6 Tips That Help Improve Managers’ Listening Skills

July 8th, 2019   •   Leadership   •   Comments Off on 6 Tips That Help Improve Managers’ Listening Skills   

Helping to improve managers’ listening skills will better engage a work team.  Managing subordinates is a difficult task. It requires discipline, patience, and hard work. The key to being a good manager is great communication skills. Listening is half of communication, and here is a list of six tips that will help to improve managers’ listening skills.    

Active managers' listening skills

Look at the subordinate

Making eye contact is one of the important practices to take on when supervisors communicate with subordinates. It is not surprising, since humans are the only primates who have white on their eyeballs. The other primates’ entire eyes are black.  Humans have a big contrast between their eyes and the pupil. It makes us capable of noticing what the other humans are focusing on. Thus, looking at the speaker is an indication, that the manager is focused on what a worker is saying. If managers avoid eye contact, it is a clear giveaway to the subordinate that the manager is not listening.   

Don’t interrupt

Interrupting an employee is not only rude, but it also makes it obvious that the boss who interrupted is not really listening to what the worker has to say. Besides, interrupting others gives an impression that what you have to say is more important, than what they have to say. As a manager, it is very important to show that everyone is equal and employees’ words have value. Even if supervisors want to make a quick point in the middle of an employee’s discussion, it’s important not to interrupt. Wait until after they are finished and then come back to the remark you wanted to make.   

Give subordinates time to express themselves

It should be obvious, that some problems require more time to explain than others. Also, some people need more time to say what they think. A good listener-manager will grasp this and will give as much time as needed for a subordinate to fully and comprehensibly express their thoughts. Managers should not hurry things. They need to be sure to sacrifice their time if it is required.  Because this sacrifice will pay off by making it a higher quality conversation.    

Focus on understanding

It can be easy to listen, but it is hard to listen correctly. It is a waste of time for both an employee and a manager if they don’t try to comprehend what the other says. For a manager, it is especially important to focus on understanding what the worker has to say because, without full comprehension, right decisions cannot be made. A manager must try to make an effort while listening to catch every word and phrase, and try to comprehend what points are being made by the employee.    

Suspend your judgement

Judging others is easy. Thinking through and solving problems is difficult. When listening to an employee, try to avoid judgment. Backlashing at an employee will bring no good for the subordinate or the company. At most times it is hard to hold back feelings like anger or disappointment, but showing these emotions to an employee will ensure that in the future, the employee will avoid talking and solving problems with the boss. If an employee knows that the manager is non-judgmental, an employee will trust the manager more, and a strong relationship will be born. Such a relationship will bear fruit for a long time.    

Ask questions for clarity

Even if a manager involves all of these tips into their listening practice, there might be moments where he does not understand some of the speaker’s points. Because of that, the final tip is crucially important. As a manager, if there is something you do not grasp fully, do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength. It also shows that you were actually listening and not daydreaming through the employee’s discussion. An employee will be willing to answer these questions, since it will be obvious that the manager was making an effort and listened carefully.    

Conclusion

If you want more pointers on how to improve managers’ listening skills, contact Flexicrew and listen to some sound advice.

 Listening is difficult, but trying to be a good listener pays off. When listening to the employees remember to stay focused and try to grasp what they were trying to say. Without conscious effort, no value will be gained, and it will be a waste of time for both parties involved.

Ask the Flexpert…What Mistakes do Organizations make when Changing the Workplace?

May 15th, 2019   •   Leadership   •   Comments Off on Ask the Flexpert…What Mistakes do Organizations make when Changing the Workplace?   

How can organizations better manage changing the workplace?

Businesses frequently are changing the workplace to improve performance. Yet, for being so customary in business, it might be surprising that research persistently shows up just how badly changing the workplace is managed within many firms.

Common Mistakes

Ask the Flexpert

Common mistakes when changing the workplace include:

  • No structured methodology to managing change
  • Poor leadership of change processes, resulting in misunderstanding and disorder
  • Failing to handle the human side of changing the workplace – resulting in lack of buy-in by those most impacted by the change.

