Thirty-day challenges are all over the place these days. Meditation, planking, squats, pushups — you name it and there’s a 30-day challenge for it. Now, don’t get me wrong — I think these plans are great. It’s a short enough time span that people feel comfortable joining in, but they’re not overwhelmed by the thought of participating. This approach is an ideal way to create new habits. Especially if you are doing so as a part of a group and have the support that comes along with being a a part of a group effort.
So this got me thinking, why not apply this approach to life at the office? Doing 100 push ups is pretty badass, but so is being an amazing manager. Managing people is not easy and sadly doesn’t always get the focus it requires to make major improvements. If you’re up for the challenge (and I know you are!), then follow these completely doable tasks below as your guide.
Have I had a one-on-one with this person recently? You talk all the time. About projects and clients and office music. BUT, do you really talk? Are you communicating effectively, and asking this person how you can help them? Are they open with you about challenges they are facing and trusting you’ll do the work to help them successfully navigate? Those types of meaningful discussions rarely occur ad hoc. You need to make the time for those types of conversations. Regularly.
Have I thanked my team in a real way? You say the word thanks all the time. (or at least you’d better be saying it.) However, do you take the time to single someone’s efforts out and explain to that person in a real way how their actions make you and the entire team better? For some reason, people tend to think they do this much more often than they actually do. I’ve read that it takes a minimum of 5 positive comments to outweigh one constructive piece of feedback. Sadly, humans focus on the negative. Be the manager whose team feels valued every day.
Take notice and do something. Does someone on your team seem especially stressed out? First, you need to pay enough attention to know what stressed out looks like from each of your team members but noticing alone doesn’t cut it. Help them through it. Sometimes it will be as little as asking how they are to show that you care. Sometimes it will be a heavier lift. If you as their manager aren’t going to notice and offer to help, who will?
Do I inspire people? Be it your actions or your words (preferably both) people need inspiration. It can come from a variety of places. Don’t feel pressured to write your own content if that’s not your thing. It could be a book, a blog, a TED talk. Share inspiring things with your team. Tell them why you find it inspiring and what actions you plan on taking based on that content. It could motivate them in an unexpected way and help them achieve goals they’ve dreamed of.
Change isn’t easy. Creating a new habit or behavior is a real challenge. 30 days or otherwise. Be impressive enough to dedicate the next challenge not only to yourself but those around you by becoming an amazing manager.
Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at www.kellypoulson.com.