Managing a team isn’t easy. Personalities conflicts, client hurdles, and personal or home issues spilling into the workplace causes headaches for all every manager. But learning how to effectively separate the overwhelming feeling of the revolving door of issues from the response has been one of the hardest things for myself as a manager to learn. I am by nature an introverted empath with anxiety so this revolving door can become very overwhelming especially as I was dealing with additional business or personal stressors of my own. But over the years I feel I have gotten better at separating the anxieties I feel in these situations and really focusing on hearing what my team is actually saying.
How these moments conclude at the end of the conversation has provided multiple opportunities for developing a relationship with my team as well as my abilities to grow professionally. Below are some of my top 3 aha moments I have had through the active art of listening to our employees and the solutions that came from those conversations.
- New Employee Lunches – since becoming remote it has provided unique challenges in how to keep our corporate culture strong. Traditionally when a new employee would start, we would take them and their team to our favorite local diner where shop talk wasn’t allowed and our goal was to break bread and break down the walls of newness to help the new employee feel a little more settled. But since going remote we have had to get creative and as we were bringing on our newest sales person, our senior business development manager suggest uber eats gift cards! This was an AWESOME idea because people could get whatever they wanted and allowed for a conversation starter. Working through time zones and food choices allowed all of us to find a shared passions for all things food!
- Beer cooler – We are all remote now, but while in the office we were not in a traditional business complex. We were in an 100+ year old hotel on the historic site registry and allthough we were in a city and walking distance to the main street, it was still a hike in the Florida heat. And as a young group in advertising we live off of caffeine. So through the typical 2:30 PM run to the gas station down the street where we were all giving our order for the various energy drink, someone joking said we should have a small fridge in the office. Well we took that idea and ran with it. Not only did we put a cooler in the office we took a pole of what everyone wanted and we bulk ordered their favorite energy drinks, waters, coffee drinks, and sodas! And with Diamond Media Solutions buying in bulk we were able to help pass those savings onto the employees when they were wanting to purchase their drink of choice.
- Process Improvements – I try hard to not be a micromanager. Micromanagement is not efficient or is it effective for employee and business growth but sometimes it is necessary. We recently have had to adjust some of our processes and technologies in order to improve the communication between team members and to increase the viewability of workload for better time management. After some initial push back, because I am not a micromanager and it’s not something my team is used too, they began to see value in the new production board lay out and my assistance in planning and execution. Looking back and reflecting on the issue, there were several contributing factors from personality conflicts, communication breakdown, and workload issues as we have seen significant growth in multiple new direct clients which are causing our production team to work differently then in our comfort zones of automotive and agency work.
Sometimes these conversation aren’t anything more then a good old fashioned bitch session to get something off their chest. Sometimes these situations are are bigger and we come to realize they are have issues in there personal lives that are bubbling into something at the office. And sometimes there is a break down in processes or communication between team members that need to be addressed. But whatever the conversation is about, my goal as the COO at DMS is to help see through their emotion to identify the root cause and find an effective solution