It is important to distinguish between small and large changes at work. Small changes happen every day, but still they should no be implemented in an ad hoc fashion. That said, not every small change should be ‘over-managed’ to the extent that it appears to be a bigger deal than it really is. When dealing with workplace changes, some effective principles are:

Principles for Effectively Changing the Workplace

  • In general, workers will more easily adapt to changes when they are included in the decision-making process , or at least understand the rationale for change. Therefore communication is at the heart of change.
  • As part of that communication process, even for small changes, people need to know what the change is, why and when it is happening, its impact on them, the benefits expected to result, how the change will be implemented and the support they will receive.
  • Change needs to occur in a structured way even for small changes. Instituting something new should be planned, discussed,
    announced, implemented and reviewed. This approach can be managed for small changes simply in a daily touch-base meeting.
  • It is always important to recognize that even the slightest of changes provides an opportunity for demotivated or toxic employees to spread discontent, so it is important that the manager closest to the change takes charge and is seen to lead it from start to finish.

Need Help Changing the Workplace?

Flexicrew can help provide the clarity and focus required to boost employee productivity and get the most out of your workforce change efforts. Contact us today!

Part 2 – More Manager Behaviors that Illustrate Effective Leadership

March 28th, 2019   •   Leadership   •   Comments Off on Part 2 – More Manager Behaviors that Illustrate Effective Leadership   

In Part 2 of this article we review a second set of 5 manager behaviors to determine if a manager reflects effective technical leadership.

We see that manager behavior includes all the tasks accomplished by a single individual (in smaller firms) or several persons (in larger organizations). The objectives of managing are to plan and control their subordinates activities. That leads to the achievement of objectives not possible if those subordinates acted independently.

Effective Technical Leadership in Manager Behaviors

In general, there are five overall manager behaviors that come into play in managing:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Leading
  • Controlling

So, managers will engage in most or all the above functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling to one extent or another. How much of each element depends on the organization. The specific needs, methods and practices of the organization, and the level at which the manager sits will determine the extent of each. I.e., lower level managers, might not have too much input on staffing, if this is done further up the chain of command. But, a consistent theme through all levels of management is that managers are required to attain results or outcomes through subordinates.

Let’s review managerial behaviors 6 – 10 to see if your team has effective technical leadership:

6. Workers Look to You for Advice  

Are you familiar to your teammates as a subject-matter expert (SME)? Do they frequently chat with you for advice or a solution? If so, you are a strong candidate for leadership. People come to you for your thinking since you give them answers that are well-thought out, timely and honest. This shows that you grasp how your company works and what you need and your team needs to do.  With a sufficient amount of experience and knowledge you become a terrific resource. People often come to you for solutions to the challenges they can’t figure out.   You need to develop a following among your teammates. Since you are a ‘go-to’ person, your willingness to aid co-workers will attract them to you naturally. 

7. Workers Outside Your Team Recognize You as a Good Manager  

Other groups of people – even your customers perceive you as a great manager. You’re knowledgeable and you exhibit a good grasp of the company’s business. You do that not only in your core responsibility but also beyond. This will give you a broad perspective on the way things work. And also a feel for how they should be working.  When you’re in a leadership position, you need to have a close grasp of what is happening in the market and the potential challenges that are going to confront your company. With a good amount of knowledge of on-the-ground realities, you can ride your company through during challenging times to the top. 

8. Newer and Better Ways of Running the Business  

Your recommendations can be successful for the company by devising work flows that lead to improvements in the use of resources and time. Now that is a great quality that gets you a promotion to the ‘leader of the pack.’ New ideas and processes are vital to improved efficiency for the company. People in leadership have responsibility to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of company resources. Making the workforce and processes more productive will reduce the time to produce a given volume of output. It will also reduce the time it takes you to make the jump up the ladder.

9. Concentrates When Listening 

If you attentively listen to your coworkers and teammates and help them resolve roadblocks, it adds to your ‘cred” and to your odds of enter ping manager ranks.   Fellow workers approach you to discuss anything they are dissatisfied with. You don’t feel it boring or ‘none of my business’ while you were listening to them. You know you don’t come across as not having time to speak to your employees or coworkers when they come to you with their problem that needs solving. 

You need to be a good listener to exhibit effective leadership. Being a good listener convinces other managers that you care for your team and that you are empathetic.   Besides, it will keep you engaged.

When your employees understand that you care for them they will be ready to work harder and deliver beyond expectations.   Employees are generally used to returning the favor by a leader who cares for them. In this regard, they consider who the leader is, what they bring, how they are going to benefit from them and how they are going to benefit the company as a whole.   Employees look for leaders who take care of them and who are reliable at both the workplace and outside.  

