By Catherine Kitcho
Any new enterprise or product effort requires that people work together
as a team. Entrepreneurs claim to "wear all the hats", but eventually
get to the point where they must depend on others in order to conduct
business and get the product out the door.
Managing people does not come naturally to everyone. It is an acquired
skill that comes with experience.
COMMUNICATION is the most essential skill in managing teams of people.
That does not mean continuous meetings 10 hours a day, but it does
mean frequent, regular interchange - 2-WAY CONVERSATIONS - so that
valuable information can be transmitted and understood. Listening
is more important than talking in this interchange.
MOTIVATION is also required so that people will get work done and
meet business goals. Everyone is an individual when it comes to
motivation. People are motivated by different things, and there
are no general rules of thumb that apply to everyone. Many surveys
have been done to identify the most common motivational factors,
and the conclusion is that most people want to do a good job and
are to some degree "self-motivated". Other common factors are recognition,
doing enjoyable work, attention, challenging work, work environment,
and financial reward. As a leader of a team of individuals, one
of the best things you can do is respect each person as an individual,
and recognize them often. A simple "thank you" goes a long way.
WORK ENVIRONMENT is important so that people feel comfortable and
can be productive. A balance between open communication and some
degree of privacy should be the goal. In cubicle and open work space
environments, this is much more difficult, and you may not have
any control over the way the facility is arranged and furnished.
However, you can make sure that you and the team respect a person's
desire to have uninterrupted time to focus on work. You can also
minimize "hallway discussions" in order to provide a quieter work
PERSONALITIES unfortunately come into play in the office environment.
Most people have one or two individuals that they just don't get
along with. If you know that two individuals have a clash of personalities
and they must work together on a team, sit down with them and find
a way they can work together. It does not mean they have to like
each other, they merely need to work together so that they don't
disrupt the work of the rest of the team.
Managing people is hard work, but it may be some of the most important
work you ever do in your enterprise. It's well worth the time and
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