did not _____, what would you tell them to do?”

Then just ask her or him, if I ask you now the same question, how will you respond? If they say, ‘I’ll gladly do it’, let them go for it. If they are blur, ask them some more questions until they pin down what they should be doing. Don’t be easy on them. Insist they figure it out.

Please remember that management is not a popularity contest nor is it an act of cruelty. It is merely business and for a business to not just survive but thrive, it needs people willing to work hard, take things seriously, get the job done and be able to THINK of what they should be doing next.

Second, stop being invisible. When we visit a great hotel or resort, even before getting a consulting or training contract to work with them and before even meeting their team, I can always spot the GM. He or she is in the lobby, in the gym, in the restaurant, at the front door, coming out of the kitchen, walking into the consierge floor, here, there, everywhere!

Poorly run hotels, I need to ask, ‘Where is the GM?’ I usually get, ‘in his office’ or off site or just shrugs because they don’t have a clue.

Likewise, any good business needs a visible leader. The leader is there to encourage, help out, spot check quality, talk to employees, air and hear grievances, interface with customers and be the ‘face’ of the company.

Third, be a pusher. The worst managers let their people settle for second, third or fourth best. Push them. If they have an excuse for being number 3, make it clear they are number 1. Even if they failed and only made number 2 it’s still better than third place. Next year, DOUBLE your efforts. There is no pride in being less than the best. Why work hard only to settle for 6th place?

Push them beyond their experience, their years of service, their age, their equipment, their IQ, their past performance. When they do BETTER (and they will), then reward them. Money is great. Your praise is critical. Brag about THEM and what THEY did. Show them in private and particularly in public how PROUD you are of them. Next time, they will work even harder.

Fourth, pull the rug out from under their feet. If they have a safety net, they will fall far more often than if they have no net. In teaching karate, my instructor had us spar with and without safety equipment. We quit using safety equipment because people sustained more injuries with the gear than without. If you do not have face masks, you are more careful. If you KNOW you have protection, you will push it to its limits and beyond.

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Likewise, if people have big salaries whether they perform or not, guess what, they won’t perform. If they have social welfare schemes if they get laid off, they will not work so hard to find a new job. It is cruel and inhumane to give people too much safety and support. By doing so, they will get hurt worse in the long run. Instead give them incentives and rewards if they excel, sell more, work harder and be their best self possible.

Fifth, give them an ear… and then an arm and a leg. Listen to them. Not just what you want to hear, what you need to hear. We all do things wrong from time to time. If they are hurting or need help, offer it.

“Doesn’t that go against point number 4?” Not at all!

If you find out someone is working hard and doing everything right but in agony because her child is in the hospital, tell her to take the day off and you fill in for her. It is then, not an ingrown system but a one-off act of kindness that will not be forgotten.

If someone who has been with you for years says he needs to quit to take care of his wife who has cancer, see if he can work flexible hours for the same pay. Offer to get him a caregiver. Maybe have wife go over and spend some time with his wife. Find a way to make it work. It’s called ‘caring.’

Sixth, give up. Give something ‘up’ to your boss if you want to move up the ladder. You will be stuck where you are now forever unless you get your boss promoted. Giving ‘up’ to your boss is a great political move. Make your boss look good so she / he gets promoted and then you have a chance to get promoted too.

Seventh, put your nose in other people’s business. If you have a day or two in the month that are slower, instead of just enjoying the ‘break’, offer to help another department. This gives you friends that may help you when you need it and you learn what is going on in the other departments.

Face it, how can you ever become MD if you do not know the entire operation anyway. Do you think the BOD will just ‘assume’ you can handle it? Get some experience and knowledge through working in every department, studying areas out of your normal expertise and making a conscious effort to learn every department, every function, every job and every client, internal or external.

Eight, jump for joy. No, not that new gal in purchasing named ‘Joy’, jump into every project with excitement. Any task you take on with less than total commitment or enthusiasm will be less than a total success. Anything you tackle with enthusiasm and perseverance is almost certainly going to be a huge success. Make the odds work in your favour. Be excited and even if you don’t love the idea, if the decision has been made, give it your ALL.

These are very basic ideas. If you are using them all, sorry to waste your time. If even ONE of them is not part of your daily game plan, hope you start to use it. I believe you can do well as a manager and leader if you regularly practice all 8 ideas. Do you?

kg_author_6This article is authored by Michael A. Podolinsky CSP – Asia’s Productivity Guru, Developing Productive Leaders and Teams, equipping them with the skills necessary to succeed.
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