Empathetic leaders listen with patience. This manager behavior brings them respect. When you listen frequently you tend to become a compassionate leader.   Leaders in an elevated position will be extremely mindful of what is going on around them. How? They listen! They use both verbal and non-verbal cues.   When leaders listen, they are not sensing what is being said, they engage in dialogue to get the real story. 

10. Comfortable When Others Attain the Next Level 

If you see everyone’s potential, you encourage them to take steps to be promoted to the next level.   Significantly, when you are in a leadership position, you need to take care of everyone in the team. It is not just the most talented employee that you need to consider.   Make everyone perform at the highest efficiency level so that it will make each person themselves a better performer and it will also help the company doing the job at a higher efficiency.     

About Flexicrew

Flexicrew , founded in 2008, focusing on fast and flexible staffing solutions. Flexicrew uses technology and industry best-practices to deliver the most talented and qualified workers–skilled and entry level to employers within most major industries. Headquartered in Chattanooga, TN with current plans to continue expanding in the TN, GA, NC, and north AL markets.

Part 1 – Manager Behaviors that illustrate Effective Leadership

March 8th, 2019   •   Leadership   •   Comments Off on Part 1 – Manager Behaviors that illustrate Effective Leadership   

The success of an organization depends on effective leadership to inspire the commitment, energy and engagement of their workforce. A classic example is the United States Navy SEALS. That organization trains the best manager behaviors. It never tries to force engagement. It possesses empowered teams and ecosystems that are well engaged but work in a decentralized environment.

Engaged employees will help reach company’s goals easily.  A report published by Gallup Organization on State of the Global Workplace, reports only 15% of the workforce feel engaged in their current position.

This shows that the members of the workforce overwhelmingly have not invested their time, energy and ingenuity in bringing additional value to their employer. Such workers are not going to attain a leadership position. That is, unless they begin to consistently practice positive values, positive attributes and true manager behaviors. 

Here are 5 ways that workers can practice some manager behaviors that illustrate effective leadership:

1.Effective Leadership Commands Teammates’ Respect

A leader must be respected by teammates. This shows that they are aware that you are responsible, professional and ethical in managing. Occasionally, a person is liked by teams because they tell jokes to lighten the mood or lower tension. However, they are not being a leader.

A reputation for having a great work ethic will help you to command respect as well as help you rise to a leadership position.   When you are in a leadership position you are expected to make real promises and create an impact on the organization.   When you act consistently with a positive ethical approach you become a reliable and trustworthy member of a company and, more importantly, of a work team.   You become others’ role model. Now, you can bring about a impressive impact on the organization as a whole. 

2.  Manager Behaviors that show Interest in the Team and the Big Picture

If you show a keen interest in the organization build- how the organization works how it is staying together and how it makes money and how it can improve its cash flow. Even if your suggestions are only based on a small department or function, Management will notice your attention to the company. This shows that you are trying to work out strategies to solve company problems or achieve strategic company  goals. 

When you engage your time and energy solely for the company, it will demonstrate your readiness to assume responsibility and take care of what matters to the business. The potential impact of a change, for example, in the costs or margins of the company and your concern/viewpoint on the same will reflect how closely you monitor the trend. This comes under the umbrella of effective leadership

3.  Has Gained Deep And Varied Experience

Now you are ready for leadership role thanks to your experience with good managers as well as bad managers each of them have taught you valuable lessons and those lessons you will never go out of your memory. They will help create a good culture at the workplace and will result in effective leadership.  Your personal knowledge and the knowledge gained after having worked with the team will help you to understand the company is better. 

Working with people of different ability helps invent new ways of doing things in a given set of circumstances. Thus, when your manager is difficult one and you’re hard-pressed to work the way he likes, it’s an opportunity to gain new experience. 

4. Attempts to Forge New Relationships and Seeks Challenges

If you are good at meeting new people and new teams and forge a relationship with those teams, you are on the leadership ladder. Being in the leadership position you need to deal with several teams are departments with distant discipline and visit different organizational goals.  

Being an effective leader, you need to forge new relationships with other teams as well as make sure that the relationship across teams is in sync with the goals of the organization.  By being in a leadership position, you can extend a helping hand to support the success of your other team members. This will help you keep a good rapport with engaged employees. 

5. Effective Leadership is Devoted To Learning More about Subordinates and Self

You’re so interested in learning more about the people around and yourself. For, you have a keen sense to learn because as you know assuming leadership is a challenge and it is not easy. To become a leader, you need to be humble and this makes you ready to learn from your employees. This will help you learn new ways of doing things, new behavior and habit easily. 

