Monday, May 14, 2012

How To Be A Better Manager...Part II

Welcome to another Monday!  As you go forth and conquer the Wonderful World of Events and Promotions, be sure and read this week’s tips:

How To Be A Better Manager … Part II

4.  Make sure everyone on your team has taken a break or had lunch before YOU do.

There is no better way to lose your staff’s respect than to get everyone in place for the event, push through the first few hours, tweak, tune, and occasionally terrify your staff and then be the first one to break for lunch.  No.  Don't do this.  If you need a few minutes to use the restroom and glug down an energy drink, tell your staff that you will return in five minutes and then lunches will begin.  And get back in three.  

The following story may help illustrate this point.  (The name has been changed to protect the guilty.)

Several years ago, I worked a promotion for Ralph K. The call time was 7AM.  Ralph showed up at 7:10.  Strike One.  At noon, Ralph decided he was going to take ‘an hour’ for lunch.  Strike Two.  By the time he got back and remembered to start breaking his staff, it was 2:30.  Strike Three.   How much respect do you think Ralph earned that day?  What do you think the chances are that I will work for him again?  And more to the point, what do you think the chances are that I will HIRE him, now that I happen to be running this campaign?   

Cranky employees do not make for a pleasant event.  Try to keep your staff from getting cranky--especially at you!

5.  Do not eat with your staff.


Yes, we all know each other and are probably friends outside the business, but give them a break and don't join them at the lunch table.  They need to be able to relax and get away from you.  They need to talk on the phone, chew gum, smoke, swear, and bitch.  Bitch about the client.  Bitch about how much their feet hurt.  Bitch about the look you gave them when they rolled in barely on time.  It's called a lunch BREAK for a reason, and part of that break is getting away from YOU.  

Unless lunch is being served for the whole staff in a tiny room with one table, you should make arrangements to let them have their space.  And if you must all eat together, don't talk about work.  Nurture them.  Care for them.  Ask them about their families or the next job they have lined up or where they went on vacation.  But NO shop talk!! 

6.  Have an emergency supply kit.
This is one of those things that a new manager might not be able to have, but over time, you will learn what to collect and what to have on hand at all times.  You know you are always bringing home leftover product from events, so put it all in a box and use it to keep your staff happy.  You never know when a granola bar is going to save someone's attitude--and your day!  

Sometimes, you can even ask the client ahead of time for a small amount of petty cash to supply these items.  More times than not they will say yes.  Happy staff = Happy client = Successful campaign = More work.

Some things to keep in your stash are:  

  • Food Items:  Granola bars, power bars, apples, carrots, juice boxes, flavored water, 5-hour Energy drinks, breath mints, chocolate, cheese sticks, cookies and anything else that you have collected from various promotions over the past few months.  Don't tell me you don't have a small arsenal of Nesquick floating around in your stash somewhere!  Festival season is a prime time to stock up!!  

  • Non-Food Items:  Band-aids, pain medication (non-prescription, please), Pepto, Tums or Rolaids, disposable ponchos, extra socks, beanies and gloves, tampons, dental floss, anti-bacterial sanitizer, toilet paper, napkins, chap-stick, sunscreen, and hand lotion.  Again, most of these items can be collected from past events, but some you can supply yourself.

Again, a story will illustrate how important this can be:

Last year, I was managing Team Awesome at an outdoor auto drive test event.  Anyone who has ever worked one of these knows exactly how grueling it can be.  I really needed my staff to step up and knock it out of the park.  This was a big client and I didn’t want this to be the first, and LAST time we worked together.

So I had a little meeting with my staff, and I laid it out for them.

"We have two options to make this event the best campaign ever and get rehired.  I can be a complete terror and micro-manage you into doing what I need you to do …. or I can bribe you." 

With that, I opened up my stash of goodies and watched their eyes open as wide as children on Christmas morning.  Suffice it to say, Team Awesome kicked ass!

And all it cost me was $5.65.  (Which I wrote off on my taxes.)

That’s all for this week … Tune in next Monday for Part III in an ever-growing series.  Feel free to add your own comments or suggestions.  You never know what might show up on my next blog!

1 comment:

  1. Great article Jennifer! Loved the stories, and believe strongly in the idea of leading by example and mutual respect, rather than "I'm going to make you work as hard as I had to when I didn't have the power to get out of it while I go have a latte" punishment. Keep 'em coming!