Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taking care of your people

This post is about taking care of your colleagues and employees. With holidays rapidly approaching many people scramble to say thank you and congratulate their subordinates and colleagues. This behavior often leads to awkward moments and superficial exchanges of gratitude. Don’t do it.

If you haven’t been taking care of your people through the year consider changing your behavior. By saying “taking care” I don’t mean buying expensive gifts or giving superficial awards. What I mean is enabling your colleagues and employees to support you in the most productive way possible while operating in a professional environment. In life it’s the small things that leave a lasting impression that make people happy.

Let’s say your new team members all have standard company issued laptops with 1 GB or memory. The software tools they use to model architecture and conduct analysis functions result in thrashing and frustrating usability experience. Closing Outlook and IDE makes the modeling software run fast, but that’s not the solution. Your first action is to immediately buy an additional 2 GB of RAM for each person and have it shipped express mail.

Surprise your colleagues by baking cookies from scratch. Not bringing left over batch or buying a package, but purposefully making something for the team. This element of surprise and pleasant goodness clashes with the ordinary daily routine. This is a great way to say thank you in a very small way.

Finally, create and maintain a professional working environment. This may be difficult if the rest of the organization is not ethical or the senior management doesn’t appear to care. It’s important for you, as a leader, to create a sense of belonging. You must consistently address any unprofessional behavior within your team so that your employees can concentrate on delivering the best work rather than dealing with non-work related distractions.

Enabling your team to support you with proper tools in a professional work environment through the year will make you more productive and holiday times less awkward.

Constantin K.
Firebrand Architect®

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