A leader who feels s/he has all the knowledge and solutions can never command the respect of teammates. And if you don’t command this respect it doesn’t constitute effective leadership.  Your business has top challenges ahead because of competition. And as a leader, you need to be ahead of others on a learning curve. You can learn new skills and new attributes. This will help encounter new challenges that confront your business. Therefore, you need to have a great passion to learn new things and we came to meet new people. 

Do you need more help finding top performers for your team?

Call Flexicrew. As one of  the Southeast’s top staffing agencies, we have years of experience serving employers – and helping them find truly exceptional people. Contact us today to learn more!

About Flexicrew

Flexicrew is family-owned and run since 2008, focusing on fast and flexible staffing solutions. Flexicrew makes use of technology and industry best practices to deliver the most talented and qualified professionals –industrial, skilled and unskilled, clerical – to clients within most major industries.

Football Taught Flexicrew an Important Staffing Lesson

August 23rd, 2018   •   Leadership   •   Comments Off on Football Taught Flexicrew an Important Staffing Lesson   

Each Important Staffing Lesson from Football Every Recruiter Should Follow

In fact, anyone can value the positive characteristics learned through football like:

  • Goal setting
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Discipline
  • Emotional charge from achievement.

Staffing Lesson 1:  Goal Setting

You have heard the old management expression, “Inspect what you expect.”  In football, coaches catalogue every minor statistic. Similarly, when Flexicrew measures and quantifies performance that frequently leads to meeting targets. And it allows us to set goals for improving customer service. Similarly, based on stats, a football player can set a goal or predetermine a number to attain. Meanwhile, there are multiple football team-oriented goals as well, which will help a player be accountable as part of the team.  Similarly, Flexicrew team-oriented goals require staff to contribute to the team outcome that improve customer service.

Goal setting is a great tool for staffing agencies. Goals help us grow and improve. Football or staffing both get started with good goal-setting routine.

Staffing Lesson 2:  Teamwork

Football requires a unique type of teamwork.   A football team has up to 90 players. Recognizing an individual’s role and that of your teammates is vital. Trusting teammates to do their job is also of utmost importance. That’s why all teammates count, including on the second and third team players.  Working toward common goals helps Flexicrew team to build trust over time and produce better client outcomes.

Staffing Lesson 3:  Perseverance

Football provides challenges a player must tackle.  These will test him and help to build a player’s perseverance.   Common difficulties like losing a big game, fumbling the ball or missing a critical tackle are much like staffing. Even unique challenges, like lacking strength or speed or catching a ball, may even tempt a player to give up.

But, staffing stumbling blocks are obviously of a different nature.  We sometimes can’t convince an employer to use our services.  Occasionally we can’t find enough skilled job seekers to fulfill an assignment.  Now and again an associate we hire doesn’t work out and we have to replace him.  Certainly these disappoint us.  But, Flexicrew members persevere by getting support from our 16 locations to meet customer requirements.

Football and staffing teach determination – sticking-with-it to overcome tough obstacles. Both promise a pleasant payoff for jobs well done. We help each of our recruiters with a mentor or support system, to bring individuals through the rough assignments to create the best for clients.

Staffing Lesson 4:  Discipline

Football demands player discipline and a first-rate work ethic. That applies whether it’s attention to eating and exercise regimen or executing plays.  Coaches continually monitor player performance and give constant evaluation. Coaches and fellow players evaluate every play in practice and games. Constant reevaluation promotes improvement and dependability.

Flexicrew naturally evaluates their team daily to be sure they meet their targets, making sure quality candidates are hired quickly. On our team, it helps to have other recruiters and peers give cross-evaluations.

Flexicrew team members improve and take responsibility for individual growth and help others when useful.

Staffing Lesson 5:  Emotional Charge

Playing football can give players an adrenaline high. There is a certain emotional return from giving your all into a game with your teammates. And, when there is positive achievement it is a moving experience.

Football teaches constructive ways to be grounded by the solidarity within a team.

Surely, some folks dislike football, but they still can appreciate the values taught by football. At Flexicrew, whether one is a client service coordinator or an accountant working with a team of coworkers, the end result is the same. Like football, we work hard, mentor each other, persevere and remain resilient through the complicated projects, and do our best to reach our staffing goals for our clients.

So Flexicrew uses each important staffing lesson we observed from football and takes them to heart.  We would value the chance to join your team and tackle your workforce obstacles before they intercept your performance.